Thursday, June 16, 2005

The mind works in mysterious ways

Actually it doesn't. Or it may, but this isn't an instance of it really -- just normal association. But when you're mystified, things look mysterious. When I saw it, everything cleared up. What? I should get to the point? Okay, okay. Sheesh.

All day today I have found myself with "Bella figlia dell' amore," from Rigoletto, running through my head. What, you too? No? Okay, never mind. What? Get on with it? Right. Sorry. Anyway, I've been wondering: why should this be? I haven't heard Rigoletto lately, though I did read there's some reality show about would-be opera singers (American Diva? No? Well, that's what I'd call it), but I think they were women, so it would really be "Caro nome," then, not "Bella figlia dell' amore." Hmmmmmm.

The first line of "Bella figlia dell' amore," as you might have guessed, is:
Bella figlia dell' amore
which means "Beautiful child of love [or Cupid, anyway]". No help there. But the next line is:
Schiavo son de' vezzi tuoi
which means "I am a slave to your charms" -- but of course you don't care what it means, because your eyes are drawn, like mine were (metaphorically speaking) when I saw it (ditto), to that first word. Of course! There's been all this hoop-la in the last couple of days about the autopsy of that poor lady from Florida (you know the one I mean). Dr. P. posted on it here, and Ed B. here, with a follow-up here (Ed's comment: "Good Lord, what must it be to go through life thinking like these loonies?"). Apparently the wingnuts, instead of shutting up, given that the autopsy proves them wrong, are all atwitter because the doctors don't know what caused her brain damage in the first place (as if that mattered), except that it wasn't what the 'nuts had been darkly hinting that it might be (i.e., spousal abuse). At least they weren't making anything out of Michael's name meaning "slave" in Italian...

P. S. I just looked up the text in my handy copy of The Authentic Librettos of the Italian Operas (1939), because I wanted to make double darn sure it wasn't "dei vezzi tuoi," seeing as this is being posted on the Internet for everyone to see, but no, "de' vezzi tuoi" it is. But check out the translation! Instead of
Beautiful daughter of Eros
I am a slave to your charms;
With a single word
You can console my pains;
Come, and feel the rapid beating of my heart.
which is what I would say, they have:
Ah! of Venus the fairest daughter
The slave of your charms here behold;
One word from thy beautiful lips
My suffering alone can assuage;
Come, and my fond heart relieve
Of its anxious palpitations.

No comments: