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Opera
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 1756 - 1791 AT 3*
Così fan tutte IT - 1790 3* - Opera buffa
Synopsis - Roles - Arias
Act 1 - Act 2
Original - UK - IT/UK - Print Version
Libretto

Act 1

Top Act 2

Scene 1

A coffee-house.
Ferrando, Guglielmo and Don Alfonso

Overture

N. 1 - Terzetto

Ferrando
My Dorabella couldn't
Do such a thing:
Heaven made her
As faithful as she's fair.

Guglielmo
My Fiordiligi simply
Couldn't betray me:
I believe her constancy
Equals her beauty.

Don Alfonso
My hair is already grey,
I speak with authority;
But let's have done
With argument.

Ferrando and Guglielmo
No, you've told us
They could be faithless;
If you're honest
You will prove it.

Don Alfonso
Let's not trouble with proof.

Ferrando and Guglielmo
No, no, we demand it:
Or out with your sword
And we'll break up this friendship,

setting their bands to their swords

Ferrando and Guglielmo

He strikes at my honour
Who allows his lips
To utter a word
Which does her wrong.

Don Alfonso
fra sé
O what folly
To try to discover
The wrong which will make us wretched
When we've found it!

Recitative

Ferrando and Guglielmo
Draw your sword!
Choose which of us you'd prefer.

Don Alfonso
calmly
I'm a peaceable man
And don't touch steel,
Except at table.

Ferrando
Either fight,
Or say at once
Why you suspect our sweethearts
Could possibly be untrue.

Don Alfonso
Sweet simplicity, how I love it!

Ferrando
A truce to your jests,
Or I swear, by heaven ...

Don Alfonso
And I swear by this world,
My friends, I'm not jesting;
I'd only like to know
What kind of creatures
Are these beauties of yours,
if they're flesh and blood and bone like us,
If they eat like us, and wear skirts,
If, in fact, they're goddesses or women ...

Ferrando and Guglielmo
They're women,
but the like of them ...

Don Alfonso
And in woman you expect
To find fidelity?
How I love such simplicity!

N. 2 - Trio

Don Alfonso
kidding
Woman's constancy
Is like the Arabian Phoenix;
Everyone swears it exists,
But no one knows where.

Ferrando
with fire
The phoenix is my Dorabella!

Guglielmo
The phoenix is my Fiordiligi!

Don Alfonso
It's neither one nor the other.
It never existed, and never will.






Recitative

Ferrando
Poets' nonsense!

Guglielmo
Old men's drivel!

Don Alfonso
Well then, listen,
But without flying into a rage:
What proof have you
That your loves are always true to you?
What makes you so sure
That their hearts are steadfast?

Ferrando
Long acquaintance...

Guglielmo
Their noble upbringing...

Ferrando
Their sublime thoughts...

Guglielmo
Kindred feelings...

Ferrando
Unselfishness...

Guglielmo
Steadfast characters...

Ferrando
Their promises...

Guglielmo
Their protests...

Ferrando
Their oaths...

Don Alfonso
Tears and sighs, caresses, swoons.
Excuse me if I laugh...

Ferrando
Confound you!
Stop taunting us!

Don Alfonso
Gently, gently;
what if I prove conclusively to you today
That they're just like the others?

Guglielmo
It couldn't be!

Ferrando
Impossible!

Don Alfonso
Shall we bet on it?

Ferrando
We're on!

Don Alfonso
A hundred sequins.

Guglielmo
A thousand, if you like.

Don Alfonso
My hand on it!

Ferrando
Both hands!

Don Alfonso
Swear not to give a sign, a whisper,
A hint of all this
To your Penelopes.

Ferrando
We swear.

Don Alfonso
On your honour as soldiers?

Guglielmo
On our honour as soldiers.

Don Alfonso
And you'll do
Everything I tell you to?

Ferrando
Everything!

Guglielmo
Even more!

Don Alfonso
Well done!

Ferrando and Guglielmo
And well done,
Dear Don Alfonso!

Ferrando
We'll make merry at your expense.

Guglielmo
to Ferrando
What shall we do with the hundred sequins?

N. 3 - Trio

Ferrando
I'll arrange a fine serenade
For my goddess.

Guglielmo
In honour of Venus
I will give a banquet.

Don Alfonso
Shall I be invited?

Ferrando and Guglielmo
Yes, you shall be there.

Ferrando, Guglielmo and Don Alfonso
And many a toast we'll offer
To the god of love!

exeunt

Scene 2

A garden by the seashore.
Fiordiligi and Dorabella are both gazing at miniatures hanging round their necks

N. 4 - Duet

Fiordiligi
Ah tell me sister,
If one could ever find
A nobler face,
A sweeter mouth.

Dorabella
Just look,
See what fire is in his eye,
If flames and darts
Do not seem to flash forth!

Fiordiligi
This is the face
Of a soldier and a lover.

Dorabella
This is a face
Both charming and alarming.

Fiordiligi
Io sono felice.

Dorabella
How happy I am!

Fiordiligi and Dorabella
If ever my heart
Changes its affection,
May love make me
Live in pain.

Recitative

Fiordiligi
This morning I feel in the mood
For some mischief: I've a fire,
A tingling in my veins.
If Guglielmo knew what pranks
I'll play on him when he comes!

Dorabella
To tell the truth,
I also feel something new
Stirring within me: I'd swear
That we're not far from the altar.

Fiordiligi
Give me your hand: I want to read it.
Well, there's a clear M; and here's a P!
That's it ? Marriage Prospects!

Dorabella
That suits me splendidly!

Fiordiligi
And I'll have no objections.

Dorabella
But why on earth do our lovers
Delay in coming?
It's six o'clock already.

Fiordiligi
There they are!

Scene 3

The afore-mentioned and Don Alfonso

Fiordiligi
No, it's not them:
It's their friend Don Alfonso.

Dorabella
Welcome,
Don Alfonso!

Don Alfonso
Your servant!

Fiordiligi
What is it? Why are you alone?
You shed a tear? Speak, for pity's sake:
What has happened? My lover ...

Dorabella
My dearest ...

Don Alfonso
O cruel fate!

N. 5 - Aria

Don Alfonso
I would speak, but my courage fails,
My lips stammer.
I cannot say the words,
Which stay locked inside me.

What will you do? What shall I?
O dire misfortune!
It could not be worse.
I grieve for you and for them!

Recitative

Fiordiligi
Mercy! For pity's sake,
Don Alfonso, do not torment us so.

Don Alfonso
You will need to summon
All your courage, my dears.

Dorabella
O heaven! What harm has befallen them?
What disaster?
Is my beloved killed?

Fiordiligi
Is mine dead?

Don Alfonso
No, not dead, but nearly as bad.

Dorabella
Wounded?

Don Alfonso
No.

Fiordiligi
Sick?

Don Alfonso
Not that either.

Fiordiligi
Well, what then?

Don Alfonso
The royal command has called them
To the battlefield.

Fiordiligi and Dorabella
Alas, what do I hear?

Fiordiligi
And they are going?

Don Alfonso
At once.

Dorabella
Is there no way of stopping them?

Don Alfonso
None.

Fiordiligi
Not a single farewell?

Don Alfonso
The poor fellows
Hadn't the courage to see you;
But if you wish it,
They are willing.

Dorabella
Where are they?

Don Alfonso
Come in, my friends!

Scene 4

Fiordiligi, Dorabella, Don Alfonso. Ferrando e Guglielmo. Ferrando and Guglielmo in travelling clothes

N. 6 - Quintet

Guglielmo
O Heaven, I feel my steps falter
In their progress towards you.

Ferrando
My trembling lips
Cannot utter the words.

Don Alfonso
In moments of the greatest stress
A hero calls up all his strength.

Fiordiligi and Dorabella
Now that we have heard the news,
One detail remains for you to do;
Be brave, and plunge your blade
Into this heart.

Ferrando and Guglielmo
My love, blame fate
If I must abandon you.

Dorabella
to Ferrando
No, no, do not go!

Fiordiligi
to Guglielmo
Cruel one, do not leave me!

Dorabella
I would sooner tear my heart out!

Fiordiligi
I would sooner die at your feet!

Ferrando
aside to Don Alfonso
What did I say?

Guglielmo
aside to Don Alfonso
Do you see now?

Don Alfonso
saside
Patience, friend;
We've not reached the end yet!

All
Thus destiny confounds
Our mortal hopes.
Ah who, amid such sorrow,
Can ever more delight in life?

Recitative

Guglielmo
Do not weep, my darling!

Ferrando
Do not despair,
My dearest love!

Don Alfonso
Leave them that comfort.
They have only too good
Cause to grieve.

They embrace tenderly.

Fiordiligi
Who knows if we shall ever meet again!

Dorabella
Who knows if you will ever return!

Fiordiligi
Leave me this dagger: may it
Bring me death if ever cruel fate
In that bosom dear to me ...

Dorabella
I should die of grief,
Even without a dagger.

Ferrando and Guglielmo
My love, do not make
Such gloomy predictions!
Heaven will assure your peace of mind
So long as I live.

