Teodoro Cottrau’s “Santa Lucia” – Caruso, Gigli and Lanza versions

Three versions of the Italian composer Teodoro Cottrau’s “Santa Lucia”. It is actually a traditional Neapolitan song, transcribed by Cottrau and published by the Cottrau firm, as a “barcarolla”, at Naples in 1849. From three of the greatest tenors of the 20th century, Enrico Caruso, Beniamino Gigli and Mario Lanza.

Teodoro Cottrau (December 7, 1827 in Naples – March 30, 1879 in Naples) was an Italian composer, lyricist, publisher, journalist and politician.

The original lyrics of “Santa Lucia” celebrate the picturesque waterfront district, Borgo Santa Lucia, in the Bay of Naples, in the invitation of a boatman to take a turn in his boat, to better enjoy the cool of the evening.

Perhaps the definitive 20th century recording of the song was that of Enrico Caruso, the great Neapolitan opera singer.

Lyrics

Italian

Sul mare luccica l’astro d’argento.
Placida è l’onda, prospero è il vento.
Sul mare luccica l’astro d’argento.
Placida è l’onda, prospero è il vento.
Venite all’agile barchetta mia,
Santa Lucia! Santa Lucia!
Venite all’agile barchetta mia,
Santa Lucia! Santa Lucia!

Con questo zeffiro, così soave,
Oh, com’è bello star sulla nave!
Con questo zeffiro, così soave,
Oh, com’è bello star sulla nave!
Su passegieri, venite via!
Santa Lucia! Santa Lucia!
Su passegieri, venite via!
Santa Lucia! Santa Lucia!

In fra le tende, bandir la cena
In una sera così serena,
In fra le tende, bandir la cena
In una sera così serena,
Chi non dimanda, chi non desia.
Santa Lucia! Santa Lucia!
Chi non dimanda, chi non desia.
Santa Lucia! Santa Lucia!

Mare sì placida, vento sì caro,
Scordar fa i triboli al marinaro,
Mare sì placida, vento sì caro,
Scordar fa i triboli al marinaro,
E va gridando con allegria,
Santa Lucia! Santa Lucia!
E va gridando con allegria,
Santa Lucia! Santa Lucia!

O dolce Napoli, o suol beato,
Ove sorridere volle il creato,
O dolce Napoli, o suol beato,
Ove sorridere volle il creato,
Tu sei l’impero dell’armonia,
Santa Lucia! Santa Lucia!
Tu sei l’impero dell’armonia,
Santa Lucia! Santa Lucia!

Or che tardate? Bella è la sera.
Spira un’auretta fresca e leggiera.
Or che tardate? Bella è la sera.
Spira un’auretta fresca e leggiera.
Venite all’agile barchetta mia,
Santa Lucia! Santa —Lucia!
Venite all’agile barchetta mia,
Santa Lucia! Santa Lucia!

English

On the sea glitters the silver star
Gentle the waves, favorable the winds.
On the sea glitters the silver star
Gentle the waves, favorable the winds.
Come into my nimble little boat,
Saint Lucy! Saint Lucy!
Come into my nimble little boat,
Saint Lucy! Saint Lucy!

With this breeze, so gentle,
Oh, how beautiful to be on the ship!
With this breeze, so gentle,
Oh, how beautiful to be on the ship!
Come aboard passengers, come on!
Saint Lucy! Saint Lucy!
Come aboard passengers, come on!
Saint Lucy! Saint Lucy!

Inside the tents, putting aside supper
On such a quiet evening,
Inside the tents, putting aside supper
On such a quiet evening,
Who wouldn’t demand, who wouldn’t desire?
Saint Lucy! Saint Lucy!
Who wouldn’t demand, who wouldn’t desire?
Saint Lucy! Saint Lucy!

Sea so calm, the wind so dear,
Forget what makes trouble for the sailor,
Sea so calm, the wind so dear,
Forget what makes trouble for the sailor,
And go shout with merriment,
Saint Lucy! Saint Lucy!
And go shout with merriment,
Saint Lucy! Saint Lucy!

O sweet Naples, O blessed soil,
Where to smile desired its creation,
O sweet Naples, upon blessed soil,
Where to smile desired its creation,
You are the kingdom of harmony,
Saint Lucy! Saint Lucy!
You are the kingdom of harmony,
Saint Lucy! Saint Lucy!

Now to linger? The evening is beautiful.
A little breeze blows fresh and light.
Now to linger? The evening is beautiful.
A little breeze blows fresh and light.
Come into my nimble little boat,
Saint Lucy! Saint Lucy!
Come into my nimble little boat,
Saint Lucy! Saint Lucy!

Neapolitan

Comme se frícceca
la luna chiena!
lo mare ride,
ll’aria è serena…
È pronta e lesta
la varca mia…
Santa Lucia,
Santa Lucia!

Stu viento frisco
fa risciatare:
chi vo’ spassarse
jenno pe’ mmare?
Vuje che facite
‘mmiezo a la via?
Santa Lucia,
Santa Lucia!

La tènna è posta
pe’ fa’ ‘na cena;
e quanno stace
la panza chiena
non c’è la mínema
melanconia.
Santa Lucia,
Santa Lucia!

Sources

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