Habanera (aria)

Range Tessitura
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{ \set Score.proportionalNotationDuration = #(ly:make-moment 1/8)  \new Staff \with { \remove "Time_signature_engraver" } {\clef treble d'\glissando d''} }

Habanera (music or dance of Havana, Spanish: La Habana) is the popular name for "L'amour est un oiseau rebelle" ("Love is a rebellious bird"), an aria from Georges Bizet's 1875 opéra comique Carmen. It is the entrance aria of the title character, a mezzo-soprano role, in scene 5 of the first act.

BackgroundEdit

The score of the aria was adapted from the habanera "El Arreglito ou la Promesse de mariage", by the Spanish musician Sebastián Iradier, first published in 1863, which Bizet thought to be a folk song.[1] When others told him he had used something written by a composer who had died 10 years earlier,[2] he added a note of its derivation in the first edition of the vocal score which he himself prepared.[3] Although the French libretto of the complete opéra comique was written by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy, the words of the habanera originated from Bizet.[4][5] The Habanera was first performed by Galli-Marié at the Opéra-Comique on 3 March 1875. Bizet, having removed during rehearsals his first version of Carmen's entrance song, in 3
4
with a refrain in 6
8
, rewrote the Habanera several times before he (and Galli-Marié) were satisfied with it.[1]

MusicEdit

 

Although Bizet kept the basic layout of the Iradier song, which has each verse in D minor and each refrain in the tonic major, he let go of the long ritornelli and second half material, and by adding chromaticism, variations in the refrain and harmonic interest in the accompaniment, made it a memorable number.[1] The reharmonization, addition of triplets in the vocal line and the flute in its low register add to the effect.[6] Despite the change in mode there is no actual modulation in the aria, and the implied pedal point D is maintained throughout. The vocal range covers D4 to F5 with a tessitura from D4 to D5. Although Bizet borrowed the melody from a song by Iradier he developed it "with his inimitable harmonic style and haunting habanera rhythm".[7]

The orchestration for the number consists of the two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, four horns, timpani, triangle and tambourine, full strings, and pistons (for the final chord only).[8] The orchestral complement for the premiere run was 62 or 57 musicians in total (depending on whether the pit players doubled for off-stage music).[6]

José is the only person on stage who pays no attention to Carmen while she sings the Habanera, and after she finishes she approaches him,[9] and at the end of the following short scene, after Carmen's spoken words "épinglier de mon âme" and her throwing a cassia flower at José, the female chorus reprise the refrain "L'amour est enfant de bohème, Il n'a jamais, jamais connu de loi, Si tu ne m'aimes pas, je t'aime, Si je t'aime, prends garde à toi !". The refrain also returns briefly at the end of the act, in scene XI, No.1 Final where Carmen hums it ('fredonnant') in the face of the lieutenant Zuniga.[8]

LibrettoEdit

Lyrics in parentheses are sung by the chorus.

[recitative]
Quand je vous aimerai ?
Ma foi, je ne sais pas,
Peut-être jamais, peut-être demain...
Mais pas aujourd'hui, c'est certain !

[sung]
L'amour est un oiseau rebelle
Que nul ne peut apprivoiser,
Et c'est bien en vain qu'on l'appelle,
S'il lui convient de refuser.
Rien n'y fait, menace ou prière,
L'un parle bien, l'autre se tait,
Et c'est l'autre que je préfère,
Il n'a rien dit, mais il me plaît.

(L'amour est un oiseau rebelle) L'amour !
(Que nul ne peut apprivoiser,) L'amour !
(Et c'est bien en vain qu'on l'appelle,) L'amour !
(S'il lui convient de refuser.) L'amour !

L'amour est enfant de bohème,
Il n'a jamais, jamais connu de loi,
Si tu ne m'aimes pas, je t'aime,
Si je t'aime, prends garde à toi ! (Prends garde à toi !)
Si tu ne m'aimes pas,
Si tu ne m'aimes pas, je t'aime ! (Prends garde à toi !)
Mais si je t'aime, si je t'aime,
Prends garde à toi !

(L'amour est enfant de bohème,)
(Il n'a jamais, jamais connu de loi,)
(Si tu ne m'aimes pas, je t'aime,)
(Si je t'aime, prends garde à toi !) (Prends garde à toi !)

Si tu ne m'aimes pas,
Si tu ne m'aimes pas, je t'aime ! (Prends garde à toi !)
Mais si je t'aime, si je t'aime,
Prends garde à toi! (Ah, toi !)

L'oiseau que tu croyais surprendre
Battit de l'aile et s'envola,
L'amour est loin, tu peux l'attendre;
Tu ne l'attends plus, il est là !
Tout autour de toi, vite, vite,
Il vient, s'en va, puis il revient,
Tu crois le tenir, il t'évite,
Tu crois l'éviter, il te tient !

