Cheti Cheti Immantinente

The third act duet (Cheti, cheti, immantinente) from Donizetti’s Don Pasquale is one of the most enjoyable numbers in Italian opera buffa. Malatesta is pretending to help the ultra gullible Pasquale into trapping his new wife in a compromising  meeting with the tenor. The number ends with a mercuric blur of Italian symbols that defy comprehension, but which like bubbles from another Don’s confection (Perignon) delight those who partake of it. The performers’ goal is to set a new speed record every time the piece is performed. Here are a few versions of this bon-bon.

Mariano Stabile and Martin Lawrence recorded Cheti, Cheti, Immantinente in the twenties. Stabile was best known for his portrayal of Verdi’s Falstaff. Lawrence is unknown to me. They bring the proper flare to the duet. But I think the next two versions are even better.

Fernando Corena and Rolando Panerai chew up the set in a rousing performance. This recording is taken from a staged performance in 1972.  Cheti, cheti, immantinente. Corena was the best Don Pasquale I have yet encountered. I first saw him in the role at the Dress Rehearsal for the new production of the opera in December 1955. I then went to the prima which was also the debut of Thomas Shippers. This performance was the first time Corena had sung the role at the Met. In those days the Met considered the opera too short to be presented by itself, so it was preceded by a very forgettable ballet – Soirée. The ballet took its name from the orchestral suite, Soirees musicales, composed in 1936 by Benjamin Britten, after pieces and fragments by Rossini. The duet can’t be done any better than do Corena and Panerai. Corena even manages to roll his Rs despite almost breaking the sound barrier.

But Leo Nucci and Sesto Bruscantini do it just as well in a 1983 performance. Cheti, cheti, immantinente. Amazingly, Nucci is still singing major roles in major theaters 33 years later.

Next is a video of the duet taken from a 1979 film of the opera. The great Welsh bass-baritone Geraint Evans is Pasquale. Russell Smyth is Malatesta. The performance is a little slower than those above, but the inimitable Evans still bring panache to the duet. As YouTube videos have the permanence of the leaves of deciduous trees an audio file of the duet is below the video.

Cheti Cheti immantinente Evans and Smyth

Finally, here are Thomas Hampson and Luca Pisaroni in a 2014 concert performance of the duet. Cheti cheti immantinente. The duet was encored at all performance of Don Pasquale given this year at the Met. Needless to say, they don’t write ’em like this anymore. The words with an English translation are below.

 

PASQUALE PASQUALE
Cheti, cheti,Cheti,cheti, imantinete immantinente Quietly, quietly, right away
nel giardino discendiamo; we’ll go down into the garden;
prendo meco la mia gente, I’ll take my servants with me,
il boschetto circondiamo we’ll surround the grove
e la coppia sciagurata, and the wretched couple,
a un mio cenno imprigionata, captured at my signal,
senza perdere un momento without losing a moment,
conduciam dal podestà. we’ll bring them before the magistrate.
MALATESTA MALATESTA
Io direi . . . sentite un poco. I would say . . . listen for a bit.
Noi due soli andiam sul loco, Let us two go alone to the place,
nel boschetto ci appostiamo, we’ll station ourselves in the grove
ed a tempo ci mostriamo. and show ourselves at the right time.
E tra preghi e tra minaccie And between prayers and threats
d’avvertir l’autorità, to notify the authorities,
ci facciam dai due prometter we’ll make them both promise
che la cosa resti là. that the matter will end there.
PASQUALE PASQUALE
È sifatto scioglimento A resolution like that is
poca pena al tradimento. too little punishment for betrayal.
MALATESTA MALATESTA
Riflettete, è mia sorella. Reflect, she’s my sister.
PASQUALE PASQUALE
Vada fuor di casa mia, Let her get out of my house,
altri patti non vo’ far. I don’t want to make other agreements.
MALATESTA MALATESTA
È un affare delicatto; It’s a delicate matter;
vuol ben esser ponderato. it needs to be well pondered.
PASQUALE PASQUALE
Ponderate, esaminate, Ponder, examine,
ma in mia casa non la vo’, no, no. but I don’t want her in my house, no, no.
MALATESTA MALATESTA
Uno scandalo farete You’ll make a scandal
e vergogna poi ne avrete. and then you’ll have the shame of it.
PASQUALE PASQUALE
Non m’importa! I don’t care!
MALATESTA MALATESTA
Non conviene, non sta bene: It’s not fitting, it won’t do;
altro modo cercherò. I’ll look for another way.
PASQUALE PASQUALE
Non sta bene, non conviene . . . It won’t do, it’s not fitting . . .
ma lo schiaffo qui restò. but the slap landed here.
Io direi . . . I would say . . .
MALATESTA MALATESTA
L’ho trovata! I’ve found it!
PASQUALE PASQUALE
Benedetto! dite presto. Blessings upon you! Tell me quickly.
MALATESTA MALATESTA
Nel boschetto quatti quatti ci appostiamo, We will station ourselves softly, softly in the grove;
di là tutto udir possiamo. from there we’ll be able to hear everything.
S’è costante il tradimento, If the betrayal is certain,
la cacciate su due pie’. drive her out at once.
PASQUALE PASQUALE
Bravo, bravo, va benone, Bravo, bravo, that’s excellent,
son contento, son contento. I’m content.
PASQUALE PASQUALE
(Aspetta, aspetta, cara sposina: (Just wait, dear little wife:
la mia vendetta già s’avvicina: my vengeance already draws near;
già, già ti preme, già t’ha raggiunto, already it presses you, already it has caught up with you,
tutte in un punto l’hai da scontar. in a single moment you will have to pay for everything.
Vedrai se giovino raggiri e cabale, You’ll see if tricks and plots help you,
sorrisi teneri, sospiri e lagrime; tender smiles, sighs and tears;
or voglio prendere la mia rivincita, now I want to take my revenge,
sei nella trappola, v’hai da restar.) you’re in the trap, you’ll have to stay there.)
MALATESTA MALATESTA
(Il poverino sogna vendetta, (The poor man dreams of vengeance,
non sa il meschino quel che l’aspetta: but the wretch doesn’t know what awaits him:
invano freme, invan s’arrabia, in vain he rages, in vain he gets angry,
è chiuso in gabbia, non può scappar. he’s locked in the cage, he can’t escape.
Invano accumula progetti e calcoli, In vain he piles up plans and calculations,
non sa che fabbrica castelli in aria; he doesn’t know that he’s building castles in the air;
non vede, il semplice, che nella trappola he doesn’t see, the fool, that he’s about
da sè medesimo si va a gettar.) to throw his own self into the trap.)
MALATESTA MALATESTA
La cacciate su due pie’, e la tolgo via con me. Drive her out at once, and I’ll take her away with me.
Quatti, quatti (ecc.) Softly, softly (etc.)
PASQUALE PASQUALE
Va benone (ecc.) That’s excellent (etc.)