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Texts & Translations: Marilyn Horne Song Competition


Francesco Paolo Tosti (1846 - 1916)

Text by Carmelo Errico (1848 - 1892)

Translation © 2000 by John Glenn Paton


Io ti seguii come iride di pace

I followed you like a rainbow of peace


Lungo le vie del cielo:

along the paths of heaven;


Io ti seguii come un’amica face

I followed you like a friendly torch


De la notte nel velo.

in the viel of darkness.


E ti sentii ne la luce, ne l’aria,

and I sensed you in the light, in the air, 


Nel profumo dei fiori;

in the perfume of flowers,


E fu piena la stanza solitaria

and the solitary room was full


Di te, dei tuoi splendori.

of you and of your radiance. 


In te raptio, al suon de la tua voce, 

Absorbed by you, I dreamed a long time


Lungamente sognai;

of the sound of your voice,


E de la terra ogni affanno, ogni croce, 

and earth’s every anxiety, every torment


In quel [sogno] scordai.

I forgot in that dream.


Torna, caro ideal, torna un istante

Come back, dear ideal, for an instant


A sorridermi ancora, 

to smile at me again,


E a me risplenderà, nel tuo sembiante

and in your face will shine for me


Una novella aurora. 

a new dawn.

"L’ultima canzone"

Francesco Paolo Tosti (1846 - 1916)

Text by Francesco Cimmino (1862 - 1938)

Translation © 2007 by Bard Suverkrop 


M’han detto che domani, Nina vi fate sposa,

They told me that tomorrow Nina, you will marry, 


Ed io vi canto ancor la serenata!

and yet I sing to you my serenade!


Là nei deserti piani, là, ne la valle ombrosa, 

There, in the deserted plains, there, in the valleys shady, 


Oh quante volte a voi l’ho ricantata!

Oh, how many times to you I have it repeatedly sung!


“Foglia di rosa, o fiore d’amaranto, 

“Petal of the rose, oh flower of amaranth,


Se ti fai sposa io ti sto sempre accanto.”

if you become a wife I shall always remain near.”


Domani avrete intorno feste, sorrisi e fiori

Tomorrow you will be surrounded by celebration, smiles and flowers,


Nè penserete ai nostri vecchi amori.

not thinking of our former love.


Ma sempre notte e giorno, piena di passïone


Yet always day and night, full of passion


Verrà, gemando a voi la mia canzone:

I will come, moaning to you my song:


“Foglia di menta, o fiore di granato, 

Flower of the mint, oh flower of the pomegranate, 


Nina, rammenta i baci che t’ho dato!”

Nina, remember the kisses that I have given!”


Ah!... Ah!...

Ah!... Ah!...


Francesco Paolo Tosti (1846 - 1916)

Text by Lorenzo Stecchetti (1845 - 1876)

Translation © 2008 by Bard Suverkrop


Ho sognato che stavi a ginocchi,

I dreamed that you were kneeling, 


Come un santo che prega il Signor, 

like a saint who prays to the Lord


Mi guardavi nel fondo degl’occhi, 

At me you looked in the depth of my eyes,


Sfavillava il tuo sguardo d’amor.

your gaze shone with love.


Tu parlavi e la voce sommessa

You spoke and your soft voice


Mi chiedea dolcementa mercè,

and begged me sweetly for mercy, 


Solo un guardo che fosse promessa

With a single glance that could hold a promise


Imploravi, curvato al mio piè.

You implored, kneeling at my feet. 


Io taceva e coll’anima forte

I remained silent, and with a strong spirit 


Il desio tentatore lottò.

I struggled with the tempting desire, 


Ho provato il martirio e la morte,

I felt the martyrdom and the death,


Pur mi vinsi e ti dissi di no. 

but I conquered myself and told you no. 


Ma il tuo labbro sfiorò la mia faccia

But your lips touched my face


E la forza del cor mi tradì. 

and the strength of my heart was betrayed. 