N. 7 - Duet

Ferrando and Guglielmo












Don Alfonso
to himself
The comedy is delightful,
And both are playing their parts well.

A drum is heard

Ferrando
O heavens!
That is the fatal drum that comes
To tear me from my treasure!

Don Alfonso
Friends, here is the boat.

Fiordiligi
I'm fainting!

Dorabella
I'm dying!

Scene 5

Fiordiligi, Dorabella, Don Alfonso, Ferrando, Guglielmo, soldiers and common people.
A boat arrives at the shore. During the following march, a troop of soldiers enters accompanied by townsmen and women.

N. 8 - Chorus

Soldiers and People
A soldier's life for me!
Every day a change of scene;
Plenty today, little tomorrow,
Now on land and now on sea.

The sound of trumpets and fifes,
The din of guns and shells
Lend strength to our arms and our spirits,
Longing only for victory.
A soldier's life for me!

Recitative

Don Alfonso
There's no more time, friends:
You must go where both
Fate and duty call you.

Fiordiligi
My love...

Dorabella
My idol...

Ferrando
My dearest...

Guglielmo
My life...

Fiordiligi
Ah, for just a moment...

Don Alfonso
Your regiment's ship
Has already left;
You'll have to join it
With a few friends who await you
On a smaller boat.

Ferrando and Guglielmo
Embrace me, my love!

Fiordiligi and Dorabella
My heart is breaking!

N. 9 - Quintet

Fiordiligi
weeping
Swear that you'll write me
Every day, my love!

Dorabella
weeping
Write me twice as often
If you can.

Ferrando
Never doubt me, my dear!

Guglielmo
Rest assured, my love!

Don Alfonso
to himself
I'll burst if I don't laugh!

Fiordiligi
Be true to me alone...

Dorabella
Remain faithful!

Ferrando
Farewell!

Guglielmo
Farewell!

Fiordiligi and Dorabella
Farewell!

Fiordiligi, Dorabella, Ferrando and Guglielmo
My heart is rent in twain, my love.
Farewell! Farewell! Farewell!

Soldiers and People
A soldier's life for me!


During the repetition of the chorus, Ferrando and Guglielmo board the boat which then sails away. The soldiers march off, followed by the people.

Scene 6

Fiordiligi, Dorabella and Don Alfonso.

Recitative

Dorabella

Where are they?

Don Alfonso
They've gone.

Fiordiligi
O most cruel,
Bitter parting!

Don Alfonso
Have courage,
Dearest ladies;

Look; in the distance
Your lovers are waving.

Fiordiligi

God speed you, my love!

Dorabella

God speed you!

Fiordiligi
O heavens! How swiftly their boat
Disappears! It's gone already!
It's out of sight! Heaven grant it
A safe voyage!

Dorabella
May Heaven protect them too
On the field of battle!

Don Alfonso
Preserve your lovers
And my friends.

N. 10 - Trio

Fiordiligi, Dorabella and Don Alfonso
Gentle be the breeze,
Calm be the waves,
And every element
Smile in favour
On their wish.

Exeunt Fiordiligi and Dorabella

Scene 7

Don Alfonso solo

Recitative

Don Alfonso
I'm not a bad actor! Now then;
The two champions
Of Venus and Mars
Await me at the appointed place;
I must join them without delay.
What grimaces, what affectations!
All the better for me,
They'll fall more easily;
People of that kind are the first
To change their minds. Poor fools,
To wager a hundred sequins on a woman!
"He who builds his hopes
On a woman's heart
Ploughs the sea
And sows on sand
And hopes to snare
The wild wind in a net".

Scene 8

A room with various chairs, a table, etc. Three doors: two at the sides, one centre.
Despine alone

Recitative

Despina
who is whipping the chocolate
What a wretched life
A lady's maid leads!
From morning till night working,
Sweating and toiling, and after all
One's done there's nothing for oneself!
I've been beating this for half an hour,
And now the chocolate's ready; yet though my tongue's
Hanging out, must I just stand and smell it?
Aren't my tastes just like yours?
O dearest ladies,
You have the substance
And I only the smell!
Damnit, I'm going to try it.
She tastes it
Delicious!
She wipes her mouth
Someone's coming!
Goodness, it's my ladies!

Scene 9

Despina, Fiordiligi and Dorabella, who enter distractedly.

Recitative

Despina
Despina offers the chocolate on a tray
Here's your breakfast, ladies.
Dorabella flings it all to the ground
Jiminy! What are you doing?

Fiordiligi
Ah!

Dorabella
Ah! ah!

Both stripping off all their ornaments.

Despina
What's happened?

Fiordiligi
Where is a dagger?

Dorabella
Where is the poison?

Despina
Ladies, I beg you!

Dorabella
Ah leave me! Flee the dread effect
Of a distracted love!
Close those windows; I hate the light,
I hate the air I breathe, I hate myself.
Who mocks at my grief? Who consoles me?
Ah fly; leave me alone, for pity's sake!

N. 11 - Aria

Dorabella
Implacable pangs
Which torment me,
Do not subside
Within my being
Until my anguish
Brings me death.

If I remain alive
I will furnish the Furies
With a wretched example
Of tragic love
With the dreadful sound
Of my sighs.

Recitative

Despina
My lady Dorabella,
My lady Fiordiligi,
Tell me: what has happened?

Dorabella
O dreadful disaster!

Despina
Get on with it!

Fiordiligi
Our lovers
Have left Naples.

Despina
laughing
Is that all?
They'll be back.

Dorabella
Who knows!

Despina

What do you mean, who knows?
Where have they gone?

Dorabella
To the field of battle!

Despina
So much the better for them:
You'll see them return crowned with laurel.

Fiordiligi
But they might be killed!

Despina
Why then,
So much the better for you.

Fiordiligi
rises angrily
Fool, what are you saying?

Despina
The simple truth: you lose these two
But all the rest are left.

Fiordiligi
Ah, without Guglielmo,
I think I'd die!

Dorabella
Ah, without Ferrando
I think I'd bury myself alive!

Despina
Splendid! That's what you think, but you wouldn't;
No woman yet has ever died for love.
Die for a man? There's lots more
Where he came from.

Dorabella
And do you believe anyone could love
Another man who once had had
A Guglielmo, a Ferrando for lover?

Despina
The others have everything
That these have.
You love this man now;
So you'd love another:
One's as good as the other
Since neither's worth a thing.
But we won't go into that;
They're still alive
And will come back alive;
But they're far away,
And rather than
Waste time in idle tears,
Think about enjoying yourselves.

Fiordiligi

Enjoying ourselves?

Despina
Certainly! And what's more,
Making love furiously, as your
Dear gentlemen will be doing on active service!

Dorabella
Don't insult those pure souls like this,
Those models of fidelity and perfect love.

Despina
Go on with you! The times are past
For spinning such tales even to babies!

N. 12 - Aria

Despina
You look for fidelity
In men, in soldiers?
laughing
Don't tell me that, for pity's sake!

All of them
Are made of the same stuff;
The quivering leaves,
The inconstant breezes
Have more stability
Than men.

Crocodile tears,
Lying looks,
Deceiving words,
False endearments
Are the basis
Of their tricks.

In us they only prize
Their own pleasure;
Then they despise us,
Deny us affection,
And from such tyrants
There's no mercy to be had.

We woman should pay out
This hurtful,
Impudent breed
In their own coin;
Let's love them
To suit our convenience and our vanity!
La ra la, la ra la, la ra la, la.

All go out.

Scene 10

Don Alfonso, later Despina

Recitative

Don Alfonso
How silent! What an air of sorrow
These rooms wear! Poor dears!
It's not really their fault;
They need consolation;
Until their two credulous lovers
Appear disguised,
As I instructed them,
Let's see what can be done.
I'm a bit worried about Despina;
That little baggage might recognise them;
She could upset the apple?cart.
Let's see ? now's the time,
If ever, to grease her palm;
A tip works wonders with a ladies' maid.
But to be certain, it might be best
To let her into a part of the secret.
That's a splendid idea!
Here's her room.
he knocks
Despina dear!

Despina
Who's that?

Don Alfonso
Oh!

Despina
Ih!
She comes out

Don Alfonso
Despina my dear,
I have need of you.

Despina
Well, I haven't of you.

Don Alfonso
I mean you well.

Despina
An old man like you
Can do nothing for a girl.

Don Alfonso
showing her a gold coin
Drop your voice and look here!

Despina
Are you giving me it?

Don Alfonso
Yes, if you'll do what I ask.

Despina
And what do you want?
Gold is my undoing.

Don Alfonso
And you shall have it
If I can trust you.

Despina
Is that all? I'm ready.

Don Alfonso
Take it, then; now listen.
You know your mistresses
Have lost their lovers.

Despina
I know.

Don Alfonso
And you know
Of all their weeping and wailing.

Despina
I know it all.

Don Alfonso
All right:
If, to console them
A little and, as they say,
To replace like with like,
You were to find a way
Of bringing to their favour
Two presentable fellows
Who are anxious to try ...
You take my meaning ...
There's another, twenty scudi for you
If you bring it off.

