Tag Archives: Manzoni

Learn Italian in Song: I Promessi Sposi in Dieci Minuti

The Betrothed, in 10 Minutes I Promessi Sposi (The Betrothed), considered the first example of the modern novel in Italian (though the language is a bit antiquated today), is a story every educated Italian knows well, in part because they study it in school. We heard a lot about it in Lecco in particular because Read More…

The Betrothed, in 10 Minutes

I Promessi Sposi (The Betrothed), considered the first example of the modern novel in Italian (though the language is a bit antiquated today), is a story every educated Italian knows well, in part because they study it in school. We heard a lot about it in Lecco in particular because its author, Alessandro Manzoni, was the town’s most famous native son, and much of the action of the book takes place around Lecco and other parts of the Lake Como region, and in Milan.

This elaborate spoof uses a number of popular songs; the translation has taken me a long time to finish, in part because I needed to translate many of the source songs first. I’ve prefaced each song change with a link to my translation of the original song.

You can see some dramatic clips from an open-air processional production of the book here and here.

Ti amo (Umberto Tozzi)
Sul ramo del lago di Como[1] On that branch of Lake Como
Inizia quel tomo che ti devasta con i suoi 38 capitoli Begins the tome that devastates you with its 38 chapters
Nel primo si legge di un uomo che arriva pian piano In the first we read of a man who arrives slowly
é¨ Don Abbondio[2] che un po’ circospetto ritorna in citta’ It’s Don Abbondio who a bit circumspectly returns to town
Brava (Mina)
Bravi! Bravi! Non te l’aspettavi?! Bravi![3] Bravi! Bravi! You didn’t expect it? Bravi!
Dove te ne andavi? Siamo i bravi, ma siamo cattivi Where were you going? We are the bravi, but we are wicked
Fatti pure il segno della croce, tanto sei da solo qui Go ahead and make the sign of the Cross, in any case you’re here alone
Leggi bene questa nota che si trova nella busta Read well this note which is in the envelope
A proposito di un certo matrimonio che non s’ha da far[4] About a certain marriage which should not be performed
fra [Lucia] Mondella e [Lorenzo] Tramaglin Between Mondella and Tramaglin
E’ un intrigo di Rodrigo, prova a immaginare se li sposi It’s an intrigue of Rodrigo, try to imagine if you marry them
Quante cose ti puA’ far! Pensaci tu a parlar con Gesu’! How many things he could do to you. You take care of talking to Jesus!
PerchÉ lo fai (Marco Masini) [okay, so I didn’t translate this one…]
Perpetua! Son disperato, ragazza mia Perpetua! I’m desperate, my girl
Fa che mi sdrai, che c’ho un attimo di aritmia Let me lie down, I’ve got a bit of [heart] arrythmia
Perpetua! C’a’¨ un pazzo criminale che, ahima’¨, ce l’ha con me Perpetua! There’s an insane criminal who, alas, has it in for me
Ma tu non sai, o domani saranno guai, per me, per te, per noi! But you don’t know [anything about it], or tomorrow there’ll be trouble for me, for you, for us
Un senso (Vasco Rossi)
Sai che cosa penso? Che il povero Renzo domani arrivera’ You know what I think? That poor Renzo will arrive tomorrow
Le nozze chiedera’ lo stesso! He’ll be asking to get married all the same
Non glielo consento, c’a’¨ ancora del tempo! I can’t allow it, there’s still time
Domani a mezzogiorno, arrivera’ ! He’ll come tomorrow at midday
Eeeh! E’ gia’ passato un giorno, ormai a’¨ qua! Uh huh – a day has already passed, now he’s here!
Porta Portese (Claudio Baglioni)
La domenica mattina mi presento dal curato Sunday morning I present myself to the curate
