Aux filles du désert


Lisette Oropesa, Aux filles du désert

Aux filles du désert

A woman’s love is like a desert. Aux filles du désert comes from one of the most moving lines in Bizet’s song “Adieux de l’hôtesse arabe.” This song is about an Arabic woman, who has spent a bit of time with a man who was a wandering traveler, and passed through her harem. I feel so much sadness, longing, and bitterness in the text of her goodbye to him; it feels as though she is trapped and her love for him was a temporary escape, and she very much wanted him to stay in this exotic place…a place where he could have been served, cared for, and loved. For him at least, this would have been a luxury, though for her it is more likely a place of sacrifice and servitude. She tells him to never forget the daughters of the desert, the sweet voiced sisters who dance barefoot on the dunes. The way this poem is set by Bizet is masterful, and I can picture the very place in my mind whenever I sing it.

This recital was performed first in Arizona, and the setting is the American version of what Bizet's specific place might have been. To me every desert is magical. There is a sense of isolation, of great power, of extremes…and often that’s what I feel in performance; a great energy, extreme emotions, and beautiful musical landscapes. The desert may call to mind a place of scarcity, but to me it is the total opposite…it is a place of wonder and richness. A woman’s love is like a desert. All of these songs are about the depth of a woman’s love, and they are all mini landscapes, rich and beautiful, and full of wonder.

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Si tu ne reviens pas, songe un peu quelquefois
Aux filles du désert, sœurs à la douce voix...

Lisette Oropesa would like to thank some very special people who made this all happen.

A special thank you to Louisiana State University for recording the recital/
Thank you to Michael Borowitz for his beautiful playing.
Photos and mastering by Steven Harris.

Copyright © 2018 All Rights Reserved

Aux filles du désert

El niño judío, Act II: De España vengo

Libretto by Antonio Paso and Enrique Garcia Álvarez

Translated by Lisette Oropesa

De España vengo
De España vengo, soy española,
en mis ojos me traigo luz de su cielo
y en mi cuerpo la gracia de la manola!

De España vengo, de España soy
y mi cara serrana lo va diciendo.
He nacido en España por donde voy.

A mi lo madrileño, me vuelve loca
y cuando yo me arranco con una copla
el acento gitano de mi canción
toman vida las flores de mi mantón.

De España vengo, de España soy
y mi cara serrana lo va diciendo.
Yo he nacido en España por donde voy.

Campana de la Torre de Maravillas
si es que tocas a fuego toca de prisa:
mira que ardo por culpa de unos ojos
que estoy mirando. Madre, me muero,
por culpa de unos ojos negros, muy negros,
que los tengo "metíos" dentro del alma
y que son los ojazos de mi gitano.

Muriendo estoy, mi vida, por tu desvío;
te quiero y no me quieres, gitano mío.
Mira que pena verse así, despreciada,
siendo morena!

De España vengo, de España soy
y mi cara serrana lo va diciendo.
Yo he nacido en España, por donde voy!
I come from Spain
I come from Spain, I am a Spaniard,
in my eyes, I carry the light of her sky
and in my body the grace of the Madrid woman!

I come from Spain, I am from Spain
and my fine looking face tells it all.
I was born in Spain, where I am going.

To me everything about Madrid drives me wild
and when I fly into a verse
with the gypsy accents of my song
the flowers of my shawl come to life.

I come from Spain, I am from Spain
and my fine looking face speaks for itself.
I was born in Spain, where I am going.

Bell of the Tower of Wonders
If you play for fire, play in a hurry:
See how I burn because of a pair of eyes
that I am looking at. Mother, I die,
all because of a pair of black eyes, very black eyes,
that I have “stuck” inside my soul
and they are the giant eyes of my gypsy boy.

I am dying, my life, because you turn away;
I love you and you don’t love me, my gypsy boy.
Look what a shame it is to be seen this way, despised,
for being dark skinned!

I come from Spain, I am a Spaniard
and my fine looking face tells it all.
I was born in Spain, where I am going!

Als Luise die Briefe, K. 520

Texts by Gabriele von Baumberg

Translated by Lisette Oropesa

Als Luise die Briefe
Erzeugt von heißer Phantasie,
In einer schwärmerischen Stunde
Zur Welt gebrachte, geht zu Grunde,
Ihr Kinder der Melancholie!

Ihr danket Flammen euer Sein,
Ich geb' euch nun den Flammen wieder,
Und all' die schwärmerischen Lieder,
Denn ach! er sang nicht mir allein.

Ihr brennet nun, und bald, ihr Lieben,
Ist keine Spur von euch mehr hier.
Doch ach! der Mann, der euch geschrieben,
Brennt lange noch vielleicht in mir.
As Luisa burned the letters
Generated in a hot fantasy,
In a passionate hour
To the world once brought, now go to the ground,
Your offspring of melancholy!

You who thanks to flames now exist,
I give you back to the flames,
And all the passionate songs,
Because ah! He sang not just to me alone.

You burn now, and soon, you loved ones,
There will be no trace of you here any more.
But ah! The man, he who wrote you,
Will yet burn perhaps a long time within me.

Abendempfindung, K. 523

Texts by Joachim Heinrich Campe

Translated by Lisette Oropesa

Abend ist's, die Sonne ist verschwunden,
Und der Mond strahlt Silberglanz;
So entfliehn des Lebens schönste Stunden,
Fliehn vorüber wie im Tanz.

Bald entflieht des Lebens bunte Szene,
Und der Vorhang rollt herab;
Aus ist unser Spiel, des Freundes Träne
Fließet schon auf unser Grab.

Bald vielleicht (mir weht, wie Westwind leise,
Eine stille Ahnung zu),
Schließ ich dieses Lebens Pilgerreise,
Fliege in das Land der Ruh.

Werdet ihr dann an meinem Grabe weinen,
Trauernd meine Asche sehn,
Dann, o Freunde, will ich euch erscheinen
Und will Himmel auf euch wehn.

Schenk auch du ein Tränchen mir und pflücke
Mir ein Veilchen auf mein Grab,
Und mit deinem seelenvollen Blicke
Sieh dann sanft auf mich herab.

Weih mir eine Träne, und ach! schäme
dich nur nicht, sie mir zu weihn;
Oh, sie wird in meinem Diademe
Dann die schönste Perle sein!
Evening Feeling
It is evening, the sun is gone,
And the moons shines silver light;
So escape life's loveliest hours,
They flee by like in a dance.

Soon life’s colorful scene escapes,
And the curtain comes down;
Over is our play, the tears of a friend
Flow already upon our grave.

Soon perhaps (to me drifts, like a soft westwind,
a quiet hunch),
I come to a close in this life’s pilgrimage,
I fly to the land of rest.

Then you will weep upon my grave,
Sadly you’ll see my ashes,
Then, o friend, I will shine upon you
And will waft you heavenward.

Gift me also you a small tear and pick
for me a violet to place on my grave,
And with your soulful gaze
Look tenderly down towards me.

Shed a tear for me, and ah! No shame
feel, for being the one to consecrate me;
Oh, you will in my afterlife
Then the most beautiful pearl be!

Sei du mein Trost, K. 391

Texts by Johann Thimotheus Hermes

Translated by Lisette Oropesa

Sei du mein Trost
Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt
Sei du mein Trost, verschwiegene Traurigkeit!
Ich flieh' zu dir mit so viel Wunden,
Nie klag' ich Glücklichen mein Leid:
So schweigt ein Kranker bei Gesunden.

O Einsamkeit! Wie sanft erquickst du mich,
Wenn meine Kräfte früh ermatten!
Mit heißer Sehnsucht such' ich dich:
So sucht ein Wandrer, matt, den Schatten.

Hier weine ich. Wie schmähend ist der Blick,
Mit dem ich oft bedauert werde!
Jetzt, Tränen, hält euch nichts zurück:
So senkt die Nachttau auf die Erde.

O daß dein Reiz, geliebte Einsamkeit!
Mir oft das Bild des Grabes brächte:
So lockt des Abends Dunkelheit
Zur tiefen Ruhe schöner Nächte.
Be you my Consolation
Be you my consolation, lonely sadness!
I fly towards you with so many wounds,
Never do I complain, thankfully, of my sorrow;
I refrain, an ill person amongst the healthy.

O loneliness! How gently you revive me,
When my strength so early begins to wane!
With hot longing I seek you out;
The way a wanderer does, weary, the shadows.

Here I weep. How shameful is the glance,
To the one whom I have often stared long at!
Now, tears, do not hold yourselves back;
Thus sinks the night’s dew upon the earth.

Oh that your charm, beloved loneliness!
To me often the image of the grave has brought;
So tempts the night’s darkness
Towards the deep repose of more beautiful nights.

