When I bought my CD of the original "Celtic Woman" ensemble, I was SO disappointed that one of the most evocative pieces I had ever heard hadn't even been included. Adding insult to injury, it had been sung by one of my two favourite of the original four singers, Meav Ni Mhaolchatha. I felt cheated. Not fair, I cried to no avail!
Yet there is always more to learn. Imagine when I began my research and found out that this had been borrowed from an opera! An opera? Aren't they usually in Italian or some other language that I don't understand? Very confusing!
Also very cosmopolitan, it was written by an Irish Composer, who moved to England, and premiered it on the London Stage. It takes place in Austria, and the main characters are a Polish Noble and a Gypsy Queen.
Opera can be a difficult thing for me to relate to, yet as I listen to this now, the most famous aria from the opera "The Bohemian Girl" by Michael William Balfe circa 1843...........oh just how it captivates me. Here is one version, sung by one of the greatest of all operatic singers Jessye Norman. Here her enunciation and pitch are pure perfection (as always, she too is one of my favourites as I begin my journey into the mysteries of opera):
I dreamt that I dwelt in marble halls,
With vassals and serfs at my side,
And of all who assembled within those walls,
That I was the hope and the pride.
I had riches too great to count
Could boast of a high ancestral name;
But I also dreamt which pleased me most,
That you loved me still the same.
(The above lyrics are by Mr Balfe and Alfred Bunn, collaboratively. And, they are partial only. It's so frustrating! I wanted the complete lyrics...........but, I'd really rather listen to our own Ms Norman's mezzo-soprano voice singing them for the full translation).