Ged Clapson
Ged Clapson

Vissi d'arte, vissi d'amore is possibly one of the most moving arias ever written. It is sung by Tosca (Maria Callas in the recording on You Tube - above) as she thinks of her fate in Act 2 of Puccini's magnificent opera. The libretto is also very personal to me. It recognises the value of love and faith, and the significant role that music and the arts have played in my own life. But it also is a passionate cri de coeur, as Tosca contemplates her 'hour of grief' ('Nell'ora del dolore').


In 1999, this aria was sung by Simone Sauphanor at the funeral of my dear and much-missed partner, Blair Wilson, in Westminster Cathedral, London. Blair was an opera singer from Philadelphia and much more. And on 29 March 2012 - the 13th anniversary of his death - a young baritone from India became the recipient of the Blair Wilson Award, to assist his studies at the Royal College of Music.


Oscar Castellino is a talented singer whom I am sure you will be hearing more of in the years to come. Indeed, you may well have heard him already: he was one of the RCM Chamber Choir who sang for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at the end of the Diamond Jubilee Thames Pageant on 3 June 2012 - despite wind, cold and torrential rain! See videos and pictures from the day and read more here. 


Vissi d'arte

From Tosca - Giacomo Puccini:


Vissi d'arte, vissi d'amore,
non feci mai male ad anima viva!
Con man furtiva
quante miserie conobbi aiutai.

Sempre con fe' sincera
la mia preghiera
ai santi tabernacoli salì.
Sempre con fe' sincera
diedi fiori agli altar.

Nell'ora del dolore
perché, perché, Signore,
perché me ne rimuneri così?

Diedi gioielli della Madonna al manto,
e diedi il canto agli astri, al ciel,
che ne ridean più belli.
Nell'ora del dolore,
perché, perché, Signor,
ah, perché me ne rimuneri così?

English Translation:

I lived for art, I lived for love,
I never harmed a living soul!
With a discreet hand
I relieved all misfortunes I encountered.

Always with sincere faith
my prayer
rose to the holy tabernacles.
Always with sincere faith
I decorated the altars with flowers.

In this hour of grief,
why, why, Lord,
why do you reward me thus?

I donated jewels to the Madonna's mantle,
and offered songs to the stars and to heaven,
which thus did shine with more beauty.
In this hour of grief,
why, why, Lord,
ah, why do you reward me thus?

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