March 29, 2012

Vitas Makes an Exception for Italian


Russian pop star Vitas major celebrity in China.
Escorted through a crowd of fans 
by a dozen Chinese uniformed soldiers
Vitas does what Vitas wants to do? For almost a decade, Vitas sang mainly in his native language, with few exceptions. The most interesting exception was Italian, because Vitas sings arias taking the female role.

Italian is the "language of song," and certainly of opera, to which Vitas aspires, in his own characteristically pop way. It shows the operatic side of Vitas, but also his flash and fire.


The Fifth Element alien
voiced by Albanian soprano
Inva Mula-Tchako
Here is one of the few official videos that is more exciting than his live videos. With some energetic golden ladies, he sings the "Mad Scene" from Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor. You may recognize this aria from the movie The Fifth Element, sung by an equally mysterious tender blue alien soprano.


Amelita Galli-Curci 
as Lucia 1915 with Caruso
This aria is particularly famous for coloratura sopranos to show off their range and expression, adding ornamentation, turns, trills and cadenzas. The perfect opportunity for our showman Vitas to show off his over five-octave range.


Because this is opera, you know that Lucia's love story is going to go Romeo and Juliet, as it does. But the end is far more macabre: Lucia, thinking her lover doesn't love her anymore, marries another man, then on her wedding night. . . well, goes quite mad.


Now we know that she is either going to prison or to die, and our horror and sorrow is underscored by the high poignancy of this aria, as still in her wedding dress (with blood- see photo below), she thinks she is about to marry her lover.

Her doomed joy gives this aria its bitter beauty, as you see from the lyrics below, which I recommend reading first.

Do not shut this video off too soon- it gets quite exciting halfway through. I'm assuming Vitas designed the costumes the violinists are wearing, as he is also a fashion designer.


"Il dolce suono": The "Mad Scene" 
from Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor

Lyrics:


". . . Alas! arises a tremendous phantom and separates us!
Here let us take refuge, by the foot of the altar.
Strewn is it with roses!
A harmony celestial, do you not hear?
Ah, the marriage hymn plays!. . ."

Italian is the language of music legend; opera composers in particular. While Austria claims Mozart, and though he occasionally used German, Mozart for the most part wrote opera in Italian. And there is Caruso, the ultimate Italian tenor, who reached high C, and remains the name we associate with opera, no matter how scratchy his recordings or dubious his legacy.

Caruso, legend

This is not the only Italian song Vitas sings, but it's more than enough on its own.

In acknowledgment of his Chinese fans, Vitas has lately learned Chinese and begun to sing a few popular Chinese songs.


Vitas
Italian, the language of Song


"Il dolce suono": The "Mad Scene" 
from Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor

LYRICS
The sweet sound, hits me, his voice!

Ah, that voice into my heart decends!
Edgardo, I surrender to you
A chill creeps into my breast!
the wedding dress 
Dame Joan Sutherland
trembles every fiber!
falters my foot!

Near the fountain next to me sit a while!
Alas! arises a tremendous phantom and separates us!
Here let us take refuge, by the foot of the altar.
Strewn is it with roses!
A harmony celestial, do you not hear?
Ah, the marriage hymn plays!
The ceremony for us draws near! Happiness!
Oh, joy that one feels and does not speak of!

The incense burns!
Brilliant the sacred torches, shining all around!
Here is the minister!
Give me your right hand!
Oh, joyous day!

At last, I am yours, at last you are mine,
to me you have been given by God.
Every pleasure is more grateful,
(it is) to me, with you, more sweet
From peaceful heaven a smile
life to us will be.

Translation by Ilya Speranza (ISperanza@aol.com)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Brilliant post! thank you.