Thursday, September 06, 2007

Nessun dorma

Luciano Pavarotti, 1935-2007. It’s hard to say rest in peace to someone whose signature aria was “Nessun dorma,” “No one sleeps.” Check out this heartbreaking video, not heartbreaking because Pavarotti is dead but just because his voice is so damn gorgeous. I suspect even opera lovers with legitimate complaints about Pavarotti as a musician and actor have to admit there have been a couple occasions where they’ve been moved as deeply by his singing as by just about anything in their life.

A couple decades ago when I worked behind the counter at Caffe Trieste, serving espresso to Ferlinghetti et al. in one of the original Beat coffeehouses in North Beach, and not caring anything about opera, I’d still find myself almost every evening putting a quarter in the jukebox to listen to “Nessun dorma.” Not great poetry, I guess, but the line “quando la luce splenderá” always gets to me: “when the light shines,” but I always hear it as a more literal translation—“when the light … splendors itself ….”

4 comments:

C. Dale said...

That is one of his best. I have been partial to him singing this for many years.

ReggieH said...

"When the light splenders itself"...glorious. Who says literal is best?

Jilly said...

thank you

Robert said...

Thanks for the comments, folks. Yeah, "splendors itself" is almost obscenely glorious. I enjoyed your comments on Pavarotti on your blog, Reggie.