La Perpetua ho salutato, e sono qua I’ve greeted Perpetua, and here I am
Con le borse della spesa su mandato della sposa With the shopping bags as mandated by the bride
Per sapere a quale ora si va in chiesa To know what time we go to church
Porta pazienza! E sii cortese! E a fine mese ne saprai di piu’! Be patient! And be polite. At the end of the month you’ll know more
Io vagabondo (Nomadi)
Io, Don Abbondio, santo Dio! Furibondo che non sono altro I, Don Abbondio, dear God! I’m nothing other than furious
Lui non c’entra, io lo so! He has nothing to do with it, I know it!
Don Rodrigo[5] me l’ha imposto, addio! Don Rodrigo made me, goodbye.
Luci-ah (Battisti)
Lucia! Lucia! L’accolito sposar non ci fa! Oooh, Lucia! Lucia! Lucia, Lucia, the acolyte won’t marry us!
Nel blu dipinto di blu (Domenico Modugno)
Renzo ho un bisogno cosa’¬ di svelarti un tabu’ Renzo, I must reveal to you a taboo
Mi dirigevo stamani attraverso Cantu’ This morning I was going towards Cantu’
Poi d’improvviso vedevo spuntar don Rodrigo Then suddenly I saw Don Rodrigo appear before me
Che incominciava a gridare: Yo a ti, te castigo! Who began to yell: “I punish you!”
Volgare! Oh oh! Maiale! (Sgrunt sgrunt) Vulgar, oh oh, pig! (grunt grunt)
Agnese (Ivan Graziani)
Uscire tutta sola, mi da’ tanti pensieri Going out all alone gives me many worries
L’inferno cittadino, con tutti ‘sti stranieri! The urban hell with all these strangers!
Agnese, dolce Agnese, dammi un po’ di cioccolata Agnese, sweet Agnese, give me some chocolate
Se solo ci ripenso… Mi sento un po’ emaciata! If I only think about it again, I feel a bit emaciated
Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds
Eccoci giunti al capitolo terzo, capitolo che tagliamo perchÉ He we are arrived at the third chapter, a chapter which we will cut because
Tutta la storia dell’Azzeccagarbugli[6] a’¨ lunga e non serve a un granchÉ The whole story of the Azzeccagarbugli is long and isn’t much use
Provano i bravi a rapire Lucia, ma lei in casa non c’a’¨ The bravi try to kidnap Lucia, but she’s not home
Sono dal prete a sposarsi a sorpresa, ma invan! They’ve gone to the priest for a surprise wedding, but in vain
Lucia non perderti d’animo! Lucia, don’t lose heart
Luci a San Siro (Roberto Vecchioni)
Lucia a San Siro sara’ stasera Lucia, I’ll be at San Siro this evening
Fuggite a Monza, che la monaca lo sa Flee to Monza, where the [female] monk knows
E’ il posto giusto, con quella nebbia It’s the right place, with that fog
Ti ci nascondi, e ci ritroveremo la’ ! You can hide, and we’ll meet again there
Scrive Manzoni, per i secchioni, che i sovversivi dan l’assalto al vicerÉ Manzoni writes, for the swots, that the subversives are assaulting the Viceroy
Renzo si esalta nella rivolta; chi se ne frega, c’é una che prega Renzo gets caught up in the revolt, who cares, here’s someone praying
Ma lei chi � But who are you?
La fisarmonica (Gianni Morandi)
Sono la monaca, ma non son suora perché I’m the [female] monk but I’m not a nun because
Mi piace fare l’amore come nessuno lo fa, nella canonica! I like making love like no one else does, in the rectory
Brava (Mina)
Bravi! Bravi! Non te l’aspettavi?! Bravi! Bravi! Bravi! You didn’t expect it? Bravi!
Siamo gli altri bravi! Siamo i bravi, ancora piu’¹ cattivi We are other bravi! We’re the even more wicked bravi
Fatti pure il segno della croce, tanto sei da sola qui Go ahead and make the sign of the Cross, in any case you’re here alone
Ci manda l’Innominato che ci ha chiesto di rapirti The Unnamed sent us to kidnap you
e lasciarti chiusa in gabbia che cosa nessuno puo’ sentir! And leave you closed in a cage where no one can hear you
