Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Sevilla

Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Sevilla (The Barber of Seville) was first performed in Paris in 1819.  The aria that the young and recently widowed Marie-Caroline de Bourbon sings while she and Sophie are strolling through the gardens of the Hotel Biron is Contro un cor che accende amore.

This magnetic young woman’s husband, Charles Ferdinand d’Artois, was the nephew of King Louis XVIII and was killed outside the Paris Opera House in early 1820. Seven months later Marie-Caroline gave birth to a son, Henri Charles Ferdinand Marie Dieudonné d’Artois, at his birth third in line to the French throne.  The French Royalists considered him a gift from God. (Dieudonné means given by God). (Marie-Caroline caused scandal when she dared to swim in the ocean–an unheard-of activity for a woman in France; Marie d’Agoult was with her . . . )

Below are the lyrics to the aria.  You can watch and hear Beverly Sills perform it on the following YouTube link—and there are English supertitles!

Contro un cor
che accende amore
di verace, invitto ardore,
s’arma invan poter tiranno
di rigor, di crudelta’.
D’ogni assalto vincitore
sempre amor trionfera’.
Ah Lindoro, mio tesoro,
se sapessi, se vedessi!
Questo cane di tutore,
ah, che rabbia che mi fa!
Caro, a te mi raccomando,
tu mi salva, per pieta’.

Non temer, ti rassicura;
sorte amica a noi sara’.

Dunque spero?

A me t’affida.

E il mio cor?


Cara immagine ridente,
dolce idea d’un lieto amore,
tu m’accendi in petto il core,
tu mi porti a delirar.

Side note: The opera includes the character Figaro, the hero’s manservant and the source of one of the most famous arias in all opera.



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