Dio Ti Giocondi

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Derek McGovern

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Sep 28, 2008, 10:04:15 PM9/28/08
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Some of our newer members may be unfamiliar with Lanza's first (and
unreleased) version of the Act III Otello duet Dio Ti Giocondi, which
he recorded in July 1955 with soprano Gloria Boh:

http://www.4shared.com/file/62159737/ceb85961/Dio_Ti_Giocondi_with_Boh.html

For me, there are two great mysteries surrounding this splendid
recording: just who was Gloria Boh, and -- more significantly -- why
did Lanza not sing the first four lines (from "Grazie, madonna" to
"piccioletto artiglio" when he re-recorded the duet with Licia
Albanese just four months later?

The latter point is especially curious given that Albanese recorded
*her* portion of the opening lines. It's been suggested that Mario
mucked up his contribution -- thus explaining why RCA went to all the
trouble of replacing the four lines with his earlier version (no easy
task from an editing perspective) -- but if that were the case, why
didn't he simply do a retake while Albanese was with him? (As it was,
some sections of the duet had to repeated when Licia apparently got so
carried away that she forgot her words!)

Another possible reason is that Warners only asked Lanza and Albanese
to record the duet from "Mollemente alla prece s'atteggia e al pio
fervore..." onwards, but that RCA -- on preparing the soundtrack album
for release a few months later -- realized what a unique collaboration
they had on their hands, and consequently asked Licia to record the
first four lines to make the duet complete. Certainly, we know that
RCA was thrilled with the quality of Lanza's singing on the
soundtrack, and no doubt saw the album as a prestigious release.

Any other plausible theories, folks? :-)


DESDEMONA
Dio ti giocondi, o sposo dell'alma mia sovrano.

God rest you merry, O husband, sovereign of my soul.

OTHELLO
Grazie, madonna, datemi la vostra eburnea mano.
Caldo mador ne irrora la morbida beltà.

Thank you, My Lady, give me your ivory hand.
Warm moisture bedews its soft beauty.

DESDEMONA
Essa ancor l'orme ignora del duolo e dell'età.

It is still unaware of the stamp of grief and of age.

OTHELLO
Eppur qui annida il dèmone gentil del mal consiglio,
Che il vago avorio allumina del piccioletto artiglio.
Mollemente alla prece s'atteggia e al pio fervore...

And yet the courteous demon of ill counsel nests here,
Illuminating the lovely ivory of this little claw.
Gently it assumes the attitude of prayer and of pious fervor. . .

DESDEMONA
Eppur con questa mano io v'ho donato il core.
Ma riparlar vi debbo di Cassio.

And yet with this hand I gave you my heart.
But I must speak to you again of Cassio.

OTHELLO
Ancor l'ambascia
Del mio morbo m'assale; tu la fronte mi fascia.

Again the pain
Of my illness attacks me; bandage my forehead.

OTELLO
Ancor l'ambascia
Del mio morbo m'assale; tu la fronte mi fascia.

DESDEMONA
(handing him a handkerchief)
A te.

Here.

OTHELLO
No; il fazzoletto voglio ch'io ti donai.

No, I want the handkerchief I gave you.

DESDEMONA
Non l'ho meco.

I don't have it with me.

OTHELLO
Desdemona, guai se lo perdi! guai!
Una possente maga ne ordia lo stame arcano:
Ivi è riposta l'alta malia d'un talismano.
Bada! smarrirlo, oppur donarlo, è ria sventura!

Desdemona, woe, if you have lost it! Woe!
A mighty sorceress disposed its secret weave:
It contains the lofty magic of a talisman.
Take care! To lose it, or to give it away, is terrible misfortune!

DESDEMONA
Il vero parli?

Are you speaking the truth?

OTHELLO
Il vero parlo.

I speak the truth.

DESDEMONA
Mi fai paura! ...

You frighten me! . . .

OTHELLO
Che?! l'hai perduto forse?

What?! Have you lost it perhaps?

