Sarah Brightman - Nessun dorma

Nessun dorma!
Nessun dorma!
Tu pure, o Principe,
Nella tua fredda stanza guardi le stelle,
Che tremano d'amore e di speranza!

Ma il mio mistero è chiuso in me,
Il nome mio nessun saprà!
No, no, sulla tua bocca lo dirò,
Quando la luce splenderà!

Ed il mio bacio scioglierà.
Il silenzio che ti fa mio!

        Il nome suo nessun saprà!
        E noi dovrem ahimè morir, morir!

Dilegua o notte!
Tramontate, stelle!
Tramontate, stelle!
All' alba vincerò!
Vincerò! Vincerò!

Music: Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924), adapted by Frank Peterson
Lyrics: Giuseppe Adami and Renato Simoni
The song is originally Calaf's aria from the opera Turandot.

From: Eden (1998).
The song also appears on Amalfi: Sarah Brightman love songs (2010)
and: Live from Las Vegas (2004).

A later recored version appears on: Classics (2001), with a female choir (on Eden it is a male choir). The song has the same lyrics, except that after the last "Vincerò!" by Sarah, a choir (both male and female) sings some lines -- see below for words.
The song also appears on Classics - European release (2006) -- which version is that?

Source of the lyrics: the CD-booklet of Eden, except for the repetition, with thanks to Chung Kan Li.
The lines given in Italics are not in the CD-booklet: they are sung by a male choir -- thanks to Jim Waters and Carlos Pineda; see also this page where the two authors of the libretto mentioned above are credited; the CD-booklet only mentions Puccini (and Peterson). And thanks to Roger Pariseau I can mention that this page has the entire libretto for Turandot.
By the way: Puccini died in 1924, before he finished Turandot; the Italian author Franco Alfano finished it, and it opened in 1926 -- thanks to Christian Wallenborg for this info.


Translation into English

Chung Kan Li also sent me the translation into English as given on the CD of the Three Tenors (Carreras, Domingo and Pavarotti) from their concert of 7 Juli 1990, which does not contain the translation of the two choir lines.

One thing that had to be changed is that Sarah sings as a woman to a Prince (Principe; 3rd line), not to a Princess (Principessa), as in the original, where the song is a tenor aria sung by a male singer; for the same reason 11-th line is 'mio' instead of 'mia'. [thanks to Paula Lehtonen for this information].

Marco Pescosolido sent me some other important corrections (see below the translation for some notes) and the resulting translation is:

No-one shall sleep

No-one shall sleep!
No-one shall sleep!
You too, oh Prince,
In your cold room, watch the stars
Trembling with love and hope!

But my secret lies hidden within me,
No-one shall discover my name!
Oh no, I will only reveal it on your lips
When daylight shines forth!

And my kiss shall break
The silence that makes you mine!

        No-one shall discover her name!
        And we will, alas, have to die, to die!

Depart, oh night!
Set, you stars!
Set, you stars!
At dawn I shall win!
I shall win! I shall win!

Some notes based on Marco's comments and on further changes to the translation from the Three Tenors CD (TTCD):
  =   The title is in Italian actually a kind of command, something like "Let nobody sleep!". The TTCD translation has "No man will sleep!", which sounds a little artifical. Better is to make it more firm: "No-one shall sleep!" (Using "none" or "nobody" instead of "no-one" is possible too, of course.)   By the way: in English "shall" expresses the speaker's belief regarding a future action or state, whereas "will" expresses determination or consent, hence "shall" is the right word here.
  =   The fourth line of the first stanza was translated as "In your virginal room, ...", where the use of "virginal" sounds a little strange to me, especially as "cold" is a translation of "fredda", giving the feeling of coldness and emptyness meant here.
Robin Kyin pointed out, however, that the use of "virginal" is certainly possible and is in a way more descriptive, because in the storyline of the opera Calaf is referring to Turandot's lack of warmth, sexually speaking. In the same way that we refer to women who cannot achieve orgasm as being "frigid", the lyrics, I believe, Robin added, are similarly referring to Turandot's hatred of men and her blood-thirsty insistence on maintaining her sexual inexperience.
  =   In the first line of the second stanza ("But the secret lies hidden within me") "to lie" means "to be, remain, or be kept in the stated condition" [Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, 1988], which is what is meant in this line, and it is somewhat stronger than "... secret is hidden ..."
  =   The third line of the second stanza was in the TTCD translation "... will reveal it only on your ...". The word "only" is misplaced, I think: "... will only reveal it on your ..." is stronger, better. (Note that "only" is not present in the Italian lyrics, but I feel it belongs in this line.)
  =   The translation of the two choir lines, not present in the TTCD translation, is adapted from the page at The Aria Database mentioned above, with "her" for "suo" (which can also be "him") because Sarah is singing the song as a woman, and "alas" for "ahimè".


Version on Classics

The Nessun Dorma version on Sarah's collection CD Classics has the same lyrics, except that after the last "Vincerò!" by Sarah, a choir (both male and female) sings some lines. This page has the entire libretto for Turandot and includes the Choir ("la folla"=crowd) part at the every end. Based on that, Roger Pariseau has written down what the Choir in the Classics version sings, and also provided a translation:

O sole! Vita! Eternità!
Luce del mondo e amore!
Ride e canta
Nel sole l'infinità nostra felicità!
Gloria! Gloria a te!
O Sun! Life! Eternity!
Light of the world and love!
Laugh and sing
In the sun of our infinite happiness!
Glory! Glory to you!

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last modified: 19 May 2011