Proprio come un uccellin! Nel castello, nel castello! Just like the little birds! In the castle, in the castle
State un po’ a sentire quale voto alla Madonna sto per far: Listen up to the vow I’m about to make to the Madonna
Non la do[7] piu’ se mi salva Gesu’! I won’t give it away again if Jesus saves me!
Che cosa c€™a’¨ (Gino Paoli)
Che cosa c’e’? What is it?
C’e’ che io son l’Innominato col te It’s that I’m the Unnamed, with tea
C’e’ che ero uno prepotente It’s that I was a bully
che ha offeso tanta gente Who offended many people
ma il cuore mio si pente se ci sei tu But my heart repents if there’s you
Romeo er mejo del Colosseo[8]
Fra gli arcivescovi di Roma rappresento il top Among the archbishops of Rome I represent the top
e a Milano e’ un pezzo che ci sto And I’ve been in Milan a whire
Persin l’Innominato Even the Unnamed
me lo son cambiato I changed him
Io son Borromeo[9] I’m Borromeo
Er meglio del Giubileo The best of the Jubilee
Aggiungi un posto a tavola
Ma aggiungi peste a favola, e a Don Rodrigo in piu’ But add a plague to the fable, and, more, to Don Rodrigo
gli spunta un po’ una pustola ed arriviamo al clou He gets a little zit and we arrive at the climax
I Watussi
e fra le muffe, i bubboni e i pidocchi And between the mold, the buboes and the lice
e quattro fanti cosi’s lanzechenecchi And four infantry lancers
al Lazaretto vicino a Cantu’ at the plague house near Cantu’
s’incontrano tutti laggiu’ Everyone meets down there
Una lacrima sul viso
Da una lacrima sul Griso From a tear on Griso [his henchman]
ho capito che c’ho un mese I’ve understood that I’ve only got a month
Caro amico ti scrivo
Caro amico ti schivo Dear friend, I avoid you
se no ti contraggo un po’ Otherwise I’ll contract you a bit
e siccome sei molto malsano And since you’re very unhealthy
alfin ti perdonero’ In the end I will forgive you
Renzo! Lucia!
Centro di gravita’ permanente (Franco Battiato)
Ho fatto un voto di castita’ permanente I made a vow of permanent chastity
pero’ purtroppo ho gia’ cambiato idea Although, unfortunately, I’ve already changed my mind
ma non posso farci niente But I can’t do anything
Vorrei incontrarti fra cent€™anni (Ron e Tosca)
Vorrei incontrate Fra Cristoforo I’d like to meet Fra Cristoforo
Sono quaggiu’ dietro al semaforo I’m down here behind the traffic light
il voto sciolgo volentieri I’ll gladly dissolve the vow
grazie ai miei superpoteri Thanks to my superpowers
e’ la fede e i suoi misteri It’s the faith and its mysteries
Gianna (Rino Gaetano)
Ma stavolta la peste e’ finita But this time the plague is over
va giu’ il carovita And the high cost of living goes down
E quel guastafeste di Don Abbondio and that party pooper Don Abbondio
li sposa lo stesso Marries them just the same
ma in fatto di sesso But as far as sex goes
chi vivra’ vedra’ Who lives, will see!
  1. This is the opening line of the book.
  2. Don in this case is the title given to a prelate.
  3. Bravi in this case translates as bravoes, henchmen, hired thugs. But there’s a pun in the next line where bravi – good guys – is contrasted with cattivi – bad guys.
  4. “Questo matrimonio che non s’ha da far”, as the bravi tell Don Abbondio, is another famous line in the book.
  5. In this case, the title Don means lord, perhaps because he’s Spanish.
  6. The Azzeccagarbugli, which could be loosely translated as the “unraveller of knotty problems”, is a lawyer.
  7. “Non la do” = I won’t give it [sex] away.
  8. When the Disney film The Aristocats was dubbed into Italian, O’Malley the alley cat became Romeo, il gatto del Colosseo – the Colosseum in Rome being famous for its population of cats. Naturally, he sings and speaks in Roman dialect.
  9. Federico Borromeo is a historical character.

