Donizetti’s great opera is often seen as a vehicle for the soprano who sings the title role. But the opera’s last scene, Act 3 scene 3, which follows the Mad Scene, is as challenging for the tenor as the previous one is for the soprano. (The scene is sometimes numbered 2 as the first scene is often omitted.) It requires the full range of the 19th century romantic tenor. Indeed, Edgardo is the prototype for all the great Italian tenor roles that followed. The role was first sung by Gilbert Duprez who was the model for the spinto tenor of the big tenor roles that were subsequently composed. Below are five accounts of this great music by four of the great singers of the past and one by a tenor still active. The Italian lyrics with an English translation are also below.

The first is from the famed 1955 Berlin performance of the opera under Herbert von Karajan’s direction featuring Maria Callas and Giuseppe Di Stefano. The latters piano singing in this scene sets a bar that has yet to be raised. Di Stefano Tombe degli avi miei…Tu che a Dio spiegasti l’ali

Richard Tucker sang Edgardo 24 times at the Met. He partnered Joan Sutherland in her Met debut as Lucia. By the time this 1966 performance was recorded Tucker had completed his transformation into a full voiced spinto tenor. His rendition is likely closest to Duprez’s singing of the part. Tucker Tombe degli avi miei…Tu che a Dio spiegasti l’ali

Nicolai Gedda could sing almost anything. Her had only six performances as Edgardo at the Met out of the 367 he gave with the New York company. His voice sounds a bit tired when he reaches the end of the scene. Gedda Tombe degli avi miei…Tu che a Dio spiegasti l’ali

Edgardo was one of Luciano Pavarotti’s most renowned roles, though he only sang it six time with the Met. This recording was made relatively early in his career and his sound is burnished and secure.  Pavarotti Tombe degli avi miei…Tu che a Dio spiegasti l’ali

Finally, here is the Polish tenor Piotr Beczala. Edgardo was the second role he sang at the Met. Of his 108, and counting, performances in New York 10 have been as Edgardo. Beczala Tombe degli avi miei…Tu che a Dio spiegasti l’ali

 

 

(Tombs of the Ravenswood family. It is night

 

EDGARDO
Tombs of my fathers,
last son of an unhappy race,
receive me, I implore you. My anger’s
brief fire is quenched…I will fall on
my foe’s sword. For me, life
is a horrible burden! The whole universe
is a desert for me without Lucia!
Yet the castle
gleams with torches…Ah, the night
was too short for the revels! Heartless jade!
While I pine away in hopeless tears,
you laugh and gloat
by your happy consort’s side!
You amid joys, I near to death!
Soon this neglected tomb
will give me refuge.
A compassionate tear
will not fall upon it…ah!
Alas, for wretched me not even
the solace of the dead.
You too, forget
that despised marble tombstone!
Never visit it, o cruel one,
by your husband’s side.
Ah, respect at least the ashes
of him who dies for you,
etc.
Never visit it,
forget it exists,
respect at least the one who died for you,
etc.

Oh, cruel one! Respect,
etc.

Scena 3

Il cimitero di Ravenswood
(Tombe dei Ravenswood. È notte.)

EDGARDO
Tombe degli avi miei, l’ultimo avanzo
d’una stirpe infelice,
deh, raccogliete voi. Cessò dell’ira
il breve foco…sul nemico acciaro
abbandonar mi vo’. Per me la vita
è orrendo peso! L’universo intero
è un deserto per me senza Lucia!
Di faci tuttavia
splende il castello…Ah, scarsa
fu la notte al tripudio! Ingrata donna!
Mentr’io mi struggo in disperato pianto,
tu ridi, esulti accanto
al felice consorte!
Tu delle gioie in seno, io della morte!
Fra poco a me ricovero
darà negletto avello.
Una pietosa lagrima
non scenderà su quello!..
Ah! Fin degli estinti, ahi misero,
manca il conforto a me.
Tu pur, tu pur dimentica
quel marmo dispregiato!
Mai non passarvi, o barbara,
del tuo consorte a lato.
Ah! rispetta almen le ceneri
di chi moria per te, rispetta,
ecc.
Mai non passarvi,
tu lo dimentica,
rispetta almeno chi muore per te,
ecc.

Oh, barbara! Rispetta,
ecc.

(A train of mourners comes from Lammermoor Castle.)

CHORUS
Oh, poor creature! Oh, horrible fate!
It is useless to hope, now!
She will never see the close
of this dawning day.

EDGARDO
Great heaven, tell me, tell, ah!

CHORUS
Oh poor creature!

EDGARDO
Whom do you mourn?
Answer, answer, for pity’s sake.

CHORUS
Lucia.

EDGARDO
Lucia, you said?

CHORUS
Poor creature…

EDGARDO
Come, tell me.

CHORUS
Yes, the poor girl is dying.

(Si avvicina una processione proveniente dal Castello di Lammermoor.)

CORO
Oh, meschina! Oh, fato orrendo!
Più sperar non giova omai!
Questo dì che sta sorgendo
tramontar più non vedrà.

EDGARDO
Giusto cielo, rispondete, rispondete! Ah!

CORO
Oh, meschina!

EDGARDO
Di chi mai, di chi piangete?
Rispondete, rispondete per pietà!

CORO
Di Lucia.

EDGARDO
Lucia diceste!