Despina
I've nothing against this proposition.
But with those sillies ...
Well, listen: These suitors of yours,
Are they young? Are they handsome?
And, above all,
Have they plenty of money?

Don Alfonso
They have everything
Which could please ladies of taste.
Do you want to see them?

Despina
Where are they?

Don Alfonso
Just here:
Shall I call them in?

Despina
That's all right with me.

Don Alfonso brings in the lovers, who are disguised

Scene 11

Don Alfonso, Despina, Ferrando and Guglielmo; later Fiordiligi and Dorabella

N. 13 - Sextet

Don Alfonso
I present you, my friends,
To pretty Miss Despina;
The consolation of your heart
Lies in her hands alone.

Ferrando and Guglielmo
By those hands, which with joy I kiss,
By that smile so full of charm,
Make my treasure turn on me
Her clear and lovely eyes.

Despina
laughing, to herself
What sights! What clothes!
What faces! What moustaches!
I wonder what they are...
Wallachians or Turks.

Don Alfonso
aside, to Despina
What do you think of their appearance?

Despina
to Don Alfonso
To be quite frank,
They're exceptional in their ugliness,
Enough to make one renounce love.

Ferrando, Guglielmo and Don Alfonso

Now the plan is quite decided;
If she doesn't recognise us,
There's no more need to fear.

Despina





Fiordiligi e Dorabella
from within
Oh Despina! Despina!

Despina
The ladies!

Don Alfonso
to Despina
Now's the moment!
Use your wits: I'll hide in here.
He hides

Fiordiligi and Dorabella
coming out of their rooms
Impudent baggage!
What are you doing with those people?
Turn them out at once,
Or you'll be as sorry for it as they.

Despina, Ferrando and Guglielmo
All three kneel
Ah, ladies, pardon!
See at your lovely feet
Two wretches languishing,
Tortured with love by your beauty.

Fiordiligi and Dorabella
Great heavens! What do I hear?
Who was the shameless instigator
Of this vile betrayal?

Despina, Ferrando and Guglielmo
Pray calm your indignation!

Fiordiligi and Dorabella
I can contain myself no more!
My heart within my breast
Is filled with outrage
And with fear!

Despina and Don Alfonso
aside
I'm a bit suspicious
Of this rage and fury!

Ferrando and Guglielmo
aside
What balm to this heart
Is all this rage and fury!

Fiordiligi and Dorabella
aside
Forgive me, beloved;
This heart of mine is innocent.

Recitative

Don Alfonso
from the doorway
What a commotion! What a din!
Whatever's this confusion? My dear ladies,
Have you taken leave of your senses?
Do you want to rouse the neighbourhood?
What's the matter? What is it?

Dorabella
angrily
Heavens! See:
Men in our house!

Don Alfonso
not looking at them
What's wrong with that?

Fiordiligi
with spirit
What's wrong? On this day,
After our tragic loss?

Don Alfonso
Gracious! Am I awake or dreaming?
My friends, my dearest friends!
You here? What? Why?
When? How?
Ye gods! I'm delighted!

Play up to me.

Ferrando
Our friend Don Alfonso!

Guglielmo
Our dear friend!

They embrace eagerly

Don Alfonso
What a pleasant surprise!

Despina
to Don Alfonso
Do you know them?

Don Alfonso
Know them?
They are the dearest friends
I have in this world,
And will be yours too.

Fiordiligi
But what are they doing in my house?

Guglielmo
Here at your feet, ladies, are
Two miscreants, two culprits!
It was love ...

Dorabella
Ye gods, what do I hear?

Ferrando
It was love, that powerful god,
Who drew us here in search of you.



Guglielmo
No sooner having glimpsed
The light of your dazzling eyes ...

Ferrando
...than at their bright sparks...

Guglielmo
...like moths tormented by desire...

Ferrando
...we flew before you...

Guglielmo
...and round you and behind you...

Ferrando and Guglielmo
... to implore your pity in plaintive accents.

Fiordiligi
Heavens, what presumption!

Dorabella
Sister, what shall we do?

Fiordiligi
Begone, bold creatures! Leave this house!
Despina goes out, in a fright.
And with the unwelcome breath of base words
Do not profane our hearts,
Our ears and our affections!
In vain do you, or others, seek to seduce
Our souls; the unsullied faith which
We plighted to our dear loves
We shall know bow to preserve for them
Until death, despite the world and fate.

N. 14 - Aria

Fiordiligi
Like a rock standing impervious
To winds and tempest,
So stands my heart ever strong
In faith and love.

Between us we have kindled
A flame which warms, and consoles us,
And death alone could
Change my heart's devotion.

Respect this example
Of constancy, you abject creatures,
And do not let a base hope
Make you so rash again!

The ladies make to go. Ferrando detains one, Guglielmo the other.

Recitative

Ferrando
a Fiordiligi
Ah, do not go!

Guglielmo
to Dorabella
Cruel one, stay!
to Don Alfonso
What do you say now?

Don Alfonso

Just wait.

In charity to me, my dears,
Don't put me more out of countenance.

Dorabella
angrily
And what do you expect?

Don Alfonso
Oh, nothing! But it seems to me ...
That a scrap of courtesy ...
After all, they are gentlemen
And they are friends of mine,

Fiordiligi
So! And I should listen ... ?

Guglielmo
To our sufferings
And take pity on them!
The heavenly beauty of your eyes
Opened a wound in ours
That the salve of love
Alone can cure.
Open your heart for a moment
To its sweet words, my beauties;
You'll see before you the most faithful of lovers.

N. 15 - Aria

Guglielmo
Be not wayward,
Dear beguiling eyes;
Let two loving lightning flashes
Strike for a moment here.

Make us happy,
And love with us;
And we will make you in return
The happiest of women.

Look at us, touch us,
Take stock of us:
We're crazy but we're charming,
We're strong and well made,
And as anyone can see,
Whether by merit or by chance,
We've good feet,
Good eyes, good noses.

Look, good feet; note, good eyes;
Touch, good noses; take stock of us;

And these moustaches
Could be called
Manly triumphs,
The plumage of love.

Fiordiligi and Dorabella exeunt.

Scene 12

Ferrando, Guglielmo and Don Alfonso

N. 16 - Trio

Don Alfonso
So you're laughing?

Ferrando and Guglielmo
Of course we're laughing.

Don Alfonso
But what's the matter?

Ferrando and Guglielmo
Oh, we know.

Don Alfonso
Don't laugh so loudly!

Ferrando and Guglielmo
You can save your breath.

Don Alfonso
If they heard you,
If they found you out,
The whole thing
Would be ruined.

Ferrando and Guglielmo

How can I
Keep from laughing ...
I feel as though
I'm going to burst!

Don Alfonso

Their laughter
Makes me laugh too
though I know
It's bound to end in tears.

Recitative

Don Alfonso
And may I ask to know
The reason for this laughter?

Guglielmo
Oh what a face!
Don't you think, my dear sir,
That we have good cause?

Ferrando
mockingly
How much will you pay,
And we'll drop our wager?

Guglielmo
mockingly
Pay half.

Ferrando

Well let you off with
Twentyfour sequins.

Don Alfonso
Poor little innocents!
Come here; I'll give you
My little finger to suck on.

Guglielmo
And you still have
The courage to go on?

Don Alfonso
Before evening
We'll talk of this.

Ferrando
Whenever you like.

Don Alfonso
Meanwhile
Silence and obedience.
Until tomorrow morning.

Guglielmo
We are soldiers
And accept discipline.

Don Alfonso
Very well: both of you go
And wait for me in the garden:
There I'll give you your orders.

Guglielmo
But don't we eat today?

Ferrando
What's it matter?
When the battle's over
Our supper will taste the better.

N. 17 - Aria

Ferrando
A breath of love
From our treasures
Will afford our hearts
Sweet sustenance.

A heart nourished
On the hope of love
Has no need
Of greater inducement.

Exeunt Ferrando and Guglielmo

Scene 13

Don Alfonso, later Despina

Recitative

Don Alfonso
It's quite absurd! There are
So few constant women in this world,
And here are two of them!
It can't be.
Enter Despina
Come here, diild, and tell me
Where your mistresses are and what they're doing.

Despina
The poor fools
Are standing in the garden
Bewailing the loss of their lovers
To the breezes and the mosquitos.

Don Alfonso
And how do you think
This will end?
Can we hope
They'll come to their senses?

Despina
Well, I would;
Where they weep, I'd laugh.
To choke with despair
Because a lover goes away!
Have you ever seen such folly!
If one goes, take two others.

Don Alfonso
Well said! that's sense.
to himself
I'd better compliment her.

Despina
It's a law of nature, and not
Merely sense.
What is love?
Pleasure, convenience, taste,
Enjoyment, amusement,
Pastime, fun, it's no longer love
If it becomes a burden and
Instead of pleasure brings pain and torment.

Don Alfonso
But meanwhile our sillies ...