DESDEMONA
No . . .

OTHELLO
Lo cerca.

Look for it.

DESDEMONA
Fra poco. . .
Lo cercherò. . .

In a little while . . .
I'll look for it . . .

OTHELLO
No, tosto!

No, at once!

DESDEMONA
Tu di me ti fai gioco.
Storni cosi l'inchiesta di Cassio;
astuzia è questa
Del tuo pensier.

You are teasing me.
This way you ward off the question of Cassio; this is the cleverness
Of your thinking.

OTHELLO
Pel cielo! l'anima mia si desta!
Il fazzoletto. . .

By heaven! my soul is aroused!
The handkerchief . . .

DESDEMONA
È Cassio l'amico tuo diletto.

Cassio is your beloved friend.

OTHELLO
Il fazzoletto!!

The handkerchief!!

DESDEMONA
A Cassio perdona. . .

Forgive Cassio...

OTHELLO
Il fazzoletto!

The handkerchief!

DESDEMONA
Gran Dio! nella tua voce v'è un grido di minaccia!

Great God! your voice is a menacing cry!

OTHELLO
Alza quegli occhi!

Raise those eyes!

DESDEMONA
Atroce idea!

Horrible idea!

OTHELLO
Guardami in faccia!
Dimmi chi sei!

Look me in the face!
Tell me who you are!

DESDEMONA
La sposa fedel d'Otello.

Othello's faithful wife.

OTHELLO
Giura!
Giura e ti danna. . .

Swear!
Swear and damn yourself . . .

DESDEMONA
Otello fedel mi crede.

Othello believes me faithful.

OTHELLO
Impura
Ti credo.

I believe you
Impure.

DESDEMONA
Iddio m'aiuti!

God help me!

OTHELLO
Corri alla tua condanna,
Di' che sei casta.

You are running to your damnation,
Say that you are chaste.

DESDEMONA
Casta. . .io son. . .

I am . . . chaste . . .

OTHELLO
Giura e ti danna!!!

Swear and damn yourself!!!

DESDEMONA
Esterrefatta fisso lo sguardo tuo tremendo,
In te parla una Furia, la sento e non l'intendo.
Mi guarda! Il volto e l'anima ti svelo; il core infranto
Mi scruta. . .io prego il cielo per te con questo pianto.
Per te con queste stille cocenti aspergo il suol.
Guarda le prime lagrime, che da me spreme il duol.

Terrified, I look into your fearful gaze,
A Fury speaks in you; I hear it and don't understand it.
Look at me! I reveal my face and my soul to you; examine
My broken heart . . . with these tears I pray to heaven for you.
For you I sprinkle the ground with these burning drops.
Look at the first tears that grief presses from me.

OTHELLO
S'or ti scorge il tuo demone, un angelo ti crede
E non t'afferra.

If your devil could see you now, he would take you for an angel
And would not seize you.

DESDEMONA
Vede l'Eterno la mia fede!

The Eternal One sees my loyalty!

OTHELLO
No! la vede l'inferno.

No! hell sees it.

DESDEMONA
La tua giustizia impetro,
Sposo mio!

For justice I implore you,
My husband!

OTHELLO
Ah! Desdemona! - Indietro! Indietro! Indietro!

Ah! Desdemona! Away! Away! Away!

DESDEMONA
Tu pur piangi?!. . .e gemendo freni del cor lo schianto
E son io l'innocente cagion di tanto pianto!
Qual è il mio fallo?

You're weeping too?! . . . and moaning, you hold back the breaking of your heart
And I am the innocent cause of such
weeping!
What have I done wrong?

OTHELLO
E il chiedi?. . . Il più nero delitto
Sovra il candido giglio della tua fronte è scritto.

You ask me? . . . The blackest crime
Is written on the white lily of your forehead.

DESDEMONA
Ahimè!

Alas!

OTHELLO
Che? non sei forse una vil cortigiana?

What? Aren't you perhaps a base harlot?