Chiusi gli occhi, ti stesi le braccia, 

I closed my eyes and stretched out my arms…


Ma, sognavo e il bel sogno svanì!

but I was dreaming and the beautiful dream vanished!

"Musica Proibita"

Stanislao Gastaldon (1861 - 1939)

Translation © 2010 by Bard Suverkrop


Ogni sera di sotto al mio balcone

Every evening beneath my balcony


Sento cantar una canzone d’amore, 

I hear a love song sung, 


Più volte la ripete un bel garzone

Repeated by a handsome young man


E battere mi sento forte il core. 

and it makes my heart beat madly.


Oh quanto è dolce quella melodia!

Oh how sweet is that melody!


Oh com’è bella, quanto m’è gradita!

Oh how lovely it is, how I love to hear it!


Ch’io la canti non vuol la mamma mia:

My mother will not let me sing it, 


Vorrei saper perché me l’ha proibita?

I would like to know why she has forbidden it. 


Ella non c’è ed io la vo’ cantare

She is not here and I want to sing


La frase che m’ha fatto palpitare:

the phrase that has caused my heart to throb:


Vorrei baciare i tuoi capelli neri, 

I would like to kiss your black hair,


Le labbra tue e gli occhi tuoi severi,

your lips and your intense/strong eyes;


Vorrei morir con te, angel di Dio, 

I would like to die with you, heavenly angel, 


O bella innamorata teso mio. 

oh beautiful beloved, my treasure. 


Qui sotto il vidi ieri a passeggiare, 

I saw him yesterday walking by below, 


E lo sentiva al solito cantar: 

and heard him sing as he always does:


Vorrei baciare i tuoi capelli neri, 

I would like to kiss your black hair, 


Le labbra tue e gli occhi tuoi severi, 

your lips and your intense/strong eyes;


Stringimi o cara, stringimi al tuo core, 

Hold me, oh dearest, hold me to your heart,


Fammi provar l’ebbrezza dell’amor.

cause me to know the intoxication of love!

"Zueignung" from Op. 10 

Richard Strauss (1864 - 1949)

Text by Hermann von Gilm zu Rosenegg (1812 -1864)

Translation © by Richard Strokes 


Ja, du weißt es, teure Seele, 

Yes, you know it, dearest soul, 


Dass ich fern von dir mich quäle, Liebe macht die Herzen krank, 

That I am in torment far from you, love makes hearts sick –


Habe Dank.

be thanked. 


Einst hielt ich, der Freiheit Zecher,

Once, reveling in freedom, 


Hoch den Amethysten-Becher,

I held the amethyst cup aloft 


Und du segnestest den Trank

And you blessed that draught –


Have Dank.

Be thanked. 


Und beschworst darin die Bösen,

And you banished the evil spirits, 


Bis ich, was ich nie gewesen, 

Till I, as never before, 


Heilig, heilig an’s Herz dir sank, 

Holy, sank holy upon your heart –


Habe Dank!

Be thanked.

"Widmung" from Myrthen, Op. 25 

Robert Schumann (1810 - 1856)

Text by Friedrich Rückert (1788 - 1866)

Translation © by Richard Strokes 


Du meine Seele, du mein Herz,

You my soul, you my heart, 


Du meine Wonn’, o du mein Schmerz,

You my rapture, O you my pain, 


Du meine Welt, in der ich lebe, 

You my world in which I live,


Mein Himmel du, darein ich schwebe

My heaven you, to which I aspire,


O du mein Grab, in das hinab 

O you my grave, into which


Ich ewig meinen Kummer gab!

My grief forever I’ve consigned!


Du bist die Ruh, du bist der Frieden,

You are repose, you are peace,


Du bist vom Himmel mir beschieden. 

You are bestowed on me from heaven. 