Despina
They'll do
What we say.
It's good that they should know
They're loved by them.

Don Alfonso
They know it.

Despina
Then they'll readmit them,
They'll spin the usual tale,
And devil take the hindmost!

Don Alfonso
But how can you bring them back
Now they've gone, and make
These tiger?cats of yours
Listen to them again
And let themselves be tempted?

Despina
Leave me the bother
Of running the show.
When Despina runs something
It can't fail: I've already led
A thousand men by the nose:
I should know how to manage two women.
Are your two whiskered monsieurs rich?

Don Alfonso
Rolling in it.

Despina
Where are they?

Don Alfonso
In the street,
Waiting for me.

Despina
Then off you go
And bring them to me here
By the little door;
I'll wait for you in my room.
If you'll do all I tell you,
Before tomorrow your friends
Will win the day: they'll have their way,
And I'll have the glory.
Exeunt

Scene 14

A pretty garden. Two grassy banks at the sides.

N. 18 - Finale

Fiordiligi and Dorabella


Ah, how my lot has changed
All in a moment!

Ah, what a sea of torment
Is life henceforth for me!
So long as the cruel stars
Left my dear one with me,



I knew not what grief was,
I knew not what it was to pine.

Scene 15

Fiordiligi and Dorabella; Ferrando, Guglielmo and Don Alfonso; later Despina

Ferrando and Guglielmo
off stage
Let us die, yes, let us die
And thus melt their hard hearts.

Don Alfonso
off stage
There is yet a hope:
I beg you, do not do it!

Fiordiligi and Dorabella
Goodness, what terrible cries!

Ferrando and Guglielmo

Let me be!

Don Alfonso
come sopra
Wait!
Ferrando and Gugliemo, each carrying a phial, enter followed by Don Alfonso.

Ferrando and Guglielmo
May arsenic set me free
From such cruelty!
They drink and throw down the containers; the two women turn and see them.
Fiordiligi and Dorabella
Heavens, was that poison?

Don Alfonso
Poison good and proper,
That in a few moments
Will deprive them of their lives!

Fiordiligi and Dorabella
The tragic sight
Turns my heart to ice.

Ferrando and Guglielmo
Draw near, cruel ones;
See the dire effect
Of despairing love
And at least pity us.

Fiordiligi and Dorabella



Ferrando and Guglielmo
May the sun's rays
Be darkened for me!

Don Alfonso, Fiordiligi and Dorabella
The very fibres of my being failing,
And my tongue and lips
Cannot form a word.
Ferrando and Guglielmo fall on the grassy banks.

Don Alfonso
Since these unfortunates
Are near to death,
At least try to show them
A little pity.

Fiordiligi and Dorabella
Help, someone, come quickly
O Heaven, can no one hear!
Despina!

Despina
off stage
Did someone call?

Fiordiligi and Dorabella
Despina!

Despina
entering
What do I see?
I fear the poor things are dead,
Or very near to dying!

Don Alfonso
Alas, only too true!
Distraught, despairing,
They have taken poison!
Oh strange love!

Despina
It would be shameful of you
To forsake these unhappy wretches.
You must aid them.

Fiordiligi, Dorabella and Don Alfonso
Whatever can we do?

Despina
They still show signs of life;
Give them a little comfort
From your kindly hands.
to Don Alfonso
You hurry away with me
And we'll seek
A doctor and an antidote.
Despina and Don Alfonso exeunt

Fiordiligi and Dorabella
What a tribulation!
No more dreadful situation
Could ever be imagined!

Ferrando and Guglielmo
aside
No more farcical comedy
Could ever be imagined!

Ah!

Fiordiligi and Dorabella
standing away from the men
The poor dears are sighing!

Fiordiligi
What shall we do?

Dorabella
You suggest something.

Fiordiligi
At a moment so painful
Who could forsake them?

Dorabella
approaching a little
Their faces are quite interesting!

Fiordiligi
approaching a little
We could go a little further.

Dorabella
His head is very cold.

Fiordiligi
This one's cold as ice.

Dorabella
And his pulse?

Fiordiligi
I can't feel it.

Dorabella
This one's beating very slowly.

Fiordiligi and Dorabella
Oh, if help is long in coming,
There'll be no more hope of life!

Ferrando and Guglielmo
softly
Both have become
Calmer and more gentle;
We shall see if their pity
Will turn into love.

Fiordiligi and Dorabella
Poor dears! Their death
Would fill me with grief.

Scene 16

Fiordiligi, Dorabella, Ferrando, Guglielmo; Despina disguised as a doctor and Don Alfonso

Don Alfonso
Here's the doctor,
Gentle ladies!

Ferrando and Guglielmo
aside
Despina dressed up!
How heavily she's disguised!

Despina
Salvete, amabiles
Buonae puellae!

Fiordiligi and Dorabella
He speaks a language
We do not understand.

Despina
Let's speak, then,
As you command me.
I know Greek and Arabic,
Turkish and the Vandal tongue;
And I can speak
Swabian and Tartar too.

Don Alfonso
Keep all these languages
For yourself, sir;
For the moment,
Look at these poor fellows;
They've taken poison;
What can be done?

Fiordiligi and Dorabella
Yes, doctor,
What can be done?

Despina
feeling the pulse and forehead of each
First I must know
The nature of this potion
And the reason it was taken;
Whether it was swallowed
Hot or cold,
A little or much,
In one draught
Or in several.

Fiordiligi, Dorabella and Don Alfonso
They took arsenic,
Good doctor,
And drank it here.
The cause was love
And they swallowed it
In a single gulp.

Despina
Don't worry,
Don't be afraid;
Here is an earnest
Of my skill.

Fiordiligi and Dorabella
He's taken a piece
Of iron in his hand.

Despina
She touches the heads of the feigned invalids with the magnet and gently draws it the length of their bodies.
This is
A piece of magnet,
The stone which the great
Doctor Mesmer discovered
In Germany
And then became
So famous in France.

Fiordiligi, Dorabella and Don Alfonso
Look, they're moving,
Twisting, shaking!
They'll hit their heads
On the ground in a moment.

Despina
Ah, hold their foreheads
Steady, will you?

Fiordiligi and Dorabella
We're standing ready!


Despina
Hold tight!
Courage! Now they
Are safe from death.

Fiordiligi, Dorabella and Don Alfonso
They're looking round
And recovering their strength.
Ah, this doctor's
Worth all the gold in Peru!

Ferrando and Guglielmo
rising to their feet
Where am I? What place is this?
Who is he? Who are they?
Am I before Jove's throne?
Ferrando to Fiordiligi and Guglielmo to Dorabella
Are you Pallas or Cytherea?
No, you are my fair goddess!
I recognise you by that sweet face,
And by that hand I now know so well;
It is my only treasure.
They embrace the girls tenderly and kiss their hands

Despina and Don Alfonso
It's the effect of the poison still;
Don't be afraid.

Fiordiligi and Dorabella
That may be so, but such liberties
Do violence to our reputation.

Ferrando and Guglielmo

I beg you,
My adored one,

Turn your lovely eyes on me.

Fiordiligi and Dorabella
I can resist no longer!

Ferrando and Guglielmo



Despina and Don Alfonso
Very soon now you'll see,
By virtue of magnetism's power,
The end of this paroxysm,
And they'll be as they were before.

Ferrando e Guglielmo
aside
My lungs are bursting
With the need to laugh.
aloud
Give me a kiss, my treasure,
One single kiss, or else I die.

Fiordiligi and Dorabella
Heavens, a kiss?

Despina
Agree,
As an act of kindness!

Fiordiligi and Dorabella
This is too much to ask
Of a chaste and faithful woman!
It's an outrage to my love,
It's an outrage to my heart!

Despina, Ferrando, Guglielmo and Don Alfonso
aside
A more amusing picture
Can't be found in all the world;
That which makes me laugh the most
Is their rage and fury.

Fiordiligi and Dorabella
Despairing or poisoned,
Go to the devil,
The lot of you,
Truly you'll repent too late
If you anger me more!

Despina and Don Alfonso
aside
I don't know if their rage
And fury are feigned or real,
But wouldn't wish this fire
To end in the fire of love.
I know full well this fire
Will change to that of love..
Ferrando and Guglielmo
aside
I don't know if their rage
And fury are feigned or real,
But wouldn't wish this fire
To end in the fire of love.
I know full well this fire
Will change to that of love..

Act 2

Top Act 1

Scene 1

A room.
Fiordiligi, Dorabella and Despina.

Recitative

Despina
Upon my word, you're
The strangest pair of creatures!

Fiordiligi
You jade!
What are your after?

Despina
For me, nothing.

Fiordiligi
For whom, then?

Despina
For you.

Dorabella
For us?

Despina
For you:
Are you women or not?

Fiordiligi
What do you mean?

Despina
I mean,
You should act like women, then.

Dorabella
And how is that?

Despina
Treat love lightly.
Never neglect an opportunity;
Change at the right moment,
Sometimes be constant,
Flirt with charm,
Foresee the misfortune so common
To those who trust in men,
Have your cake and eat it too.

