Opera Othello/ Otello by Rossini - English Libretto

English Libretto transcribed from: Othello: A Tragic Opera in Two Acts, as Performed at the New York Theatre

In Two Acts.

As Performed by the Garcia Troupe in New York in 1826, and the Italian Company at the Chesnut Street Theatre in 1833.
Composed by Rossini
PUBLISHED BY C. NEAL, No. 16 South Seventh St.

Othello, a Moor in the Service of Venice . Signor Garcia.
Desderaona, secretly espoused to Othello . Madame Barbiere.
Elrairo, a Venetian patrician, the father of Desderaona, and enemy to Othello . Signor Angrisani.
Roderigo, the rejected lover of Desderaona, son of the Doge . Signor Coslantino.
lago,thc pretended friend of Othello . Signor Garcia, Jr.
Emilia, confidant of Desdemona . Signora Garcia.
Doge . Signor Crivelli.
Followers of Othello.
Female attendants of Desdemona.

The Scene lies in Venice.


The scene represents the Piazzetta di S. Marco, at the extremity of which, between the two columns, is seen the people, who joyfully await the landing of Othello. Ships in the distance.
Doge, Elmiro, Senators; then Othello, Iago, Roderigo and Lucio, followed by Soldiers.

LONG live Othello ! long live our valiant And unconquered leader! Through him does Adria Shine again with new splendour. Valour in arms was his guide; Fortune combated at his side. The crescent of Odrissa has grown pale Beneath the lightning of his sword.

[Othello, having landed, advances towards the Doge, to the sound of military music, followed by Iago, Roderigo, and Lucio.

Oth. Fathers, we have conquered. Our perfidious enemies Have fallen to rise no more. I have rescued from their fury, Cyprus, the strength and defence of this soil, And have secured it from every future invasion. Nothing now remains for me to do. Here then I return you The dreaded sword, and place at your feet The arms and banners of the vanquished foe.

Doge. Ah ! with what reward-

Oth. Sufficiently am I compensated By the confidence you have reposed in me. A son of Africa, I am but a stranger here. But if there beats in this bosom A heart worthy of you ; if more than my native soil, This land claims my respect, admiration, and love. Let Adria own me as her son, I ask no more.

Iag. (How presumptuous a request ')

Rod. (How fatal to the wishes of my heart I)

Doge. Returned as conqueror, thou hast passed The bright goal of glory; let thine unconquered sword Repose at thy side, and, even now, as a son of Adria, come amid the voice of applause to crown Thy brow with the laurel so justly merited.

Rod. (Then shall I lose her I adore!)

[To logo.

Oth. Ah! yes, in your behalf I feel A new-born ardour animate my bosom. In your behalf the flame of valour Burns with fresh brightness in my heart. For a higher reward than this It is not allowed me to hope, (But then only shall I he happy When love crowns the wishes of my heart.)

People. Delay not: haste thee. O come away to triumph !

[Roderigo, transported with rage, is withheld by logo.

Iago. (Restrain thyself: let our revenge Be cautiously concealed.)

Oth. (O Love, disperse, the storm That has been the cause of all my woes. Upon thy pinions, Let hope he wafted to me.)

Senators and People.
Delay not: haste thee. O come away to triumph.

Exit Othello, followed by Senators and the People.

Elmiro, Iago, Roderigo.

Elm. Roderigo!

Rod. Elmiro ! oh, my father nay, allow me To call thee by this name, since my heart's best treasure From thee derived her existence. But what of Desdemona, what says she? Does she remember me? shall I he happy?

Elm. Ah, what can I say to thee ? She sighs, she weeps, but conceals from me The cause of her secret grief.

Rod. But in part, at least-

Elm. I cannot now delay. I hear the sound Of the warlike trumpet. To the public pomp I must now Hasten. We shall meet again; adieu!

Iago, Roderigo.

Rod. Heardst thou ?

Iag. I heard-

Rod. Can then Elmiro, Dazzled by the fallacious glory Of this presumptuous African - can he Degenerate from his ancestors, and to an unworthy alliance Sacrifice his only daughter ?

Iag. Ah! restrain, Restrain this impetuosity. Dost thou know Iago, And yet thus distrustest him? I have before my eyes All my wrongs, and thine own too; but it is by dissembling alone That we can avenge ourselves. If this wretched Outcast of Africa Has been able to rise so high, And, for thy beloved, has nourished A secret, but incautious, flame, I shall know how to oppose him. Behold these pledges I have carefully preserved ; fatal shall they prove to the haughty African.

[Showing a letter and a handkerchief.

Rod. What do I see! and can it be ?

Iag. For the present be silent: Thou shalt know all. The least delay might Render vain our attempt.

Rod. My heart fluctuates
Between hope, passion, and fear.

Iag. No. fear not: clear up That clouded brow;
Be it mine to avert the danger ; Repose on my friendship.

Rod. My overburthened soul
Derives comfort from thy lips, And i9 desirous to share The same lot with thee.
a 2
If in moments of sorrow
We have been united together, Hope in her sweet bonds Shall now unite us more closely.

Rod. Already I feel confidence Revive in my bosom.

Iag. My imagination pictures happiness As already in my grasp.
a 2
To a soul that is in anguish,
Anticipated pleasure Is rendered more grateful,
The more ardently it is desired.



A room in Elmiro's Palace.
Desdemona alone.

