Enrico Caruso - Vesti la giubba - 1902, 1904, 1907





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Published on Oct 1, 2008

Caruso was the first gramophone star to sell more than a million copies with his 1907 recording of 'Vesti la giubba' from the opera 'Pagliacci' by Ruggero Leoncavallo. Here are his recordings from 30th of November 1902, 1st of February 1904 and 17th of March 1907.

Vesti la giubba is regarded as one of the most moving arias in the operatic repertoire. The pain of Canio (Caruso) is portrayed in the aria and exemplifies the entire notion of the 'tragic clown': smiling on the outside but crying on the inside. This is still displayed today as the clown motif often features the painted on tear running down the cheek of the performer.

The opera recounts the tragedy of a jealous husband.

More Caruso info on my non-profit website http://www.enricocaruso.dk (English).

Text of the aria in Italian:

Recitar! Mentre preso dal delirio!
Non so più quel che dico
e quel che faccio!
Eppur è d'uopo sforzati!
Bah! Sei tu forse un uom?
Tu sei Pagliaccio!

Vesti la giubba
Ela faccia infarina.
La gente paga e rider vuole qua.
E se Arlecchin t'invola Colombina,
ridi, Pagliaccio, e ognun applaudirà!
Tramuta in lazzi
lo spasmo ed il pianto;
in una smorfia il singhiozzo
e'l dolor! Ah!
Ridi, Pagliaccio,
sul tuo amore infranto.
Ridi del duol che t'avvelena il cor.

English translation:

To act, with my heart saddened with sorrow.
I know not what I'm saying or what I'm doing.
Yet I must face it.
Courage, my heart!
You are not a man;
you're but a jester!

On with the motley,
the paint and the powder.
The people pay you and want their laugh,
you know.
If Harlequin your Columbine has stolen,
laugh, Punchinello! The world will cry 'Bravo!'
Go hide with laughter
your tears and your sorrow,
sing and be merry, playing your part.
Laugh, Punchinello,
for the love that is ended.
Laugh for the sorrow
that is eating your heart.

Comments • 430

Stan Astan
The question is, was Caruso the greatest tenor that ever lived? We will never know because modern tenors have a magnificent advantage via technology. I suspect so because, even with a relatively ancient technology, I can pick-up his command of language, the manliness of his lower notes, and the splendid harmonics and complexity of his higher notes. My next bet would be Placido Domingo.
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Oh my word, the 1907 recording has reduced me to a shivering wreck. Caruso surely the greatest. What would we give to be able to transport him to the modern day technological world and ask him to sing this?
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Marj AsInStar
How could anyone put a thumbs down for these recordings. Seriously?
Heather Once
'Vesti la giubba' , was, is and will always belong to Enrico
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I suspect very few people realise how difficult this is to sing PROPERLY, because nobody does sing it according to the written score. The line is wonderful when taken without any pauses, and the last note with the diminuendo is virtually impossible. Only Caruso and Bergonzi sing it as written
Arthur Lui
1902 - 0:00 1904 - 2:14 1907 - 4:44
Mike Pinc
Lanza was a genius who grew up under many influences.  He was superb.  As for the age of this recording, it is still obvious that Caruso had great depth and power.  Look how he long and steadily he holds the "ah" in "ah, ridi Pagliaccio."  I've never heard any other artist treat that the same way.  He was special, as was Lanza, the latter of whom had the most compelling voice in terms of power, beauty and emotion I've ever heard.
Thomas Rexdale
i believe that his second recording was the best
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Eldovio Desanfernandino
The Godfather of music!
Terrenos En Facilidades En Pachuca
Magnífico. No me canso de escucharlo.
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