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Opera Surtitles



May I?
Ladies and gentlemen,
excuse me for introducing myself.
I am the Prologue.
The author once again presents
the Comedy of Masks.
In part he wants to revive
the old theatrical customs.
He sends me to invite you.
But not to tell you as he did before,
“The tears we shed are false.”
Not to say, “Don’t be alarmed
by our suffering and our torment.”
No! Instead, the author has sought
to present a slice of life to you.
His only belief is that the artist is a person
and that he must write for people.
He was inspired by the truth.
Deep in his soul,
an array of memories sang one day.
He wrote, crying real tears,
and his sobs created the rhythm.
So you’ll see love, as people love.
You’ll see the fruits of hatred, spasms
of sorrow, howls of rage and cynical laughter.
And you, rather than concentrating
on our costumes…
…consider our souls,
since we are people of flesh and blood.
We breathe the air of this orphaned world
just like you!
I’ve told you the plan.
Now listen as it unfolds.
Come, let’s begin!
They’re here! They’re back.
Pagliaccio is here!
The young and old follow him.
Everyone applauds his jokes and clever words.
Pagliaccio is here.
He greets us gravely as he passes by.
He beats the big drum.
– Whip the donkey, Arlecchino!
– They’re throwing their caps in the air.
There’s the little cart, stand back!
They’re arriving.
Long live Pagliaccio,
prince of clowns!
You drive away troubles
with your gaiety.
Everyone applauds his jokes
and clever words.
– Thank you. I would like…
– The performance?
– Ladies and gentlemen!
– You’re deafening us!
– May I be granted the right to speak?
– We must yield to him and listen.
Your humble and good servant has prepared
a grand spectacle for an hour before sunset.
You will see the troubles of good Pagliaccio,
how he is vindicated and sets a fine trap.
You’ll see Tonio tremble
and weave a web of intrigue.
Come and honor us, ladies and gentlemen,
at an hour before sunset.
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