“Nessun Dorma” – Pavarotti

I’ve been listening to a the Three Tenors concert in 1990 a lot recently, a concert that has been written into music legend. José Carreras, probably my favourite tenor, always personifies romance with a kind of sweetness to his voice; Plácido Domingo, whose dark tones compliment his powerful stage presence; and of course, Luciano Pavarotti, who’s powerful voice and heroic brilliance is unmatched.

Here is, in my opinion, the greatest rendition of “Nessun Dorma” from Puccini’s Turandot, sung by Pavarotti in Los Angeles in 1994.

What makes this performance special is not only Pavarotti’s voice, but also his understanding of what he is singing. In the Opera, the hereo Calaf, who has just won the right to marry icy-cold Princess Turandot, has given her the challange that if she can discover his name before the break of day, he will submit his head to the executioner. But none in the city knows his name. Therefore the Princess orders the execution of the entire Palace staff if his name is not discovered by daybreak. Nessun Dorma means “None shall sleep”.

None shall sleep! None shall sleep! Even you, O Princess, in your cold bedroom, watch the stars.. that tremble with love and with hope!
But my secret is hidden within me; none will know my name! No, no! On your mouth I will say it when the light shines!
And my kiss will dissolve the silence that makes you mine!
Vanish O Night! Fall away Stars! Fall away Stars! At sunrise, I shall win! I shall win! I shall win!

Click here to view.

“E Lucevan Le Stelle” – Roberto Alagna

Tosca by Puccini is my favourite opera. In this scene the hero, Cavaradossi, sings of his lover, Tosca, as he awaits his execution.

How the stars used to shine there,
How sweet the earth smelled,
The orchard gate would creak,
And a footstep would lightly crease the sand.
She’d come in, fragrant as a flower,
And she’d fall into my arms.

Oh! sweet kisses, oh! lingering caresses,
Trembling, I’d slowly uncover her dazzling beauty.
Now, my dream of love has vanished forever.
My last hour has flown, and I die, hopeless!
And never have I loved life more!

Many tenors have attempted a cover of this beautiful aria. But for me, this version by French-Italian Roberto Alagna is one of the very best. Sumblime.

Click here to see the video.