One of the leading operatic tenors of the 20th century, Jussi Björling sings La fleur que tu m’avais jetée (Flower Song), a famous aria from Georges Bizet’s 1875 opera Carmen. A 1950 recording.

Jussi Björling sings La fleur que tu m’avais jetée (Flower Song), a famous aria from Georges Bizet’s 1875 opera Carmen. A 1950 recording.

La fleur que tu m’avais jetée (Flower Song)

“La fleur que tu m’avais jetée” (The Flower Song) is a famous aria from Georges Bizet’s opera “Carmen.” This aria, sung by the character Don José in Act II, is a highlight of the opera and is known for its lyrical beauty and emotional depth. “Carmen,” first performed in 1875, is one of the most popular and frequently performed operas in the classical canon, and this aria is a significant part of its enduring appeal.

In the context of the opera, “La fleur que tu m’avais jetée” occurs when Don José, a corporal in the army, reveals his feelings to Carmen, a captivating and free-spirited gypsy. The aria is a moment of introspection and vulnerability for Don José, who is often portrayed as a man torn between duty and passion, discipline and desire.

The aria begins with Don José recounting how Carmen had previously thrown him a flower, which he kept with him while under arrest, tormented by thoughts of her. The flower, wilted and dried, became a symbol of his obsession and love for Carmen. Throughout the aria, the melody and orchestration reflect the character’s emotional turmoil and deep longing.

Musically, “La fleur que tu m’avais jetée” is notable for its expressive lyricism and requires a tenor with a strong sense of line and phrasing. The aria demands both emotional expressivity and technical control, as it contains a range of dynamics and requires a degree of vocal finesse to convey the nuances of Don José’s feelings.

The aria is structured to build gradually in intensity, mirroring Don José’s growing passion and desperation. It begins softly, with a sense of wistful longing, and gradually crescendos to a passionate climax. This build-up is both a vocal and dramatic challenge, requiring the singer to maintain vocal control and expressiveness throughout.

The “flower song” is often praised for its melodic beauty and is a favorite among tenors. It allows for a display of vocal prowess while also demanding a deep emotional connection to the character and the text. The aria’s blend of lyrical melody, emotional depth, and dramatic intensity makes it a standout moment in “Carmen” and a highlight in the operatic repertoire.

La fleur que tu m’avais jetée (Flower Song) lyrics


La fleur que tu m’avais jetée
Dans ma prison, m’était restée
Flétrie et sèche, cette fleur
Gardait toujours sa douce odeur

Et pendant des heures entières
Sur mes yeux, fermant mes paupières
De cette odeur je m’enivrais
Et dans la nuit je te voyais

Je me prenais à te maudire
À te détester, à me dire
Pourquoi faut-il que le destin
L’ait mise là sur mon chemin

Je m’accusais de blasphème
Et je ne sentais rien moi-même
Je ne sentais qu’un seul désir
Un seul désir, un seul espoir
Te revoir, ô Carmen, oui, te revoir

Car tu n’avais eu qu’à paraître
Qu’à jeter un regard sur moi
Pour t’emparais de tout mon être
Ô ma Carmen
J’étais une chose à toi
Carmen, je t’aime

English translation

The flower that you threw at me
In my prison, I was left
Withered and dry, this flower
Still kept its sweet smell
And for hours on end
On my eyes, closing my eyelids

I was intoxicated with this smell
And in the night I saw you
I found myself cursing you
To hate you, to tell me
Why must fate
Put her there in my way

I accused myself of blasphemy
And I felt nothing myself
I only felt one desire
One desire, one hope
See you again, oh Carmen, yes, see you again

Because you only had to appear
To take a look at me
To take over my whole being
O my Carmen
I was a thing of yours
Carmen, I love you

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M. Özgür Nevres

Published by M. Özgür Nevres

I am Özgür Nevres, a software engineer, a former road racing cyclist, and also an amateur musician. I opened to share my favorite music. I also take care of stray cats & dogs. This website's all income goes directly to our furry friends. Please consider supporting me on Patreon, so I can help more animals!

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