Mario Lanza sings Celeste Aida

Mario Lanza sings Celeste Aida (Verdi)

American tenor and Hollywood star with Italian origin, Mario Lanza sings Celeste Aida, a romanza from the first act of the opera Aida, by Giuseppe Verdi. From The Great Caruso, the 1951 biographical film made by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and starring Mario Lanza as Enrico Caruso.

Celeste Aida is sung by Radamès, a young Egyptian warrior who wishes to be chosen as a Commander of the Egyptian army. He dreams of gaining victory on the battlefield and also of the Ethiopian slave girl, Aida, with whom he is secretly in love.

The aria takes place in the hall of the King’s palace. The extended high B flat at the ends of the aria makes this one of the most challenging roles for any tenor.

Libretto

Italian

Se quel guerrier io fossi!
Se il mio sogno si avverasse!
Un esercito di prodi da me guidato
E la vittoria e il plauso di Menfi tutta!
E a te, mia dolce Aïda,
Tornar di lauri cinto
Dirti: per te ho pugnato,
Per te ho vinto!

Celeste Aïda, forma divina,
Mistico serto di luce e fior,
Del mio pensiero tu sei regina,
Tu di mia vita sei lo splendor.
Il tuo bel cielo vorrei ridarti,
Le dolci brezze del patrio suol
Un regal serto sul crin posarti,
Ergerti un trono vicino al sol,

English translation

If only I were that warrior!
If only my dream might come true!
An army of brave men with me as their leader
And victory and the applause of all Memphis!
And to you, my sweet Aida,
To return crowned with laurels,
To tell you: for you I have fought,
For you I have conquered!

Heavenly Aida, divine form,
Mystical garland of light and flowers,
You are queen of my thoughts,
You are the splendour of my life.
I want to give you back your beautiful sky,
The sweet breezes of your native land,
To place a royal garland on your hair,
To raise you a throne next to the sun.

The Great Caruso

The Great Caruso (1951)
The Great Caruso, original film poster. Photo: wikipedia

The Great Caruso is a 1951 biographical film made by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and starring Mario Lanza as Enrico Caruso. It was directed by Richard Thorpe.

Mario Lanza stars in the title role as Caruso and Ann Blyth stars as his wife Dorothy; the cast also includes Carl Benton Reid, Eduard Franz, Ludwig Donath, Nestor Paiva and Richard Hageman. It features a large number of Metropolitan Opera stars, notably sopranos Dorothy Kirsten, Teresa Celli, Lucine Amara, Marina Koshetz and Jarmila Novotná, mezzo-soprano Blanche Thebom, baritone Giuseppe Valdengo and bass Nicola Moscona.

Sources