DESDEMONA
Ciel! No. . .no. . .pel battesmo della fede cristiana! ...

Heaven! No . . . no . . . by my baptism in the Christian faith! . . .

OTHELLO
Che?

What?

DESDEMONA
Non son ciò che esprime quella parola orrenda.
(Otello mutando d'un tratto l'ira nella più terribile calma
dell'ironia, prende Desdemona per mano e la conduce alla porta d'onde
entrò.)

I am not what that horrible word
expresses.
(Changing suddenly from anger to a more frightening ironic calm,
Othello takes Desdemona by the hand and leads her to the door by which
she entered.)

OTHELLO
Datemi ancor l'eburnea mano, vo' fare ammenda.
Vi credea (perdonate se il mio pensiero è fello)
Quella vil cortigiana ch'è la sposa d'Otello.

Give me your ivory hand again; I want to make amends.
I thought you (forgive me if my thought is wicked)
That base harlot who is Othello's wife.

Maria Luísa

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Sep 29, 2008, 9:10:24 AM9/29/08
to The Mario Lanza Forum
Wonderful link. Great singing on both parts, as expected. Mario's
voice is supreme of course. As for the lyrics, I thank you Derek. Is
marvelous to follow them while listening. If possible gives their
extraordinary singing a greater dimension I think. Makes us pay even
more attention to their beautiful singing by simultaneously knowing
the exact meaning of the words they vocalize. Admirable recording.

On Sep 29, 3:04 am, "Derek McGovern" <derek.mcgov...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Some of our newer members may be unfamiliar with Lanza's first (unreleased) version of the Act III Otello duet Dio Ti Giocondi, which
> he recorded in July 1955 with soprano Gloria Boh:
>
> http://www.4shared.com/file/62159737/ceb85961/Dio_Ti_Giocondi_with_Bo...

Derek McGovern

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Oct 2, 2008, 5:14:52 PM10/2/08
to The Mario Lanza Forum
Hi Luísa: Yes, the Lanza/Boh Dio Ti Giocondi is most definitely an
"admirable recording", and one that I'd love to hear in pristine
sound. I'd also love to get hold of the other takes! According to the
recording logs, there were five takes of the duet on July 19, 1955,
and a further take two days later (on the same day that Lanza recorded
his two takes of Nessun Dorma).

What would also be interesting to know is whether the Lanza/Boh
version of the duet was ever intended for the film. I suspect that it
was recorded as a back-up in case Licia Albanese wasn't available when
it came time to shoot the Otello scenes four months later. Others have
suggested that Mario simply saw it as a chance to rehearse the duet in
anticipation of his recording with Licia. That's possible, I suppose,
but why, then, would they spend two days on the duet? The number of
retakes suggests that they wanted to get the recording as close to
perfection as possible, and, in fact, there were more retakes on this
duet than any of the other operatic material recorded for the film.
(Then again, at over ten minutes, the duet was much longer & arguably
more complex than anything else in the film -- hence the opportunity
for more mistakes to be made.)

Albanese has said that it was at Christmas time that Lanza phoned her,
asking her to appear in Serenade with him. This call would have to
have been in December 1954. It's possible, of course, that the idea of
the two of them singing the Otello duet in the film hadn't been
finalised at that stage. After all, there were numerous changes to the
script almost until the point of shooting. (Armando mentions in his
book that the all-important Breen Office only approved the screenplay
in August 1955.) But if Albanese is right about the timing of Mario's
call, it would be very interesting to know if Lanza specifically asked
her to sing the Act III Otello duet together -- or were other duets
discussed as well (or instead of Dio Ti Giocondi)?



Lou

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Oct 4, 2008, 12:35:52 PM10/4/08
to The Mario Lanza Forum

Hi Derek: You wrote, "For me, there are two great mysteries
surrounding this splendid recording: just who was Gloria Boh, ..." I
googled her and the only info I was able to get is about a Gloria Boh,
a low-profile Wisconsin opera singer who is (was?) the mother of
Warren Fischer, a contemporary rock musician/composer or something. I
wouldn't be surprised if she's our girl.