Dass du mich liebst, macht mir wert, 

Your love for me gives me my worth, 


Dein Blick hat mich vor mir verklärt,

Your eyes transfigure me in mine, 


Du hebst mich liebend über mich, 

You raise me lovingly above myself,


Mein guter Geist, mein bess’res Ich!

My guardian angel, my better self!

"Ständchen", D. 889 (1829)

Franz Schubert (1797 - 1828)

Text by Ludwig Rellstab (1799 - 1860)

Translation © by Richard Wigmore


Leise flehen meine Lieder

Softly my songs plead


Durch die Nacht zu Dir;

through the night to you;


In den stillen Hain hernieder

down into the silent grove,


Liebchen, komm’ zu mir!

beloved, come to me!


Flüsternd schlanke Wipfel rauschen

Slender treetops whisper and rustle


In des Mondes Licht;

in the moonlight;


Des Verräters feindlich Lauschen

my darling, do not fear


Fürchte, Holde, nicht. 

that the hostile betrayer will overhear us. 


Hörst die Nachtigallen schlagen?

Do you not hear the nightingales call?


Ach! sie flehen Dich, 

Ah, they are imploring you;


Mit der Töne süssen Klagen

with their sweet, plaintive songs


Flehen sie für mich. 

they are imploring for me. 


Sie verstehn des Busens Sehnen

They understand the heart’s yearning, 


Kennen Liebesschmerz,

they know the pain of love;


Rühren mit den Silbertönen

with their silvery notes


Jedes weiche Herz.

they touch every tender heart. 


Lass auch Dir Brust bewegen,

Let your heart, too, be moved, 


Liebechen, höre mich!

beloved, hear me!


Bebend harr’ ich Dir entgegen!

Trembling, I await you!


Komm’, beglücke mich!

Come, make me happy!

"In der Fremde" from Liederkreis, Op. 39

Robert Schumann (1810 - 1856)

Text by Joseph von Eichendorff (1788 - 1857)

Translation © by Jeffery Benton


Aus der Heimat hinter den Blitzen rot

From my distant home where the sky glows red, 


Da kommen die Wolken her, 

The floating white clouds appear, 


Aber Vater und Mutter sind lange tot, 

But my mother and father are long since dead, 


Es kennt mich dort keiner mehr.

And no one will know me there. 


Wie bald, ach wie bald kommt die stille Zeit,

How soon, oh, how soon, will that time draw nigh, 


Da ruhe ich auch, da ruhe ich auch und über mir

When I also rest, when I also rest, and over me sigh


Rauscht die schöne Waldeinsamkeit,

The lovely trees where I lie?


die schöne Waldeinsamkeit, 

The lovely trees where I lie, 


Und keiner kennt mich mehr hier

And no one knows me here, 


Und keiner kennt mich mehr hier

And no one knows me here. 

"Waldesgespräch" from Liederkreis, Op. 39

Robert Schumann (1810 - 1856)

Text by Joseph von Eichendorff (1788 - 1857)

Translation © by Jeffery Benton


Es ist schon spät, es ist schon kalt,

It is so late, cold chills the blood,


Was reit’st du einsam durch den Wald?

Why ride you through this lonely wood?


Der Wald ist lang, du bist allein,

The wood is vast, you are alone, 


Du schöne Braut! Ich führ’ dich heim!

You lovely bride, I’ll lead you home


“Groß ist der Männer Trug und List,

“Great is the guile and schemes of men, 


Vor Schmerz mein Herz gebrochen ist,

With grief my heart is broken, 


Wohl irrt das Waldhorn her und hin,

Bugles are calling far and near,


O flieh! O flieh! Du weißt nicht, wer ich bin.”

Oh flee, oh flee, my name you must not hear.”


So reich geschmückt ist Roß und Weib,

In gilt adorned is horse and bride, 


So wunderschön, So wunderschön der junge leib, 

So wonderful! So wonderful! Her form she cannot hide, 


Jetzt kenn’ ich dich–Gott steh’ mir bei!

