Monday, May 14, 2007

la donna è mobile

Aisling sits at the piano to play the music for this aria, sung by the cynical (and possibly exasperated?) Duke of Mantua in Giuseppe Verdi's 1851 opera, Rigoletto. It is a piece famous for showcasing the tenor voice, most notably in recent years Placido Domingo, Luciano Pavarotti and Andrea Bocelli. But it is never so famous as when Meelyn and I sing it together, posing and gesturing and proclaiming that "woman is fickle" in our loud, bad Italian. It's much more classy than singing, say, "Your Cheatin' Heart". Because we are all about the classy here at our house.

la donna è mobile
qual piuma al vento
muta d'accento
e di pensiero

Sempre un'amabile
leggiadro viso
in pianto e in riso
è menzognero

La donna è mobile
qual piuma al vento
muta d'accento
e di pensier
e di pensier
e di pensier

Giuseppe Verdi and Hank Williams, Jr. know all about the
irritating ways of women.

My natural singing voice is alto, but now that I am middle-aged, boy, I can sing tenor with the best of them. Well, probably not. Meelyn sings in a low-down growl as Aisling pounds away, and if you think we can't think stretch out that second-to-last "e d-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i, e di pensier" in a fine fashion, just ask the neighbors.

None of us can really sing worth a darn, but it's a lot of fun anyway.

Here's the English translation of the Duke's canzone:

Woman is flighty
like a feather in the wind;
she changes her voice
and changes her mind

She's always sweet;
pretty face;
In tears or in laughter
she is always lying

Woman is flighty
like a feather in the wind
she changes her voice
and changes her mind...
and changes her mind...
and changes her mind!

You kind of get the feeling that the Duke was forced to stand in Pier 1, adjudicating the decision between "the chunky blue-green Pantiago tumblers that look like the sea around Capri" and "these really special Captured wineglasses with the fun stem," don't you?

"Wine glasses?"



"Oh, maybe...."

A cry of despair: "Pleeaaaaaasse, pleeeeaaaaase just PICK ONE."

"Oh, I just can't choose! You choose!'

"The wine glasses, then. Now can we get out of here?"

"They really are lovely, aren't they? Okay, let's get them."

Two days later:

"These wine glasses just aren't right at all. You just practically pushed me into buying them and I had a feeling they were wrong. I don't like those stems at all. Here's the receipt. Will you return them on your way home?"

1 comment:

Kbg said...

I never thought I would live to see the day when Giuseppe Verdi and Hank Williams were used in the same sentence together as a reference. LOL! Of course, if Giuseppe Verdi were American, his name would be Joe Green...and how much more down to earth can you get than being named "Joe Green?" Maybe Hank and Giuseppe have a lot more in common than I originally thought. Thanks for the laughs this morning...hopefully "Your Cheatin' Heart" will go out of my mind real soon as I caught myself humming it just now. Yikes!