Friday, 17 April 2015

Nobody shall sleep

Story time, a story as old as time but still a favourite with anyone who has heard "Nessun dorma" one of the best-known tenor arias in all opera. It is sung by Calaf  (the unknown prince), who falls in love at first sight with the beautiful but cold Princess Turandot. However, any man who wishes to wed Turandot must first answer her three riddles; if he fails, he will be beheaded.
In the act before this aria, Calaf has correctly answered the three riddles put to all of Princess Turandot's prospective suitors. Nonetheless, she recoils at the thought of marriage to him. Calaf offers her another chance by challenging her to guess his name by dawn. If she does so, she can execute him; but if she does not, she must marry him. The cruel and emotionally cold princess then decrees that none of her subjects shall sleep that night until his name is discovered. If they fail, all will be killed.
Prince Calaf sings the aria...

Nobody shall sleep! Even you, o Princess, in your cold room, watch the stars, that tremble with love and with hope.
But my secret is hidden within me, my name no one shall know...
On your mouth I will tell it when the light shines.
And my kiss will dissolve the silence that makes you mine!…

Just before the climactic end of the aria, a chorus of women is heard singing in the distance:

No one will know his name and we must, alas, die.

Now early morning, Calaf, certain of victory, sings:

Vanish, o night!
Fade stars! Fade stars!
At dawn, I will win!

Nessun dorma roughly translated means " Nobody shall sleep "

He finally woes her and they live happily ever after. Hopefully all her subjects are spared death.

You can listen here Nessun Dorma

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