I know you now, God hear my cry!


Du bist die Hexe Loreley 

You are the witch called Lorelei. 


“Du kennst mich wohl, Du kennst mich wohl von hohem Stein, 

“You know me now, you know me now from steep incline,


Schaut still mein Schloß tief in den Rhein.

My castle looks down on the Rhine.


Es ist schon spät, es ist schon kalt,

It is so late, cold chills the blood,


Kommst nimmermehr aus diesem Wald,

You never more will leave this wood, 


Nimmermehr, nimmermehr aus diesem Wald!”

Never more, never will you leave this wood.”

"Mondnacht" from Liederkreis, Op.39

Robert Schumann (1810 - 1856)

Text by Joseph von Eichendorff (1788 - 1857)

Translation © by Jeffery Benton


Es war, als hätt’ der Himmel,

It was as if the heavens


Die Erde still geküßt,

Gave earth a silent kiss,


Daß sie im Blütenschimmer

So earth in beauteous splendor


Von ihm nur träumen müßt’.

Would dream of heavenliness. 


Die Luft ging durch die Felder,

The breeze through cornfields playing, 


Die Ähren wogten sacht, 

To shake the ripening ears,


Es rauschten leis die Wälder,

The trees tops gently swaying,


So sternklar war die Nacht.

The night sky bright with stars


Und meine Seele spannte

And my own soul is spreading 


Weit ihre Flügel aus, 

Its wings to freely roam, 


Flog durch die stillen Lande,

Through silent land it’s heading, 


Als flöge sie nach Haus. 

To fly me to my home.

"Oh No, I Beg You, Forsake Me Not!" from Six Romances, Op.4

Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873 - 1943)

Text by Dmitry Sergeyevich Merezhkovsky (1865 - 1941)


Oh No, I beg you, do not leave!

All my pains are nothing compared to separation

I am only too fortunate

With that torment,

Press me tightly to your bosom

And say you love me.


I came anew

Full of pain, pale, and exhausted.

See how poor and weak I am,

how I need your love…


The new torments ahead

I await like a caress or kiss,

and again I beg you in anguish:

O stay with me, do not leave!

"Christ is Risen" from Fifteen Romances, Op. 26

Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873 - 1943)

Text by Dmitry Sergeyevich Merezhkovsky (1865 - 1941)


“Christ is risen”

they sing in church.

Yet I am sad…

my soul is silent. 

The world is steeped in blood and tears, 

and so this hymn before the altars

sounds like an insult. 


Were He present among us to see 

what our glorious age has achieved –

how brother comes to hate his brother, 

and how shameful is mankind –

and if, 

within the shining church, 

this “Christ is risen”

He were to hear, 

what bitter tears

before the crowd

would He sob!

"Oh, Do Not Sing to Me, My Beauty" from Six Romances, Op.4

Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873 - 1943)

Text by Aleksandr Sergeyevich Pushkin (1799 - 1837)


Do not sing, my beauty, to me 

your sad songs of Georgia;

they remind me

of that other life and distant shore. 


Alas, They remind me, 

your cruel melodies, 

of the steppe, the night and moonlit 

Features of a poor, distant maiden!


That sweet and fateful apparition

I forget when you appear; 

but you sing, and before me

I picture that image anew.


Do not sing, my beauty, to me

your sad songs of Georgia;

they remind me 

of that other life and distant shore.

"Crisis" for baritone and piano 

Joel Thompson (b. 1988)

Text by Anatoli Hovhannisyan (b. 1957)


I keep repeating my name

in order not to forget myself. 

The worn tape of memories glides along slowly, 

Familiar faces fade away… 


The illusion of perfection is split, disfigured, 

and the waters on the orphaned shores of dried up lake

seem to be tears of the thinning ozone layer. 


I keep repeating name, 

I keep repeating my name, 

repeating my name, my name…

In order not to forget myself…



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