Sarah Brightman - Regnava nel silenzio

Regnava nel silenzio
Alta la notte e bruna ...
Colpìa la fonte un pallido
Raggio di tetra luna ...
Quando sommesso un gemito
Fra l'aure udir si fe',
Ed ecco su quel margine
L'ombra mostrarsi a me!
Qual di chi parla muoversi
Il labbro suo vedea,
E con la mano esanime
Chiamarmi a sè parea.
Stette un momento immobile
Poi rapida sgombrò,
E l'onda pria sì limpida,
di sangue rosseggiò! -

Chiari, oh ciel! ben chiari e tristi
Nel tuo dir presagi intendo!
Ah! Lucia, Lucia desisti
Da un amor così tremendo.

Io? ... che parli! Al cor che geme
Questo affetto è sola speme ...
Senza Edgardo non potrei
Un istante respirar ...
Egli è luce a' giorni miei,
E conforto al mio penar
Quando rapito in estasi
Del più cocente amore,
Col favellar del core
Mi giura eterna fe';
Gli affanni miei dimentico,
Gioia diviene il pianto ...
Parmi che a lui d'accanto
Si schiuda il ciel per me!

Music & lyrics: Gaetano Donizetti (1797-1848)
from the opera: Lucia di Lammermoor (1835)

The song is sung by Sarah on the maxi single of Just Show Me How To Love You (cf. the CD Timeless / Time to say goodbye from 1997).
A live version, recorded in Europe, appears on the Japanese release of Classics (2001).

Source of the lyrics:; do not know if all the accents on the letter are given. [With thanks to Gary Weibert.]
As I do not have this song, I cannot check the lyrics.

On this page furthermore:
some background info on the origin of the song
translation of the song into English
Sarah Hames told me that Regnava nel silenzio is an aria from "Lucia di Lammermoor" by Gaetano Donizetti. It is also one of Maria Callas' most famous roles, Sarah adds. The Alisa part given above is normally omitted when sung as a solo, and some of the words above are not normally sung, writes Sarah, "but I do not have the full score, just the aria in anthologies".
Sarah also very kindly sent me a copy of her program notes on the aria. Note that Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832), arguably Scotland's greatest author, published "The Bride of Lammermoor" in 1819.
Gaetano Donizetti (1797-1848)
Italian composer Gaetano Donizetti composed 65 operas and operetta. He is known for writing in the "bel canto" style, characterized by brilliant and graceful melodies, designed chiefly for virtuoso singers. Lucia di Lammermoor (1835), his most popular work, was based on the novel "The Bride of Lammermoor" by the Scottish writer Sir Walter Scott. The opera tells the tragic story of Lucia, whose family, the Lammermoors, has a longstanding feud with the Ravenswoods.
Naturally, Lucia is deeply in love with Edgardo Ravenwood, despite the fact that her brother has sworn revenge on him. Eventually, Lucia's family tricks her into believing Edgardo is unfaithful and arrange for her to be married to Arturo. Lucia, unable to escape from her arranged marriage, goes mad, and is found standing over Arturo with a bloody dagger, deliriously happy and believing she can now marry Edgardo.
The aria, Regnava nel silenzio, takes place much earlier in the opera, in Act One. Lucia, accompanied by her companion Alisa, is waiting for a rendezvous with Edgardo. At a nearby fountain, a young Lammermoor girl was killed by a Ravenswood and disposed of in the water. Lucia confesses to Alisa that she has seen the ghost, which seemed to be trying to speak to her. Despite Alisa's belief that this is indeed a warning to give up Edgardo, Lucia defends their love. The ornaments in the vocal line of the aria are representative of Lucia's mental instability.

With many thanks to Sarah Hames I can give here Sarah's translation, adapted from a word-by-word translation.

Silence reigned

Silence reigned in the dark and deep night
A pallid ray of dull moonlight struck the fountain
When a low grown through the breeze was heard
And here, on this edge, the spectre showed itself to me! Ah!
As if to speak, I saw it move its lips
And with its lifeless hand it seemed to call to me
It stood a moment immobile, then swiftly it disappeared
And the water, before so limpid, with blood reddened, yes!

He is light to my days! He is comfort to my soul!
When carried away in ecstasy of the most burning ardor,
With speaking of the heart, to me he swears eternal faith.
I forget my anxieties, joy replaces my weeping
It seems to me that when I am near him
Heaven opens itself for me

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created: 29 January 2001
last modified: 18 December 2001