Fiordiligi

You minx!
to Despina
That's what
You'd do if you had the chance.

Despina
That's what I do now.
But I wish that you too
Would do the same
For the glory of the fair sex;
For example, your gallants
Have gone off to the wars: till they return,
Act like the army: go recruiting!

Dorabella
Heaven protect us!

Despina
Oh, we're on earth and not in heaven!
Trust in my zeal.
Since these strangers adore you,
Let them do so. They're rich, handsome,
Well?born, generous, as Don Alfonso
Guaranteed you; they had the courage
To die for you; these are virtues
Not to be despised by ladies
Such as you, of beauty and fashion,
Who can do without love but not without lovers.
to herself
I think they're coming round.

Fiordiligi
Indeed, you'd have us
Acting very strangely.
Do you think we want to be
The talk of all the gossips?
Do you think we want to cause
Such anguish to our loved ones?

Despina
And who says
You'd he doing them any harm?



Dorabella
Don't you consider
It would be harm enough
If word got round
That we were entertaining them?

Despina
As for that, there's
A perfectly safe method;
I'll spread it abroad
That they're after me.

Dorabella
Who'd believe that?

Despina
Oh thank you! Hasn't a maid
The right to have a couple of followers?
You can trust in me.

Fiordiligi
No, no; these strangers of yours
Are too bold.
Didn't they even go so far
As to ask for kisses?

Despina
to herself
How shocking!
aloud
I can assure you
That all the things they did
Were the fault of the poison which they took:
Convulsions, deliriums,
Delusions, ravings:
But now you'll see how mild they are,
Well?behaved, modest and gentle.
Let them come back.

Dorabella
And then?

Despina
And then?
Bless us, get on with it.
to herself
I said they'd fall!

Fiordiligi
What should we do?

Despina
Whatever you want.
Are you flesh and blood,
Or what?

N. 19 - Aria

Despina
At fifteen a woman
Should know the ways of the world,
Where the devil keeps his tail,
What's right and what is wrong.

She should know the wiles
That ensnare lovers,
How to feign laughter or tears
And to make up good excuses.

At one and the same moment
She must listen to a hundred
But speak with her eyes
To a thousand,
Hold out hope to all,
Be they handsome or plain,
Know how to hide things
Without getting flustered,
Know how to tell lies
Without ever blushing.
And, like a queen
On her lofty throne,
Get her own way
With „I can“ and „I will“
aside
It seems they're taking
To this doctrine;
Hooray for Despina,
She knows how to do it.
exit

Scene 2

Fiordiligi and Dorabella

Recitative

Fiordiligi
Sister, what do you say?

Dorabella
I'm dumbfounded
At the fiendish ideas of that girl.

Fiordiligi
Believe me, she's crazy.
Do you think we could possibly
Follow her counsel?

Dorabella
Of course, if you stood everything
Upside down.

Fiordiligi
On the contrary, I'm standing things
The right way up:
Don't you think it wrong
For two young women who are betrothed
To do such things?

Dorabella
She's not saying
We should do any harm.

Fiordiligi
It' bad enough
Getting ourselves talked about!

Dorabella
But if it's said
They've come to see Despina!

Fiordiligi
Your conscience
Is too elastic!
What will our menfolk say?

Dorabella
Nothing;Either they'll not know about it
And it's over and done with,
Or they'll hear something,
And then we'll say
They came to see her.

Fiordiligi
But our hearts?

Dorabella
Will stay as they are;
To amuse ourselves a little
And not to die of boredom
Is not to be false,
My dear sister.

Fiordiligi
That's true.

Dorabella
So?

Fiordiligi
So you go ahead:
But I don't want to be involved
If there should be a scandal.

Dorabella
How can there be a scandal
When we're taking such precautions?
However, listen, let's come to an agreement:
Which of these two Narcissi do you fancy for yourself?

Fiordiligi
You choose, sister.

Dorabella
I've already chosen.

N. 20 - Duet

Dorabella
I'll take the dark one,
Who seems to me more fun.

Fiordiligi
And meantime I'll laugh
And joke a bit with the fair one.

Dorabella
Playfully I'll answer
His sweet words.

Fiordiligi
Sighing, I'll imitate
The other's sighs.

Dorabella
He'll say to me:
My love, I'm dying!

Fiordiligi
He'll say to me:
My dearest treasure!

Fiordiligi and Dorabella
And meanwhile
What sport and pleasure
I shall have!

Scene 3

Fiordiligi, Dorabella and Don Alfonso

Recitative

Don Alfonso
Come, make haste to the garden,
Dear young ladies!
What fun! What music! Such singing!
What a brilliant sight!
What magic! Come along, quickly!

Dorabella
Whatever's going on?

Don Alfonso
You'll soon see.

Scene 4

A garden by the seashore, with garden seats and two small stone tables. At the landing stage is a barge decorated with flowers. Ferrando and Guglielmo in the barge, with singers and musicians; Despina in the garden; Fiordiligi and Dorabella, accompanied by Don Alfonso, come in from one side. Richly attired servants, etc.

N. 21 - Duet (with Chorus)

Ferrando and Guglielmo
Ye friendly breezes,
Help, o help my desires
And carry my sighs
To the goddess of my heart.

Repeat, you who at thousand times
Have heard the tenor of my griefs,
All that you have heard
To my beloved.

Coro
Ye friendly breezes,
Help the longings of their dear hearts.



Recitative

Don Alfonso
to the servants carrying baskets of flowers
Set all those down
On these tables, my lads,
And then return to the barge.

Fiordiligi and Dorabella
What is this masquerade?

Despina

Come now, courage!
Have you lost your tongues?

The barge leaves the shore.

Ferrando
I tremble and quake
From head to foot.

Guglielmo
Love binds the limbs of a true lover.

Don Alfonso

Give them a word of encouragement.

Fiordiligi
to the suitors
Speak then.

Dorabella
to the suitors
Say frankly what it is you want.

Ferrando
My lady!

Guglielmo
Rather, my ladies!

Ferrando
to Guglielmo
You do the talking.

Guglielmo
to Ferrando
No, no, you do it.

Don Alfonso
The devil take it!
Do stop this absurd
Old?fashioned nonsense.
Despina, let's get this over;
You act for one side while I act for the other.

N. 22 - Quartet

Don Alfonso
taking Dorabella by the hand
Give me your hand,
And come this way a little.
to the suitors
If you won't speak,
I'll speak up for you.
A trembling slave
Implores your pardon;
He offended you, he sees,
Though only for a moment;
Now he repents in silence ...

Ferrando and Guglielmo

In silence ...

Don Alfonso
Now he leaves you in peace ...

Ferrando e Guglielmo

In peace . . .

Don Alfonso
He can't do what he wants to,
He would do what he can.

Ferrando and Guglielmo

He can't do what he wants to,
He would do what he can.

Don Alfonso

Now come, give them an answer;
You just look on and laugh?

Despina

I'll give them an answer
For you.

What's done is done,
Least said, soonest mended.
So let the knot, the sign
Of servitude, be broken.



Give me your arm,
And sigh no more.

Despina and Don Alfonso
softly, aside
Let's go, for mercy's sake;
We'll watch what they will do.
I'll rank them higher than the devil
If they don't give way now.

exeunt

Scene 5

Fiordiligi, Dorabella, Ferrando and Guglielmo

Recitative

Fiordiligi
What a lovely day!

Ferrando
Perhaps a trifle hot.

Dorabella
What pretty bushes!

Guglielmo
Yes, yes, very pretty;
They've more leaves than fruit.

Fiordiligi
How charming
These paths are!
Shall we take a stroll?

Ferrando
Your slightest wish
Is my command.

Fiordiligi
You are too kind!

Ferrando
to Guglielmo, as he passes
This is the big moment!

Fiordiligi
What did you say to him?

Ferrando
Er ... I told him
To keep her entertained.

Dorabella
to Guglielmo
Let us go for a stroll too.

Guglielmo
Just as you please.
They stroll.
Oh dear!

Dorabella
What's the matter?



Guglielmo
I feel so bad,
My dearest one,
That I think I'm going to die.

Dorabella
to herself
This simply won't do.
aloud
It'll be the after?effects
Of the poison that you drank.

Guglielmo

Ah, I drink in
A for stronger poison
From the cruel, fiery
Volcanoes of love!

Dorabella
It'll be a burning poison;
Cool yourself a little.



Guglielmo
Unkind one, you mock me
While I'm dying.
to himself
They've vanished;
Where the devil have they got to?

Dorabella
Oh, don't do that.

Guglielmo
I'm dying, cruel one, and you mock me?

Dorabella
I mock you?

Guglielmo

Then give me, light of my life,
Some token of your pity.

Dorabella
Two, if you like.
Tell me what you'd have, and we'll see.

Guglielmo
to himself
Is she joking or in earnest?
aloud
Deign to accept
This humble offering.

Dorabella
A heart?

Guglielmo
Yes, a heart; the symbol of that one
Which burns, pines and longs for you.