(Tout autour de toi, vite, vite,) L'amour !
(Il vient, s'en va, puis il revient,) L'amour !
(Tu crois le tenir, il t'évite,) L'amour !
(Tu crois l'éviter, il te tient !) L'amour !

L'amour est enfant de bohème,
Il n'a jamais, jamais connu de loi,
Si tu ne m'aimes pas, je t'aime,
Si je t'aime, prends garde à toi ! (Prends garde à toi !)
Si tu ne m'aimes pas,
Si tu ne m'aimes pas, je t'aime ! (Prends garde à toi !)
Mais si je t'aime, si je t'aime,
Prends garde à toi !

(L'amour est enfant de bohème,)
(Il n'a jamais, jamais connu de loi,)
(Si tu ne m'aimes pas, je t'aime,)
(Si je t'aime, prends garde à toi !) (Prends garde à toi !)

Si tu ne m'aimes pas,
Si tu ne m'aimes pas, je t'aime ! (Prends garde à toi !)
Mais si je t'aime, si je t'aime,
Prends garde à toi ! (Ah, toi !)

[recitative]
When will I love you?
Good Lord, I don't know,
Maybe never, maybe tomorrow...
But not today, that's for sure!

[sung]
Love is a rebellious bird
That none can tame,
And it is well in vain that one calls it,
If it suits it to refuse.
Nothing to be done, threat or prayer,
The one talks well, the other is silent,
And it's the other that I prefer,
He said nothing, but he pleases me.

(Love is a rebellious bird) Love!
(That none can tame,) Love!
(And it is well in vain that one calls it,) Love!
(Because it suits it to refuse.) Love!

Love is a gypsy child,
It has never, never known the law,
If you don't love me, I love you,
If I love you, be on your guard! (Be on your guard!)
If you don't love me,
If you don't love me, then I love you! (Be on your guard!)
But if I love you, if I love you,
Be on your guard!

(Love is a gypsy child,)
(It has never, never known the law,)
(If you don't love me, I love you,)
(If I love you, be on your guard!) (Be on your guard!)

If you don't love me,
If you don't love me, I love you! (Be on your guard!)
But if I love you, if I love you,
Be on your guard! (On guard!)

The bird you hoped to catch
Beat its wings and flew away,
Love is far, you can wait for it;
You no longer await it, there it is!
All around you, swift, swift,
It comes, goes, then it returns,
You think to hold it fast, it flees you,
You think to flee it, it holds you!

(All around you, swift,) Love!
(It comes, goes, then it returns,) Love!
(You think to hold it fast, it flees you,) Love!
(You think to flee it, it holds you!) Love!

Love is a gypsy child,
It has never, never known the law,
If you don't love me, then I love you,
If I love you, be on your guard! (Be on your guard!)
If you don't love me,
If you don't love me, then I love you! (Be on your guard!)
But if I love you, if I love you,
Be on your guard!

(Love is a gypsy child,)
(It has never, never known the law,)
(If you don't love me, then I love you,)
(If I love you, be on your guard!) (Be on your guard!)

If you don't love me,
If you don't love me, then I love you! (Be on your guard!)
But if I love you, if I love you,
Be on your guard! (On guard!)

NotesEdit

  1. ^ a b c Dean, Winton. Bizet. The Master Musicians, JM Dent & Sons, London, 1975, pp. 251 & 229-230.
  2. ^ Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 5th ed. 1954
  3. ^ Curtiss Mina, Bizet and His World. New York, Vienna House, 1958 p. 401.
  4. ^ Milnes, Rodney. Darkness and light in 'Carmen'. Glyndebourne Festival Opera 2002 programme book, p103.
  5. ^ Dean has a photograph of Bizet's manuscript words as plate 8 between 118 and 119 of the 1977 paperback edition of his book.
  6. ^ a b de Solliers, Jean. Commentaire litteraire et musical. In: Carmen, Bizet. L'Avant Scène Opéra, no 26. Paris, Editions Premières Loges, 1993, p23.
  7. ^ MacDonald, Hugh. Carmen. In: The New Grove Dictionary of Opera. Macmillan, London & New York, 1997.
  8. ^ a b Georges Bizet. Carmen. Opéra comique en quatre actes. Critical Edition edited by Robert Didion. Ernst Eulenberg Ltd, 1992, 2003 (No.5 Habanera, p99).
  9. ^ Dean Winton. The True 'Carmen'? (Review of : Carmen. Kritische Neuausgabe nach den Quellen von Fritz Oeser). The Musical Times, Vol. 106, No. 1473 (Nov 1965), pp. 846-855.

External linksEdit