As for the possibility of Lanza and Albanese's discussing other duets,
is there anything else besides Gia nella notte densa? That would have
been a wonderful addition to Lanza's legacy (I love the existing
version, but the voice is just too young), but definitely not at the
expense of Dio ti giocondi.

Derek McGovern

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Oct 5, 2008, 12:44:51 AM10/5/08
to The Mario Lanza Forum
Thanks for your detective work once again, Lou! It must be the same
Gloria (Boh, after all, is hardly a common surname). She was obviously
quite young when she recorded the Otello duet with Lanza, as her son
Warren -- according to his Wikipedia entry, at least -- only graduated
from high school in 1986. That means that Gloria would probably not
have been any older than 30 (if that) when she sang with Mario in
1955.

It'd be interesting to write to Ms. Boh (assuming she's still alive),
and now that we have a lead -- thanks to you, Lou! -- I may try to
contact her via her son when I have a bit more free time.

I wasn't actually thinking of the other Otello-Desdemona duet (Gia'
nella notte densa) when I wondered out aloud if Lanza had discussed
additional/alternative selections with Licia, but it would have been
wonderful if the two had thought to record the duet for posterity, if
nothing else!

Derek McGovern

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Oct 24, 2008, 11:05:45 PM10/24/08
to The Mario Lanza Forum
Having played the Lanza/Boh version of Dio Ti Giocondi several times
during the last few weeks, I went back yesterday to the Lanza/Albanese
recording to see if I still thought it inferior to the Boh version.
The short answer is I do.

Although (not surprisingly) I still much prefer Albanese's Desdemona
to that of Boh (both vocally and interpretively) -- and it's wonderful
to have a permanent record of Lanza working with such a celebrated
soprano -- Mario's simply in better form on the version with Boh:
vocally, musically, and interpretively. It's not surprising, really;
as Armando pointed out a couple of years back, the conditions under
which Mario recorded the version with Albanese were far from ideal.
The session came after many weeks of exhausting work on the film set
of Serenade (and, earlier, in Mexico), and there would have been very
little time available for vocalizing, let alone the chance to rehearse
such a challenging duet properly. Under the circumstances, it's
amazing how good Mario's singing is on the version with Albanese. In
fact, until the recording with Boh came along, I wouldn't have thought
it possible for him to have upstaged his own performance that same
year on his very first attempt.

Who else prefers the version with Boh? (It's still available here, by
the way: http://www.4shared.com/file/62159737/ceb85961/Dio_Ti_Giocondi_with_Boh.html)






Derek McGovern

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Jun 1, 2012, 12:08:44 AM6/1/12
to mario...@googlegroups.com
I thought I'd bump this thread back into circulation for the benefit of members/visitors who may not have heard both of Lanza's recordings of the Act III Otello duet. The link given in the posts above to the Lanza/Boh recording no longer works, but that version can now be heard here:

http://www.mariolanzatenor.com/firsthand-accounts-of-working-with-lanza-gloria-boh.html

And the Lanza/Albanese version is available here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-aPuw-MDn40

Oh, I wish we heard the Boh version in the same pristine sound as the Albanese recording! Still, the quality could be a lot worse.

The Boh recording remains my favourite, though---Lanza's in slightly better voice here than on the version with Albanese, and I prefer his singing with Boh. That's not to say the version with Albanese is in any way forgettable!


Barnabas Nemeth

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Jun 1, 2012, 4:08:13 AM6/1/12
to mario...@googlegroups.com
As far as I'm concerned, Licia's rendition is far better for me than that of Ms. Boh. Otherwise agree, Mario was in somewhat better voice with Boh.
All in all, I prefer the movie version. Both version are valuable.
Best,
Barnabas

2012/6/1 Derek McGovern <derek.m...@gmail.com>
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