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Opera Libretti

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Title Page
Act 1
Act 2
Act 3
Act 4
Act 5
Title Page
Act 1
Act 2
Act 3
Act 4
Act 5

Act II
Here I am, returned to you,
dear woods and beloved hills,
blessed by that sun
through whom alone my nights are day.
See, how there lures us
the shade, Orpheus, of these beech-trees,
now that his burning rays
Phoebus shoots down from heaven.
On these grassy banks
let us sit and in various songs
let each let free his voice
to the murmur of the waters.
Two Shepherds
In this pleasant meadow
every wild spirit
often comes
to rest in happiness.
Two Shepherds
Here Pan, god of Shepherds,
is heard sometimes sorrowing
sweetly remembering
his unlucky loves.
Here the charming wood-nymphs,
always decked with flowers,
with white fingers
were seen picking roses.
Then, Orpheus, honour
with the sound of your lyre
these fields where breathes
the perfume of Sheba.
Do you remember, O shady groves,
my long, harsh torments,
when the rocks at my laments
responded in pity?
Say, then did I not seem to you
more disconsolate than any other?
Now fortune has changed her course
and has turned woes into joy.
I lived then in sadness and sorrow,
now I rejoice, and those torments
that I suffered for so many years
make my present happiness the dearer.
Only through you, fair Eurydice,
I bless my torment;
after sorrow one is more content,
after ill fortune one is happier.
See, ah see, Orpheus, how at every turn
there smiles the wood and smiles the meadow;
then continue with your golden plectrum
to sweeten the air on so blessed a day.
Ah, bitter fate, ah, wicked, cruel Fate,
ah, hurtful stars, ah, envious heaven.
What sorrowful sound disturbs the happy day?
Alas, then must I,
while Orpheus with his music makes heaven rejoice,
with my words pierce his heart?
This is gentle Sylvia,
sweetest companion
of fair Eurydice: oh, how much there is in her
sorrowing face: what has happened? Ah, gods above,
do not turn your kind face from us.
Shepherd, leave your singing,
for all our good cheer is turned to pain.
Whence do you come? Where are you going? Nymph,
what news?
I come to you, Orpheus,
unhappy messenger
of a happening more unhappy and more dreadful,
your fair Eurydice . . .
Alas, what do I hear?
Your beloved bride is dead.
In a flowery meadow
with her other companions
she went picking flowers
to make a garland for her hair,
when a deceitful snake
that was hidden in the grass,
bit her foot with poisoned fang.
And lo immediately
her fair face grew pale and in her eyes
that light that outshone the sun faded.
Then we all, appalled and sorrowing,
gathered round her, trying to recall
her spirits that grew faint,
with fresh water and with powerful charms,
but to no avail, ah alas,
for she opened her failing eyes a little,
and calling you, Orpheus,
after a deep sigh,
she died in these arms; and I remained,
 my heart full of pity and of fear.
Ah, bitter mischance, ah, wicked, cruel fate,
ah, hurtful stars, ah, envious heaven!
At the bitter news the unhappy man seems like a speechless rock
and through too much grief cannot grieve.
Ah, he would have the heart of a tiger or bear
that did not feel pity at your misfortune,
deprived of every happiness, wretched lover.
You are dead, my life, and do I breathe?
You are gone from me
never to return, and do I remain?
No, for if my verses can do anything,
I will go surely to the deepest abysses,
and having softened the heart of the King of Shades,
I will bring her back to see again the stars:
Oh, if wicked destiny refuses me this,
I will stay with you in the company of death.
Farewell earth, farewell heaven and sun, farewell.
Ah, bitter mischance, ah, wicked, cruel fate,
ah, hurtful stars. ah, envious heaven!
Let no mortal man trust
happiness that is passing and frail,
that soon flies away, and often
a precipice is near a great height.
But I, who with this tongue
have brought the knife
that has pierced the loving soul of Orpheus,
hateful to Shepherds and to nymphs,
hateful to myself, where may I hide?
Unlucky, of the night, the sun
shall I ever flee and in a lonely cave
will lead a life that matches my grief.
Who can console us, ah, alas?
Or rather, who will allow us
in our eyes a living fountain
that we may weep as we should
on this most mournful day,
now more mournful as once happier?
Today a cruel storm
the two greater lights
of these our woods,
Eurydice and Orpheus,
one bitten by a snake,
the other pierced by grief, ah, alas, has quenched.
Ah, bitter mischance, ah, wicked, cruel fate,
ah, hurtful stars, ah, envious heaven!
But where, ah, where are now
the wretched nymph’s
lovely, cold limbs,
where the worthy shelter
in which that fair soul chose to live,
who today has left us in the flower of her days?
Let us go, Shepherds, let us go
in pity to find her and with bitter tears
the due tribute
pay, at least, to her lifeless body.
Ah, bitter mischance, ah, wicked, cruel fate,
ah, hurtful stars, ah, envious heaven!


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