Although you might not know this Opera’s name or even who composed it, you would instantly know that you have heard it before if you listened to it.. The Opera I’m speaking about is Tunradot by Puccini. Well, specifically the third act with the song, “Nessun dorma,” sung by Pavarotti. Recently you would have heard Paul Potts who made his debut on Britains Got Talent singing this song. I have include the video here but there are some things that I want you to keep in mind before watching it.
Although most do not understand the language or even know the plot of the opera they know that they are experiencing something very profound and powerful. In the audience you will see people cry in approval and those who will stand in approval of the experience that Paul is giving them. Also, watch Amanda Holden’s expressions from the slight movements or her lips and her body language when she lets out her breath. It is almost as if she stops breathing to take it all in.
Let me just share with you a little of the plot:
Princess Turandot is offering her hand in marriage to anyone who can answer three riddles. If the suitor doesn’t answer the questions correctly then he is immediately executed by decapitation. Their heads are then placed on poles that line the path that each suitor will take to answer those riddles. Prince Calàf ultimately takes that challenge and answers each of the riddles quickly but with the caveat that princess Turandot never hears his name. While in hiding the Princess declares and edict that no one will sleep until she finds out his name.
Although she has set up this game, she has really set up each suitor for failure because she knows that the more suitors that are executed the more potential suitors will rethink approaching her. You see Turandot hates men because what they have done to her and what she has seen them do to the innocent. Once Prince Calàf has shown her that he loves her she is still not satisfied. Interesting not is that sometimes we are so familiar with disappointment and hurt that we are willing to reject and have angst against the very thing that we hoped we find.
But Prince Calàf does just want the Princess to marry him because he answered some silly questions correctly but because she loves him. He finally embraces her and kisses her. She then cries out his name, Love.
This song is sung in the Third Act after he has won her heart. Here is the Translation:
|Nessun dorma, nessun dorma …
Tu pure, o Principessa,
Nella tua fredda stanza,
Guardi le stelle
Che tremano d’amore
E di speranza.
|No one sleeps, no one sleeps…
Even you, o Princess,
In your cold room,
Watch the stars,
That tremble with love
And with hope.
|Ma il mio mistero è chiuso in me,
Il nome mio nessun saprà, no, no,
Sulla tua bocca lo dirò
Quando la luce splenderà,
Ed il mio bacio scioglierà il silenzio
Che ti fa mia.
|But my secret is hidden within me;
My name no one shall know, no, no,
On your mouth I will speak it*
When the light shines,
And my kiss will dissolve the silence
That makes you mine.
|Il nome suo nessun saprà
E noi dovrem, ahimè, morir.
|No one will know his name
And we must, alas, die.
|Dilegua, o notte!
|Vanish, o night!
At daybreak, I shall conquer!