Two Love Songs: I. Extinguish my eyes

Texts by Rainer Maria Rilke, English adaptation by Jessie Lemont

Extinguish My Eyes
Extinguish my eyes, I still can see you:
Close my ears, I can hear your footsteps fall:
And without feet, I still can follow you:
Voiceless I can still return your call.
Break off my arms, and I can embrace you:
Enfold you with my heart as with a hand:
Hold my heart, my brain will take fire of you,
As flax takes fire from a brand!
And flame will sweep in a flood:
Through all the singing currents of my blood:

Two Love Songs: II. When my soul touches yours

Texts by Rainer Maria Rilke, English adaptation by Jessie Lemont

When my Soul Touches Yours
When my soul touches yours a great chord sings:
How can I tune it then to other things?
Oh, if some spot in darkness could be found
That does not vibrate when your depths sound!
But everything that touches you and me
welds us as played strings sound one melody.
Where, where is the instrument whence the sounds flow?
And whose the magic hand that holds the bow?
Oh sweet song! Oh!

Parysatis, Act II: Le Rossignol et la Rose

Translation of poem by Thomas Moore

Translated by Lisette Oropesa

Le Rossignol et la Rose
*No Text*

20 Mélodies, Op.21: XVII. Chant d'amour

Text by Alphonse Marie Louis de Lamartine

Translated by Lisette Oropesa

Chant d’amour
Viens, cherchons une ombre propice,
Jusqu'à l'heure où de ce séjour
Les fleurs fermeront leur calice
Aux regards languissants du jour.
Voilà ton ciel, ô mon étoile!
Soulève, oh! soulève ce voile,
Éclaire la nuit de ces lieux;
Parle, chante, rêve, soupire,
Pourvu que mon regard attire Un regard errant de tes yeux.

Laisse-moi parsemer de roses
La tendre mousse où tu t'assieds,
Et près du lit où tu reposes
Laisse-moi m'asseoir à tes pieds.
Heureux le gazon que tu foules,
Et le bouton dont tu déroules
Sous tes doigts les fraîches couleurs!
Heureuses ces coupes vermeilles que pressent tes lèvres,
Pareilles a l’abeille, amante des fleurs!

Souviens-toi de l'heure bénie
Où les dieux, d'une tendre main,
Te répandirent sur ma vie
Comme l'ombre sur la chemin.
Depuis cette heure fortunée,
Ma vie à ta vie enchaînée,
Qui s'écoule comme un seul jour,
Est une coupe toujours pleine,
Où mes lèvres à longue haleine
Puisent l'innocence et l'amour.
Love Song
Come, let us find a nice shade,
just until the hour when, from the time spent,
the flowers close their chalices
to the sluggish stares of the day.
Behold your sky, oh my star!
Lift, oh do lift your veil,
and light up the night of this place;
Speak, sing, dream, sigh,
so that I might attract a wayward glance from your eyes.

Let me cover with roses
the tender moss on which you sit,
And next to the bed upon which you rest,
let me sit at your feet.
Happy is the lawn on which you tread,
and the bud that you unfold
in your fingers, to show the freshest colors!
Happy are those rosy cups that you press to your lips,
which are like the bee, the lover of flowers.

Do you remember that blessed hour
when the gods, with a tender hand,
spread you throughout my life,
like a shadow across a path?
Since that fortunate moment,
my life became enchained with yours,
in which time passes like a single day;
It is a cup which is always full,
from which my lips, in a long breath,
draw innocence and love!

20 Mélodies, Op.21: I. Chanson d'avril

Text by Louis Hyacinthe Bouilhet

Translated by Lisette Oropesa

Chanson d’avril
Lève-toi! lève-toi! le printemps vient de naître!
Là-bas, sur les vallons, flotte un réseau vermeil!
Tout frissonne au jardin, tout chante et ta fenêtre,
Comme un regard joyeux, est pleine de soleil!
Du côté des lilas aux touffes violettes,
Du côté des lilas, mouches et papillons bruissent à la fois
Et le muguet sauvage, ébranlant ses clochettes,
A réveillé l'amour endormi dans les bois!

