I had the worrying feeling that something essential was missing from the Lancia Powerboat post, and now I know what it was!
The music! La musique! La musica!
The glorious uplifting element of our spiritual and sensual lifes!
What else could be better than the Barcarolle (from Jacques Offenbach’s opera Les Contes d’Hoffmann “The Tales of Hoffmann)? There is a gondola (now replaced by Lancia Powerboat) there is Giulietta, now played by Cristanel, There is a Poet who as a result of his unconditional love for Giulietta loses his other self, his reflection. And of course, Deppartutto, who is behind all the misfortunes inflicting the Poet.
Le temps fuit et sans retour
Emporte nos tendresses,
Loin de cet heureux séjour
Le temps fuit sans retour.
Versez-nous vos caresses,
Donnez-nous vos baisers!
vos baisers! vos baisers! Ah!
Belle nuit, ô nuit d’amour,
Souris à nos ivresses,
Nuit plus douce que le jour,
Ô belle nuit d’amour!
Ah! Souris à nos ivresses!
Nuit d’amour, ô nuit d’amour!
Time flies by, and carries away
our tender caresses for ever!
Time flies far from this happy oasis
and does not return.
embrace us with your caresses!
give us your kisses!
Your kisses! Your kisses! Ah!
Lovely night, oh night of love,
smile upon our joys!
Night much sweeter than the day,
oh beautiful night of love!
Ah! Smile upon our joys!
Night of love, oh night of love!
I start with the orchestral version, and continue with the opera aria.
The singers are Agnes Baltsa (“Giulietta”) and Claire Powell (“Nicklausse,” Hoffmann’s muse). A 1980 performance by The Royal Opera, Covent Garden, cond. Georges Pretre.
For those of you interested in the opera, I attach a synopsis of ACT III courtesy of the Metropolitan Opera of New York.
ACT III. In a Venetian palace on the Grand Canal, the courtesan Giulietta joins Nicklausse in a languid barcarole. Hoffmann abruptly changes the mood as he mockingly praises the pleasures of the flesh. Giulietta’s current lover, Schlemil, jealously acknowledges her apparent affection for Hoffmann. Giulietta invites her guests to the gaming tables, but Nicklausse remains behind to warn Hoffmann against forming any attachment to the courtesan. The poet denies interest in her, declaring that should he fall in love with her, the devil may have his soul. Dappertutto, overhearing them, produces a large diamond with which he will bribe Giulietta to steal Hoffmann’s reflection, just as she already has stolen Schlemil’s shadow. Lured by the diamond, Giulietta agrees. She seduces Hoffmann, who is about to depart, and he falls in love instantly; during a passionate duet, she carries out Dappertutto’s command. Schlemil returns, accusing Giulietta of having left him for Hoffmann. When Dappertutto comments on the poet’s pallor, Hoffmann asks for a mirror and realizes with horror that he has lost his reflection, but he is trapped by his infatuation. As the guests depart, Hoffmann demands that Schlemil give him the key to Giulietta’s room; when Schlemil refuses, Hoffmann kills him in a duel, with a sword proffered by Dappertutto. Taking the key from his rival, Hoffmann rushes to Giulietta’s room, only to find it empty. Returning, he finds her leaving the palace with yet another admirer, the dwarf Pitichinaccio, whom she embraces….