Dorabella
to herself
What a precious gift!

Guglielmo
Will you accept it?

Dorabella
Cruel man,
Do not seek to tempt a faithful heart.

Guglielmo
to himself
The mountain is weakening.
I don't like this, but I've pledged
My honour as a soldier.
to Dorabella
I adore you!

Dorabella
I beg of you!

Guglielmo
I am all yours!

Dorabella
O Heavens!

Guglielmo
Give in, my dear one!

Dorabella
You'll drive me to my death!

Guglielmo
We'll die together then,
My hope and love.
Will you accept it?

Dorabella
with a sigh
I accept.

Guglielmo
to himself
Poor Ferrando!
aloud
Oh what joy!

N. 23 - Duet

Guglielmo
This heart I give you,
My adored one;
But I want yours in return;
Come, give it me.

Dorabella
You've given it and I take it,
But mine I cannot give;
In vain you ask it of me,
It is no longer mine.

Guglielmo
If you no longer own it,
Why does it beat here?

Dorabella
If you gave me it,
What is still beating there?

Dorabella and Guglielmo
It is my own dear heart
That is no longer mine;
It's come to lodge with you,
And that's what's beating so.

Guglielmo
trying to put the heart where she has the miniature of her lover
Let me put it here.

Dorabella
There it cannot stay.

Guglielmo
I understand, you little rogue.

Dorabella
What are you doing?

Guglielmo
You're not to look.
He gently turns her face away, takes out the miniature and puts in the heart.

Dorabella
to herself
I feel I have
A volcano in my bosom!

Guglielmo
to himself
Poor Ferrando!
It doesn't seem possible.
aloud
Now turn your pretty eyes on me.

Dorabella
What do you want?

Guglielmo
See,
Doesn't that look better?

Dorabella and Guglielmo
Oh happy exchange
Of hearts and affections!
What new delights!
What sweet pain!

They go out arm in arm.

Scene 6

Fiordiligi enters in agitation, followed by Ferrando

Recitative

Ferrando
Unkind one! Why do you fly me?

Fiordiligi
I've seen an asp,
A hydra, a basilisk!

Ferrando
Ah, cruel one, I understand you!
The asp, the hydra, the basilisk
And all that's fiercest in the Libyan desert
You see in me alone.

Fiordiligi
Ah yes, it's true!
You would rob me of my peace.

Ferrando
Only to make you happy.

Fiordiligi
Molest me no further.

Ferrando
I ask but for a glance.

Fiordiligi
Leave me!

Ferrando
How can I, until you turn on me
An eye less haughty?
O Heaven! But you look at me and sigh?

N. 24 - Aria

Ferrando














exit

Scene 7

Fiordiligi alone

Recitative

Fiordiligi
He's left me ... listen ... Ah no! Let him go.
Let my sight be free of the unlucky object
Of my weakness. To what a pass
This cruel man has brought me!
This is a just reward for my sins!
Was this the time
For me to heed the sighs
Of a new lover, to make sport
Of another's sighs? Ah, rightly
You condemn this heart, o just love!
I burn, and my ardour is no longer
The outcome of a virtuous love:
It is madness,
Anguish, remorse, repentance
Fickleness, deceit and betrayal!





N. 25 - Rondo

Fiordiligi
In pity's name, my dearest, forgive
The misdeed of a loving soul;
Oh God, it shall evermore be hidden
Among these shady bushes.
My courage, my constancy
Will drive away this dishonourable desir
And banish the memory
Which fills me with shame and horror.

And who is it whom
This unworthy heart has betrayed?
Dear heart, your trust deserved
A better reward!
Caro bene, al tuo candor.

exit

Scene 8

Ferrando and Guglielmo

Recitative

Ferrando
in high spirits
We've won, my boy!
Guglielmo
Two of a kind?

Ferrando
A straight flush!
Fiordiligi is modesty incarnate.

Guglielmo
Not a crack?

Ferrando
Not one: just wait
And listen to what happened.

Guglielmo
I'm listening: tell me.

Ferrando
We went for a stroll
In the garden,
As we'd agreed:
I gave her my arm,
We chatted of nothing in particular;
At last we came to the subject of love.

Guglielmo
Go on.

Ferrando
I feigned a stammer,
I pretended to weep,
I swore I'd die at her feet.

Guglielmo
Very clever, I grant.
And she?

Ferrando
At first she laughed,
Joked and teased me.

Guglielmo
And then?

Ferrando
Then she pretended
To melt a little.

Guglielmo
Oh, did she?

Ferrando
Then the bomb exploded.
She was keeping herself pure as a dove
For her dear Guglielmo:
Haughtily she repulsed me,
Upbraided me, fled me,
Giving me evidence and proof
That she's a woman without equal.

Guglielmo
Good for you, good for me,
Good for my Penelope!
Let me embrace you
For your happy tidings,
My faithful Mercury!



Ferrando
And my Dorabella,
How did she behave?
Oh, I haven't a doubt of her.
enthusiastically
I know so well
Her sensitive soul.

Guglielmo
Well, just between ourselves,
If you had a doubt
It might not be such a bad thing.

Ferrando
What?

Guglielmo
Oh, don't take me seriously.
to himself
I'd like to gild the pill for him,

Ferrando
Speak out! Did she perhaps
Fall for your flatteries?
Ah, if I could even suspect it!

Guglielmo
In this world
It's always wise to be a bit suspicious.

Ferrando
Ye immortal gods! Speak out!
Don't roast me on a slow fire;
But no, you're making sport of me;
She loves me, adores me alone.

Guglielmo
Certainly! And so in proof
Of her love and devotion
She gave me this little picture.


Ferrando
in a fury
My portrait!
The traitress!
he makes to go

Guglielmo
Where are you going?

Ferrando

To tear her heart from her wicked bosom
And avenge the betrayal of my love.

Guglielmo
Stop!

Ferrando
with determination
No, let me go!

Guglielmo
Are you raving?
Would you ruin yourself
For a worthless woman?
to himself
I wouldn't want him
To commit some folly!

Ferrando
Ye gods! All those promises,
And tears, and sighs, and vows
How could the inhuman creature
Forget them so soon?

Guglielmo
I'm sure I don't know.

Ferrando
What should I do now?
To what course,
What plan apply myself?
Take pity on me, give me your counsel.

Guglielmo
My friend, I don't know
How to advise you.

Ferrando
Cruel! Heartless
In a day! In a few hours!

Guglielmo
It's certainly something to wonder at.

N. 26 - Aria

Guglielmo
Ladies, you treat so many thus
That, if I must speak the truth,
I begin to sympathise
When your lovers complain.

I adore the sex, you know,
Everyone knows it;
Each day I show it
And always take your part.

But such treatment of so many
Discourages me, in truth.

A thousand times I've drawn my sword
To defend your honour.
A thousand times I've championed you
With my tongue and, still more, with my heart.

But such treatment of so many
Is pernicious and a bore.

You're attractive, you are charming,
Heaven has given you treasures galore
And graces envelop you
From head to foot.

But thus you treat so many,
That it's difficult to believe,
And if your lovers complain
They have good reason indeed.

exit

Scene 9

Ferrando alone, later Don Alfonso and Guglielmo talking in the background

Recitative

Ferrando
In what fierce strife,
In what confusion
Of thoughts and affections I find myself!
So unusual and novel is my situation
That neither others nor I myself
Suffice to give me counsel ... oh, Alfonso,
How you must be laughing
At my stupidity!
But I'll be revenged, I'll banish
The traitress from my mind ...
Banish her?
O Heaven, too loudly my heart intercedes for her.



N. 27 - Cavatina

Ferrando
Betrayed and scorned
By her faithless heart,
I still know
That my soul adores her,
I still hear
The voice of love for her.

Recitative

Don Alfonso

Bravo, that's true fidelity.

Ferrando
Get away, you tormentor.
It's through you I'm suffering.

Don Alfonso
Come, if you're sensible
Your old calm will return.
Listen:
pointing to Guglielmo
Fiordiligi has remained
Faithful to Guglielmo,
But Dorabella's unfaithful to you.

Ferrando
To my shame.

Guglielmo
Dear friend, one must
Make distinctions in everything.
Do you imagine a woman could
Fail a Guglielmo?
Speaking in all modesty,
Make a small comparison
Between us ... you see, my friend,
There's a little extra something ...

Don Alfonso
Yes, that's what I say.

Guglielmo
So meantime you can pay me
Those fifty sequins.

Don Alfonso
Willingly;
But before I do so, I'd like us
To try another experiment.

Guglielmo
What's that?

Don Alfonso
Have patience; until tomorrow
You are both at my command;
You gave me your words as soldiers
To do what I said. Come, I hope
To show you how foolish it is
To count your chickens before they're hatched.

exeunt

Scene 10

A room with several doors, a mirror and a table
Dorabella and Despina, later Fiordiligi

Recitative

Despina
Now I can see
You're a woman of sense.

Dorabella
In vain, Despina, I tried to resist:
That little devil has such tricks,
Such eloquence, such a way with him,
That he'd melt the heart of a stone.

