Cleopatra’s arias from Giulio Cesare by Handel

Cleopatra’s arias from Giulio Cesare by Handel

Non disperar

from Act I, Scene 2 of the Italian opera Giulio Cesare by George Frideric Handel

Setting: Cleopatra’s room, Alexandria, Egypt, 48 B.C.

Synopsis: Cleopatra has heard that her brother Tolomeo has killed Caesar’s rival, Pompey, in order to influence Caesar. Cleopatra also wants to influence Caesar, but she decides to use her beauty to seduce him instead.

 

Cleopatra
Non disperar, chi sa?
se al regno non l’avrai,
avrai sorte in amor.
Mirando una beltà
in essa troverai a consolar un cor. Cleopatra
Do not despair. Who knows? 
Though you shall not have the kingdom,
you shall have good fortune in love.
Looking upon your beauty, 
there you shall find a heart to comfort.

 

 

Tu la mia stella sei

from Act I, Scene 2 of the Italian opera Giulio Cesare by George Frideric Handel

Setting: Cleopatra’s room, Alexandria, Egypt, 48 B.C.

Synopsis: After joining with Cornelia and Sesto in a plot to kill her brother Tolomeo, Cleopatra rejoices in the idea of the fall of Tolomeo and, presumably, her rise to greater power.

 

V’adoro pupille

from Act II, Scene 1 of the Italian opera Giulio Cesare by George Frideric Handel

Setting: Palace of the Goddess of Virtue, Alexandria, Egypt, 48 B.C.

Synopsis: Cleopatra sings a beautiful love song designed to seduce Caesar from afar.

 

V’adoro, pupille,              I adore you, eyes,

saette d’amore,               arrows of love

le vostre faville               Your sparkles

son grate nel sen.           are pleasing in my breast.

Pietose vi brama              Have pity on

il mesto mio core,           my sad heart

ch’ogn’ora vi chiama                  That at every hour calls

l’amato suo ben.              the lover your beloved.

 

 

Se pietà di me non senti

from Act II, Scene 3 of the Italian opera Giulio Cesare by George Frideric Handel

Setting: Palace of the Goddess of Virtue, Alexandria, Egypt, 48 B.C.

Synopsis: Caesar has run outside to fight against Tolomeo’s soldiers who are trying to take his life. Inside, Cleopatra finds that she now loves Caesar instead of just pretending to love him so that she would be favored above Tolomeo. She still hopes that Caesar will be able to gain revenge on Tolomeo.

 

Che sento? o dio! Morrà Cleopatra ancora. Anima vil, che parli mai? Deh, taci! Avrò, per vendicarmi In bellicosa parte,

Di Bellona in sembianza un cor di Marte. Intanto, o numi, voi, che il ciel reggete, Difendete il mio bene, Ch’egli è del seno mio conforto e speme.

 

Se pietà di me non senti, Giusto ciel, io morirò. Tu da’ pace a’ miei tormenti, O quest’alma spirerò.

Se pietà, etc.

What do I hear, oh gods! Cleopatra will die too. Abject soul, what are you saying? Ah, be silent! To avenge myself in warlike combat

I shall have the countenance of Bellona, the heart of Mars. Meanwhile, oh gods, you who rule the heavens, protect my beloved! For he is the comfort and the hope of my heart.

If you feel no pity for me, just heaven, I shall die. Grant relief to my torments, or this soul will expire.

If you feel, etc.

 

Piangerò la sorte mia

from Act III, Scene 1 of the Italian opera Giulio Cesare by George Frideric Handel

Setting: woods near Alexandria, Egypt, 48 B.C.

Synopsis: Her brother Tolomeo has ordered Cleopatra to prison for scheming with the now-apparently-drowned Caesar. Saddened by the turn of events, Cleopatra contemplates what fate has given her and how, when she is dead, she could come back and haunt her brother.

 

E pur così in un giorno perdo fasti e grandezze? Ahi fato rio! Cesare, il mio bel nume, è forse estinto; Cornelia e Sesto inermi son, né sanno darmi soccorso. O dio! Non resta alcuna speme al viver mio.

 

 

 

Piangerò la sorte mia, sì crudele e tanto ria, finché vita in petto avrò. Ma poi morta d’ogn’intorno il tiranno e notte e giorno fatta spettro agiterò.

I shall lament my fate

Why then, in one day, I am deprived of magnificence and glory?

Oh, cruel fate! Caesar, my beloved idol is probably dead, Cornelia and Sextus are defenceless and cannot give me assistance. O God! There is no hope left in my life.

 

I will bemoan my fate so cruel and brutal As long as there is breath left in my body. And when I am dead and become a ghost, I will haunt the tyrant night and day.

 

 

Da tempeste il legno infranto

from Act III, Scene 3 of the Italian opera Giulio Cesare by George Frideric Handel

Setting: Cleopatra’s room, Alexandria, Egypt, 48 B.C.

Synopsis: Just before Cleopatra leaves to go to prison, Caesar breaks into her apartments and liberates her from the clutches of Cleopatra’s wicked brother, Tolomeo. In jubilation, she anticipates the victory that is sure to follow.

 

Da tempeste il legno infranto, Se poi salvo giunge in porto, Non sa più che desiar. Così il cor tra pene e pianto, Or che trova il suo conforto, Torna l’anima a bear.

Da tempeste, etc.

When the ship, broken by the storms, succeeds at last in making it to port, it no longer knows what it desires. Thus the heart, after torments and woes, once it has recovered its solace,

is beside itself with bliss. When the ship, etc.

 

 

cleopatra_portrait

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