Puisqu'Avril a semé ses marguerites blanches,
Laisse ta mante lourde et ton manchon frileux,
Déjà l'oiseau t'appelle et tes soeurs les pervenches
Te souriront dans l'herbe en voyant tes yeux bleus!
Viens, partons! au matin, la source est plus limpide;
Lève-toi! viens, partons!
N'attendons pas du jour les brûlantes chaleurs;
Je veux mouiller mes pieds dans la rosée humide,
Et te parler d'amour sous les poiriers en fleurs.
Song of April
Wake up, get up! Spring is born!
And up there on the valleys there floats a rosy mist!
Everything trembles in the garden, everything is singing and your window,
like a happy face is full of sunshine!
On the hill, the lilacs are full of bunches of purple,
On the hill, in the lilacs, bugs and butterflies are buzzing, all at once;
And the wise lily of the valley shakes his bells,
to awaken love, which has been asleep in the woods!

Since April has sown its white daisies,
Leave behind your cloak and your winter muff;
Already the bird is calling you, and your sisters, the periwinkles,
are smiling in the grass at the sight of your blue eyes!
Come let’s go! In the morning the dew is more luminous;
Get up, come, let’s go!
Let’s not wait for the day to get too hot;
I want to wet my feet in the rosy dew,
and talk to you of love, under the blossoming pear trees!

20 Mélodies, Op.21: IV. Adieux de l'hôtesse arabe

Text by Victor Hugo

Translated by Lisette Oropesa

Adieu de l’hôtesse arabe
Puisque rien ne t'arrête en cet heureux pays,
Ni l'ombre du palmier, ni le jaune maïs,
Ni le repos, ni l'abondance,
Ni de voir à ta voix battre le jeune sein
De nos sœurs, dont, les soirs, le tournoyant essaim
Couronne un coteau de sa danse,
Adieu! Beau voyageur, hélas, adieu.

Oh ! que n'es-tu de ceux
Qui donnent pour limite à leurs pieds paresseux
Leur toit de branches ou de toiles !
Qui, rêveurs, sans en faire, écoutent les récits,
Et souhaitent, le soir, devant leur porte assis,
de s'en aller dans les étoiles !
Hélas, adieu! Adieu beau voyageur.

Si tu l'avais voulu, peut-être une de nous,
O jeune homme, eût aimé te servir à genoux
Dans nos huttes toujours ouvertes ;
Elle eût fait, en berçant ton sommeil de ses chants,
Pour chasser de ton front les moucherons méchants,
Un éventail de feuilles vertes.

Si tu ne reviens pas, songe un peu quelquefois
Aux filles du désert, sœurs à la douce voix,
Qui dansent pieds nus sur la dune ;
O beau jeune homme blanc, bel oiseau passager,
Souviens-toi, car peut-être, ô rapide étranger,
Ton souvenir reste à plus d'une !
Hélas, adieu! Adieu! Bel étranger, hélas, adieu. Souviens-toi...
Farewell from the Arabic Hostess
Since nothing can make you stay in this happy country,
Not the shade of the palm trees, not the yellow corn,
nor the repose or the abundance,
Not even to see how your voice touches the young hearts
of our sisters, who in the evenings, in a twirling frenzy,
crown a hillside with their dance;
Farewell, fair traveler! Alas! Goodbye!

Oh, may you not be one of those
who holds himself back with his lazyness,
or with his enclosed roof of branches or canvas!
Those who dream but don’t act, who hear stories of adventure,
and only wish at night, while seated at their doorstep,
to be out among the stars!
Alas! Farewell! Farewell, fair traveler.

If you had only wanted it, maybe one of us,
oh young man, would have loved to serve you humbly on her knees,
in our huts which are always open.
She would have rocked you to sleep with the lullaby of her songs,
And to chase the annoying flies away from your face,
She would have made a fan of green leaves.

If you never return, dream once in a while
of the daughters of the desert, sisters of the sweetest voice,
who dance barefoot on the dunes;
Oh handsome young white man, lovely vagrant bird,
Remember...remember that perhaps, swift stranger,
your memory will endure with more than one person!
Alas, goodbye! Farewell, fair traveler...Alas, goodbye...remember...

L'elisir d’amore, Act II: Prendi, per me sei libero

Libretto by Felice Romani

Translated by Lisette Oropesa

Prendi, per me sei libero
Prendi, per me sei libero,
resta nel suol natio.
Non v’ha destin sì rio
che non si cangi un dì...resta.

Qui dove tutti t’amano,
saggio, amoroso, onesto.
Sempre scontento e mesto
no, non sarai così.
Ah no, non sarai così.
Take it, through me you are free
Take it, through me you are free,
stay in the land of your birth.
There is no destiny so bitter
that cannot be changed one day…stay.

Here where everyone loves you,
wise, loving, honest.
Always unhappy and melancholy
no, you will not be that way then.
Ah no, you will not be that way then.