CORO
La meschina…

EDGARDO
Su, parlate.

CORO
Sì, la misera sen muore.

EDGARDO
Ah!CHORUS
The marriage was a tragic blow for her,
love robbed her of her reason.
She is near her last hour,
and moans and asks for you.EDGARDO
Ah, Lucia is dying! Lucia, ah!CHORUS
She will never see the close
of this dawning day!
love robbed her of her reason,
etc.EDGARDO
Will my Lucia never see
the close
of this dawning day?CHORUS
Love for you,
etc.EDGARDO
Ah!CHORUS
The death-knell is tolling already.EDGARDO
That sound pierces my heart!
My fate is sealed!
EDGARDO
Ah!CORO
Fur le nozze a lei funeste,
di ragion la trasse amore.
S’avvicina all’ore estreme,
e te chiede, per te geme.EDGARDO
Ah! Lucia muore! Lucia, ah!CORO
Questo dì che sta sorgendo
tramontar più non vedrà!
Di ragion la trasse amore,
ecc.EDGARDO
Questo dì che sta sorgendo
tramontar più non vedrà
la mia Lucia?CORO
Di ragion la trasse amore,
ecc.EDGARDO
Ah!CORO
Rimbomba già la squilla in suon di morte!EDGARDO
Quel suono in cor mi piomba!
È decisa la mia sorte!
CHORUS
Oh, God!EDGARDO
I must see her again.CHORUS
What madness, rash man,
ah, stay, ah, return to sanity!EDGARDO
See her again and then…(Raimondo enters.)RAIMONDO
Where are you hurrying, wretched man?
She is no longer on earth.EDGARDO
Lucia!RAIMONDO
Unhappy man!

EDGARDO
She is no longer on earth? Then she…

RAIMONDO
Is in Heaven.

EDGARDO
Lucia is no more!

CHORUS
Unhappy man! Unhappy man!

CORO
Oh, Dio!EDGARDO
Rivederla ancor vogl’io.CORO
Qual trasporto, sconsigliato,
ah, desisti, ah, riedi in te!EDGARDO
Rivederla e poscia…(Entra Raimondo.)RAIMONDO
Dove corri, sventurato?
Ella in terra più non è.EDGARDO
Lucia!RAIMONDO
Sventurato!

EDGARDO
In terra più non è? Ella dunque?

RAIMONDO
È in cielo!

EDGARDO
Lucia più non è!

CORO
Sventurato! Sventurato!

EDGARDO
You who spread your wings to Heaven,
o sweet loving heart,
look down on me serenely,
and let your true love soar up to join you.
Ah, though mortal’s fury
so cruelly assailed us,
though we were parted on earth,
may God unite us in Heaven,
O sweet, loving heart,
may God unite us,
etc.
(drawing his dagger)

I will follow you…RAIMONDO
Madman! Madman!RAIMONDO and CHORUS
Ah, what are you doing?EDGARDO
I want to die!RAIMONDO and CHORUS
Come to your senses.EDGARDO
No, no, no!

(He stabs himself.)

RAIMONDO and CHORUS
Ah!

RAIMONDO
What have you done?

EDGARDO
Tu che a Dio spiegasti l’ali,
o bell’alma innamorata,
ti rivolgi a me placata,
teco ascenda il tuo fedel.
Ah, se l’ira dei mortali
fece a noi sì cruda guerra,
se divisi fummo in terra,
ne congiunga il Nume in ciel,
o bell’alma innamorata,
ne congiunga il Nume,
ecc.
(Trae rapidamente un pugnale.)
Io ti seguo…RAIMONDO
Forsennato! Forsennato!RAIMONDO e CORO
Ah, che fai?EDGARDO
Morir voglio!RAIMONDO e CORO
Ritorna in te, ritorna.

EDGARDO
No, no, no!
(Si ferisce.)

RAIMONDO e CORO
Ah!

RAIMONDO
Che facesti?

EDGARDO
I come to you… o dear heart…RAIMONDO
Wretched man!EDGARDO
…look down, ah, on your true love.

RAIMONDO
Think of Heaven.

EDGARDO
Ah, if mortal’s fury…

MOURNERS
Oh, horror! oh, horror!

EDGARDO
…so cruel a war.
O dear heart, may we be united by God in Heaven,
o sweet loving heart,
etc.
May we be united by God in Heaven!

RAIMONDO
Oh God, forgive…
Think of Heaven…
God, forgive, such a horrible deed.

CHORUS
Oh terrible, oh black fate!
God, forgive such a horrible deed.
(All kneel. Edgardo dies.)

EDGARDO
A te vengo…oh bell’alma…RAIMONDO
Sciagurato!EDGARDO
…ti rivolgi, ah, il tuo fedel.

RAIMONDO
Pensa al ciel.

EDGARDO
Ah, se l’ira dei mortali…

CORO
Quale orror! Quale orror!

EDGARDO
…sì cruda guerra.
O bell’alma, ne congiunga il Nume in Ciel!
O bell’alma innamorata,
ecc.
Ne congiunga il Nume in Ciel!

RAIMONDO
Oh Dio, perdona…
Pensa al ciel…
Dio perdona tanto orror.

CORO
Oh tremendo, oh nero fato!
Dio, perdona tanto orror.
(Tuttisi inginocchiano. Edgardo spira.)