A Travelling Show of Italian Classic I Promessi Sposi

This year’s Corteo Manzoniano featured many of the same actors and costumes as last year, but added a new twist, winding through the streets of Lecco at night, by torchlight. In this video: Renzo and Lucia, lanzechenecchi, Cardinale Federigo Borromeo, i Promessi Sposi, Lecco, torchlight parade, horses Sadly, the longer version planned for the next afternoon Read More…

This year’s Corteo Manzoniano featured many of the same actors and costumes as last year, but added a new twist, winding through the streets of Lecco at night, by torchlight.

In this video: Renzo and Lucia, lanzechenecchi, Cardinale Federigo Borromeo, i Promessi Sposi, Lecco, torchlight parade, horses

Sadly, the longer version planned for the next afternoon was rained out. But the evening was a success – they’ll be doing it again next year, and I may be able to get better footage then.

 

Corteo Manzoniano: A Travelling Show of Italian Classic I Promessi Sposi

This year’s Corteo Manzoniano featured many of the same actors and costumes as last year, but added a new twist, winding through the streets of Lecco at night, by torchlight. In this video: Renzo and Lucia, lanzechenecchi, Cardinale Federigo Borromeo, i Promessi Sposi, Lecco, torchlight parade, horses Sadly, the longer version planned for the next afternoon Read More…

This year’s Corteo Manzoniano featured many of the same actors and costumes as last year, but added a new twist, winding through the streets of Lecco at night, by torchlight.

In this video: Renzo and Lucia, lanzechenecchi, Cardinale Federigo Borromeo, i Promessi Sposi, Lecco, torchlight parade, horses

Sadly, the longer version planned for the next afternoon was rained out. But the evening was a success – they’ll be doing it again next year, and I may be able to get better footage then.

A Travelling Show of Italian Classic I Promessi Sposi

The weekend of October 9-10, all of downtown Lecco was the stage for the Corteo Manzoniano, a “travelling” representation of that famous piece of local literature, Manzoni’s I Promessi Sposi (The Betrothed), most of whose action takes place in and around Lecco and Milan. Groups of actors in gorgeous costumes paraded among five or six fixed Read More…

The weekend of October 9-10, all of downtown Lecco was the stage for the Corteo Manzoniano, a “travelling” representation of that famous piece of local literature, Manzoni’s I Promessi Sposi (The Betrothed), most of whose action takes place in and around Lecco and Milan. Groups of actors in gorgeous costumes paraded among five or six fixed stages, or acted out scenes on small travelling platforms, or on horseback.

Tradimento! (Betrayal)

shot Oct 10, 2004, 1:17 mins, 3.7 MB

The betrothed couple of the title, Renzo and Lucia, attempt to trick the priest Don Abbondio into marrying them. Don Abbondio is understandably reluctant, since Don Rodrigo (a different use of the title “Don” !), the local Spanish overlord, has sent a couple of thugs (bravi) to inform him that: “Questo matrimonio non s’ha da fare.” – “This marriage should not take place.” (Don Rodrigo wants Lucia for himself.) Don Abbondio discovers the trick in time; much yelling and confusion ensue.

The Kidnapping of Lucia

22 secs, 1.8 MB

You can’t see it in this shot, but Lucia is being grabbed and bundled into the carriage, screaming. The horses didn’t like the noise and started rearing, which was scary, but after watching the scene re-enacted, I suspected that they were very well trained to look as if they were freaking out, but were actually under the control of their driver.

Procession

31 secs, 2.5 MB

I don’t know who all these characters are, but I liked the chanting and the pretty horses. Until my cellphone rang…

La Peste

1:55 mins, 5.6 MB

The plague (peste) ravages Milan. Bodies are carried away by the cartload. A grieving mother says farewell to her young daughter, placing her body tenderly on the cart, and tells the corpse-collectors: “Come back this evening to take me, and not only.”

Parade

1:59 mins , 5.8 MB

The first character you see here (with the leather banding on his shirt) is probablyl’Innominato (the Unnamed), the bad guy who turns good. The band and the music are totally out of period, but at least they’re Lecchesi – the theater company is actually from Bergamo.

The Grim Sweepers

44 secs, 2.2 MB

These stilt-walkers closed the parade. Black and purple are the colors of mourning in Italy. I have no idea why they had brooms, except the purely practical purpose of balancing the scythes on the other end.

Corteo Manzoniano: Photos

  bravi, monaca di Monza, nobili, Renzo e Lucia, cavalli, soldati, Lanzechenecchi… tutti i personaggi de i Promessi Sposi, in giro per le strade di Lecco! see also: Corteo Manzoniano in Video You might also like: Learn Italian in Song: I Promessi Sposi in Dieci Minuti A Travelling Show of Italian Classic I Promessi Sposi Corteo Read More…

personaggi Manzoniani

 

personaggi Manzoniani personaggi Manzoniani
personaggi Manzoniani Lucia
personaggi Manzoniani
personaggi Manzoniani
nobile Manzoniano personaggi ManzonianiRenzo
personaggi Manzoniani personaggi Manzoniani
la Monaca di Monza
personaggi Manzoniani
So, where d'ya wanna have dinner after this?
bravi, monaca di Monza, nobili, Renzo e Lucia, cavalli, soldati, Lanzechenecchi… tutti i personaggi de i Promessi Sposi, in giro per le strade di Lecco!
personaggi Manzoniani

see also: Corteo Manzoniano in Video