Despina
Saints above!
That's really something!
It's so rarely
We poor girls
Get the chance of something good
That we must grab it when it comes.

But here's your sister.
What a face she's pulling!

Fiordiligi
You wretches!
See what a state I'm in,
And all through you!

Despina
What's the matter,
My poor madame?

Dorabella
Is something wrong, sister?

Fiordiligi
The devil's in me; let him take me,
You two, Don Alfonso, the strangers
And all the other fools in the world.

Dorabella
Have you lost your senses?

Fiordiligi
Worse, much worse.
Recail from me: I'm in love,
And my love isn't just for Guglielmo.

Despina
That's better, much better!

Dorabella
And perhaps you too have fallen
In love with the fair gallant?

Fiordiligi
sighing
Ah only too deeply!

Despina
Well, hooray!

Dorabella
Take seventy thousand kisses:
You for the fair one,
I for the dark one,
And there we are, both married!

Fiordiligi
What are you saying?
Don't you spare a thought for the unfortunates
Who left us this morning?
For their grief?
Have you forgotten their faithfulness?
Where, where did you learn
Such barbarous feelings?
How have you so changed your nature?

Dorabella
Listen: are you sure
That our former lovers won't be killed
In the war? What then?
We'll both be left high and dry.
There's always a big difference
Between one in the hand and one in the bush.

Fiordiligi
And then if they come back?

Dorabella
If they come back, too bad for them!
We'll be married by then
And far away from here.

Fiordiligi
Well, I'd like to know bow one can
Change one's affections in a single day.

Dorabella
What a silly question!
We're women!
And how have you behaved?

Fiordiligi
I can control myself.

Despina
You can't, I bet.

Fiordiligi
I'll show you.

Dorabella
Believe me, sister, you'd best give in.

N. 28 - Aria

Dorabella
Love is a little thief,
A little serpent is he.
According to his whim
The heart finds peace or no.

Scarcely does he open a path
Between your eyes and your bosom
Than he chains your soul
And takes away your liberty.

He'll bring sweetness and content,
If you give him his way,
But will make your lot heavy
If you try to deny him.

If he visits your breast
And plucks at you there,
Do all that he asks,
As I will do too.

Dorabella and Despina go out.

Scene 11

Fiordiligi alone, then Guglielmo, Ferrando and Don Alfonso in another room which can be seen through the door of the first, later Despina

Recitative

Fiordiligi
How everything conspires to tempt
My heart! But no! Let me die rather than yield!
I was wrong to confess my feelings
To my sister and my servant.
They'll tell him all, and he'll be bolder,
Carrying all before him; my eyes must not
Fall on him again! I'll threaten
All the servants with dismissal

Well spoken, my chaste Diana!
Did you hear her?

Guglielmo

Well spoken, my chaste Diana!
Did you hear her?

Fiordiligi
But perhaps Dorabella,
Without my knowledge ...
Sofily, a thought comes to mind;
In the house are several uniforms
Of Guglielmo's and Ferrando's: courage now!
Despina! Despina!

Despina
entering
What is it?

Fiordiligi
Take this key, and without any questions
Or any back answers,
Go to the wardrobe and bring me here
Two swords, two helmets and two tunics
Of our lovers.

Despina
What do you want with them?

Fiordiligi
Go on, and no back answers.

Despina
to herself
Milady's on her high horse!

exit

Fiordiligi
There's nothing else to do:
I hope Dorabella herself
Will follow a good example:
Away, away!
No other way is left
For us to preserve our honour.

Don Alfonso
to himself
I've heard enough.
to Despina, who is returning
Go on, don't be afraid.

Despina
to Fiordiligi
Here I am.

Fiordiligi
Now go.
Send a servant at once
To order six post?horses;
Tell Dorabella I want to speak her.

Despina
Very good, ma'am.
to herself
I think she's out of her mind.

exit

Scene 12

Fiordiligi, then Ferrando: Guglielmo and Don Alfonso remain in the other room

Recitative

Fiordiligi
Ferrando's uniform will fit me;
Dorabella can take Guglielmo's.
In these outfits
We'll join our sweethearts,
We can fight beside them
And die, if need be.
She throws off her head?dress.
Out with you, fatal finery,
I despise you.

Guglielmo
to himself
Could there be a love like this?

Fiordiligi
You shall never deck my head again
Till I return here with my true love;
In your place I do this helmet.
How it transforms my whole appearance!
I can hardly recognise myself!

N. 29 - Duet

Fiordiligi
Very soon now I'll be enfolded
In the embraces of my true love;
Unrecognised in these garments
I will come before him.
Oh, what joy will fill his heart
When he sees me again!

Ferrando
to Fiordiligi, entering
And meanwhile I, left wretched,
Shall die of grief.

Fiordiligi
What do I see? I am betrayed!
Oh leave me!

Ferrando
Ah no, dear heart!

With this sword in your hand
Strike me to the heart,
And if you lack the strength,
By Heaven, I'll guide your hand myself.


Fiordiligi
Alas, be silent! I am
Tormented and unhappy enough!

Fiordiligi and Ferrando
Ah, now my constancy
Begins to falter
Before his looks and his words!

Fiordiligi
Get up, I beg!

Ferrando
It cannot be.

Fiordiligi
In pity's name, what do you ask of me?

Ferrando
Your heart or my death.

Fiordiligi
My strength is giving out!

Ferrando
Yield, my dearest!


Fiordiligi
Heaven, direct me!

Ferrando
Turn a merciful eye on me.
In me alone you'll find
Husband, lover and more, if you wish.

Delay no longer, my adored one.

Fiordiligi

Merciful heaven! Cruel man, you've won!
Do with me what you will.

Don Alfonso holds back Guglielmo who tries to leap forward.

Ferrando and Fiordiligi
Embrace me, my dearest,
And may the consolation for our sorrows
Be to spend our time in sweet affection,
And sigh for joy!

exeunt

Scene 13

Guglielmo and Don Alfonso, then Ferrando, later Despina

Recitative

Guglielmo
Alas, poor me, what have I seen!
What have I heard!

Don Alfonso
Keep quiet, for heaven's sake!

Guglielmo
I'll pluck out my beard,
I'll tear my flesh,
And charge the stars with my horns!
So that was Fiordiligi, my Penelope,
The chaste Diana of the age! Strumpet,
Assassin, cheat, swindler, bitch!

Don Alfonso

Let him get it off his chest.

Ferrando
entering
Well!

Guglielmo
Where is she?

Ferrando
Chi? La tua Fiordiligi?

Guglielmo
My Fior ... Furies of hell!
Strangle first her and then me!

Ferrando
ironically
You see now;
There are distinctions in everything;
There's a little extra something ...

Guglielmo
Stop it! Stop
Taunting me,
And instead
Let's find a way
Of punishing them soundly.

Don Alfonso
I know what to do: marry them.

Guglielmo
I'd rather marry
Charon's boat.

Ferrando
Vulcan's smithy.

Guglielmo
The gates of hell.

Don Alfonso
Then you'll stay bachelors for ever.

Ferrando
Are there no women
Fit for men like us?

Don Alfonso
There's not so many.
But what would they do,
If these act like this?
At bottom, you still love
These plucked birds.

Guglielmo
Alas, it's true!

Ferrando
Too true!

Don Alfonso
Well then, take them as they are:
Nature can't make exceptions
And create two women of a different stuff
Just to suit your tastes: in such matters
You must be philosophical.
Come along then;
Let's find a way
Of putting things together.
Tonight I still want to see
A double wedding;
Meanwhile listen to my song:
Take heed, and you'll be happy.

N. 30 - Andante

Don Alfonso
Everyone blames women, but I forgive them
If they change their love
A thousand times a day;
Some call it a sin, others a habit,
But I say it's a necessity of their heart.
The lover who finds that he's been deceived
Should blame not others
But his own mistake;
Whether they're young or old, fair or plain –
Repeat with me: Women are all the same!

Ferrando, Guglielmo and Don Alfonso
Così fan tutte!

Scene 14

Ferrando, Guglielmo, Don Alfonso and Despina

Recitative

Despina
entering
Victory, gentlemen!
The dear ladies are disposed
To marry you; in your name
I promised that in about three days' time
They'd go away with you:
They ordered me to find a notary
To draw up the contract;
They're waiting for you in their room.
Are you satisfied with that?

Ferrando, Guglielmo and Don Alfonso
Most satisfied.

Despina
When Despina takes a job in hand
She always gets results.

exeunt

Scene 15

A salon brilliantly lit. An orchestra in the background: a table laid for four persons, with silver candlesticks. Four richly clad servants.
Despina, servants and musicians; then Don Alfonso

N. 31 - Finale

Despina
Be quick about it, friends,
Light the torches
And prepare the table
In style for the nobility.

The marriage of our mistresses
Is already arranged,

And you must take your places
As soon as the bridegrooms appear.

Chorus of servants and musicians
Let's be quick about it, friends,
Light the torches
And prepare the table
In style for the nobility.
>
Don Alfonso
entering
Well done! Splendid!
What abundance!
What elegance!
You'll all be given
A suitable reward.
Now the two couples are arriving;
Applaud them as they enter:
Let cheerful song and merry music
Fill the air with gaiety.

Despina and Don Alfonso
soflly, leaving by different doors
A prettier piece of comedy
There never was, nor ever will be!

Scene 16

Fiordiligi, Dorabella, Ferrando, Guglielmo, servants and musicians.

Chorus
Blessed be the two bridegrooms
And their lovely brides!
May a kindly heaven smile on them,
And, in the way that hens are,
May they be prolific
Of progeny to equal them in beauty.

Fiordiligi, Dorabella, Ferrando and Guglielmo
Surely here's the promise
Of every joy and perfect love!
And all the credit
Goes to dear Despina.

Repeat that joyful music,
Renew that lovely song,
And we will sit here
In highest mirth and glee.



Chorus
Blessed be the two bridegrooms
And their lovely brides!
May a kindly heaven smile on them,
And, in the way that hens are,
May they be prolific
Of progeny to equal them in beauty.

The chorus leaves; four servants remain to serve the couples, who seat themselves at the table.
Ferrando and Guglielmo
Everything now, my dearest,
Accords with my desires.

Fiordiligi and Dorabella
Joy grows and spreads
Throughout my veins.

Ferrando and Guglielmo
You are so beautiful!

Fiordiligi and Dorabella
You are so handsome!

Ferrando and Guglielmo
What lovely eyes!

Fiordiligi and Dorabella
What an attractive mouth!

Ferrando and Guglielmo
Clink glasses and drink!
clinking and drinking

Fiordiligi and Dorabella
Drink and clink glasses!
Fiordiligi, Dorabella and Ferrando
In your glass and mine
May every care be drowned,
And let no memory of the past
Remain in our hearts.


Guglielmo
to himself
Would that they were drinking poison,
The dishonourable jades!

Scene 17

Fiordiligi, Dorabella, Ferrando, Guglielmo and Don Alfonso; then Despina disguised as a notary

Don Alfonso
entring
Everything is ready, friends;
The notary is coming up the stairs
With the marriage contract
And ipso facto he'll be here.

Fiordiligi, Dorabella, Ferrando and Guglielmo
Splendid! Let him in at once!

Don Alfonso
I'll go and call him. Here he is.

Despina
in a nasal voice
Wishing you every happiness,
The notary Beccavivi
Comes to you with his usual
Notarial dignity.

And first coughing,
Then sitting down,
In a clear voice he will read
The stipulated contract
With the normal provisions
In judicial form.

Fiordiligi, Dorabella, Ferrando and Guglielmo
Excellent, in truth!

Despina
By this contract
Drawn up by me,
The following are joined in matrimony;
Fiordiligi with Sempronio,
And with Tizio Dorabella,
Her legitimate sister;
The ladies, natives of Ferrara,
The gentlemen, Albanian nobles.
And in dowry and settlement ...

Fiordiligi, Dorabella, Ferrando and Guglielmo
We know all that!
We believe you,
We trust you:
Give it here, and we'll sign.

Despina and Don Alfonso
Excellent, in truth!
The paper is in Don Alfonso's hand. The sound of drums is heard.

Chorus
off-stage
A soldier's life for me!
Every day a change of scene;
Plenty today and little tomorrow,
Now on land and now on sea.

Fiordiligi, Dorabella, Despina, Ferrando and Guglielmo
What's that noise? What's that singing?

Don Alfonso
Keep quiet: I'll go and see.
he goes to the window
Mercy on us!
God in heaven!
Disaster is upon us!
I tremble! My blood runs cold!
Your former lovers ...

Fiordiligi and Dorabella
My former lover ...

Don Alfonso
Are returning, oh heaven,
At this moment,
And are now disembarking
On the shore!

Fiordiligi, Dorabella, Ferrando and Guglielmo
What do I hear?
Ye cruel stars!
What's to be done
At this dire moment?



Fiordiligi and Dorabella

Go at once,

Ferrando, Guglielmo, Despina and Don Alfonso
Suppose they see us (them)?

Fiordiligi and Dorabella
Quickly, fly;

Ferrando, Guglielmo, Despina and Don Alfonso
Suppose we (they) meet them?
Don Alfonso conduce Despina in una camera

Fiordiligi and Dorabella
Conceal yourselves,
For pity's sake!
Don Alfonso leads Despina into a room: Fiordiligi and Dorabella show the men into another. The men escape unseen and go off.
Heaven, help us!

Don Alfonso
Be reassured,

Fiordiligi and Dorabella
Heaven, guide us!

Don Alfonso
Keep calm,

Fiordiligi and Dorabella

Who will save us
From this peril?

Don Alfonso
Trust in me,
And all will be well.

Fiordiligi and Dorabella
A thousand cruel thoughts
Are tormenting my heart;
If they discover the deception
Whatever will become of us?

Scene 18

Fiordiligi and Dorabella, Ferrando and Guglielmo in military cloaks and caps, Despina in a room with Don Alfonso.

Ferrando and Guglielmo
Safe and sound, exulting with joy,
We return to the loving embrace
Of our faithful sweethearts
To crown them for their constancy!

Don Alfonso
Great heaven! Guglielmo! Ferrando!
What joy! You here? How and when?

Ferrando and Guglielmo
Recalled by royal countermand,
Our hearts full of contentment and joy,
We've returned to our adorable sweethearts,
We've returned to your friendship.

Guglielmo
to Fiordiligi
But why this pallor, this silence?

Ferrando
to Dorabella
Why is my love so sad?

Don Alfonso
Their tongues are tied
With confusion and overwhelming joy.

Fiordiligi and Dorabella
aside
My tongue has forsaken me;
If I don't die it will be a miracle.

The servants bring in a trunk.

Guglielmo
Allow me to have
This trunk brought into that room.
Heavens, what do I see!

A man hidden here!
A notary! What's he doing here?

Despina
comes out without a hat
No, sit, it's not a notary:
It's Despina in fancy dress
Who's just back from a ball
And come in here to change.

Ferrando and Guglielmo
aside
Could so clever a rogue
Ever be found?

Despina
Could they ever find
Anyone as smart as me?

Don Alfonso cunningly lets fall the contract signed by the women.

Fiordiligi and Dorabella
Despina? Despina?
I don't begin to understand.

Don Alfonso
quietly to the men
I've just dropped the papers;
Pick them up neatly.

Ferrando
Ferrando picks up the contract.
But what are these papers?

Guglielmo
A marriage contract!

Ferrando and Guglielmo

Merciful heaven! You've signed here,
Don't try to deny it!
Treachery, treachery!
Let us find the villains
And their blood shall flow
In torrents, rivers, oceans!
They make to enter the other room; the women prevent them.

Fiordiligi and Dorabella
Ah, my love, my sin is mortal
And death alone I seek now;
Too late I see my error;
With your sword pierce this bosom
That deserves no pity!

Ferrando and Guglielmo
Tell us all.

Fiordiligi and Dorabella
pointing to Despina and Don Alfonso
Let them speak for us,
That pander and that procuress!

Don Alfonso
Too true is what she says,
And the proof is shut in there!
He indicates the room by which the men first entered. Ferrando and Guglielmo go into it.

Fiordiligi and Dorabella
aside
I freeze, I shiver with fright;
Why did he give them away?

Ferrando and Guglielmo come out of the room, without caps, cloaks and without moustaches, but in the false lovers' clothes, and burlesque their antics with Despina.

Ferrando
to Fiordiligi
Lovely lady,
A noble of Albania
Bows before you!

Guglielmo
to Dorabella
The miniature
Exchanged for the little heart
I return herewith,
Madame!

Ferrando and Guglielmo
to Despina
And to the magnetic doctor
I give the honour
Which he merited!

Fiordiligi, Dorabella and Despina
Heavens, what do I see?

Ferrando, Guglielmo and Don Alfonso
They're stupefied!

Fiordiligi, Dorabella and Despina
I cannot bear this torment!

Ferrando, Guglielmo and Don Alfonso
They're half crazy!

Fiordiligi and Dorabella
pointing to Don Alfonso
That is the cruel man
Who deceived us!

Don Alfonso
I deceived you, but my deception
Undeceived your lovers,
Who henceforth will be wiser
And will do as I wish.
Give me your hands, now you're united.
Embrace each other and say no more.
All four of you can laugh now
As I have laughed and shall do again.

Fiordiligi and Dorabella
My love, if this is true,
With fidelity and with love
I will make good what I have done
And adore you evermore.

Ferrando and Guglielmo
I believe you, my fair one,
But I won't put it to the test.

Despina
I don't know if I'm awake or dreaming,
I'm confused, I feel ashamed;
I'm slipping badly if they can do to me
What I have done to many others.

All
Happy is the man who looks
At everything on the right side
And through trials and tribulations
Makes reason his guide.

What always makes another weep
Will be for him a cause of mirth
And amid the tempests of this world
He will find sweet peace.
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