Des. Unhappy Desdemona! now when thy love Hastens to thee, and when thou shouldst rejoice, Deep and sorrow ful sighs Breathe from thy lips,
And in darkness thou dost pour the song of wo. Ah! the silence of Othello, and the ancient hatred Which my father cherishes in his breast,
Fill my heart with fear and alarm.
My soul throbs in uncertainty,
Calm has fled my bosom :
Come and witness if I love thee,
If I guard my faith to thee.
And then, secure of thy love,
My soul, I swear to thee,
Shall rise superior to fate Or die for thee.
Death would be welcome to me Were Othello not to be mine.
Oh! what torrents of tears Have I shed for thee,
Languishing far awa
yFrom the light of those dear eyes!
Every other object
Is painful to me ;
Every thing is joyless,
Every thing hateful to me For me the heavens No longer shine bright;
No star sheds around Its wonted splendour.


Emilia and the above.

Em. Unavailing is this grief; thy long sorrows Are changed into joy Loaded with laurels Thy beloved returns to us. Hark, how around Adria testifies its joy on this happy day !

Des. Ah, much do I fear, O heavens!
That he suspects me ! Thou dost well remember When thou didst cut off That lock of my hair. Alas! that dear gift Came not to the hands of Othello : my father Surprised the letter, which, with a trembling hand, I had written to him. He imagined it intended For his favouriti Roderigo, I favoured the delusion; But while the lip said it, the heart belied the words. From that day forth I have never received letters as usual
From him I adore. - A distracting doubt Agitates and confounds me-
Who knows? can he perchance have learnt That this pledge of love is in the hands of another? Can he then believe me faithless?

Em. What sayst thou ?
Love is timid, and frequently figures to itself An evil that exists not, or exists but fora moment.

Des. Would to heaven that thy imagination Did but tell me the truth !

Em. To thee it is ever sincere :
No, thou hast nothing to fear.

Des. But friendship oftentimes
Imagines that which it desires.

Em. A soul under affliction
Paints nothing to itself hut sadness. .

Des. Ah. willingly would I believe thy words!
But my heart gainsays thee.

Em. Nay, thou shouldest believe me,
And not trust that heart of thine.
a 2
Ah, how cruel are the pangs That love awakens in our bosoms !
Joy lasts but for a moment
Its sorrows are eternal.

Des. But what do I sec ! behold with hesitating step
The perfidious lago comes towards us:
Let us fly, let us avoid him . he might trace On my countenance the sorrows of love.



Iago, then Roderigo, and afterwards Elmiro.

lag. Thou fliest - thou despisest me: I no longer care
For the hand I sought-There was a time when I thought it
Useful to my wishes-Thou hast despised me For a vile African, and t his is enough.
Thou shalt repent thee, I swear it;
The secret pledges of love which I have carefully # kept
Shall all be made to serve my purpose.
But Roderigo returns ;
What has he to impart to me ?

Rod. Know'st thou where
I may find the father of my loved one ?
lag. See, he comes.

Elm. Roderigo, the fortunate moment has arrived
When the hand of my daughter Shall he given thee in marriage.

Rod. Ah, with what joy does the thought fill my bosom!
But shall I be so fortunate ?

Elm. I promise that thou shalt.

[Exeunt Rod and Iag.

At length I shall be revenged; no longer shall it be seen,
That a barbarian and a stranger shall presume to teach us,
O, humbling thought! to obey and serve him.
But my daughter approaches me.


Desdemona and Elmiro.

Des. Ah, father, permit me
Respectfully to kiss

Elm. Dearest daughter,
Come to my bosom. On this happy day I wish to share my joy with thee.

Des. (What may he mean ? I hope and fear.)

Elm. Banish all sorrow from thy bosom. I make thee an offer Which will prove grateful to thee.

Des. (Perchance,
The triumphs of Othello may have soothed his mind.)

Elm. In festive pomp,
And in the midst of the popular plaudits,
Prepare shortly to follow my steps. [Exit.


A ball magnificently adorned.
A Chorus of Ladies and Gentlemen, the friends and confidants of Elmiro; then Elmiro, Desdemona, Emilia, and Roderigo.

The whole Chorus.
O sacred Hymen ! love guides thee To unite two loving hearts.
It is thine to render eternal The sweet ardours of love.

Part of Chorus.
Without him, thy noble power Would degenerate into tyranny.

Another part.
Without him all the joys of love
Would but prove the occasion of sorrow.

Thrice happy moment!
At the view of such love and such valour, The mind remains filled with admiration,

Des. Where am 1 ! what do I behold !
Surely my heart has not betrayed me.

Elm. Place all th
yConfidence in me. I am thy father :
I cannot deceive thee. Pledge eternal faith To Roderigo: he deserves it, he alone Can render thee happy.

(What will she say ?---)

Emi. (How dreadful a command!)

Des. (Wretch that I am !)

Elm. Fulfil the wishes of my heart; I repose in thee.

Des. Oh nature! oh duty ! oh law! oh spouse!
Repose, oh beloved daughter,
In the heart of a loving father :
It is love that counsels me To consult thy happiness.

Rod. My soul is confused
Amidst a thousand distracting doubts:
At so trying a moment as this Love alone can support me.

Des. Father - is it thy will - oh heavens!
That I should accept his hand ?
(To affections so tyrannic as mine Who could resist ?)

Elm. (She hesitates ! - alas! - she. sighs !
What have I not to fear !)

Rod. Canst thou, my beloved one,
Cause such anguish to this heart?

Des. Prithee peace!-

Elm. (What do I sec!)

Rod. (She scorns me'J

Elm. (She resists !)

Rod. Des. a2 (Oh heavens ! I implore Pity and aid at thy hands.)

Elm. Come, swear.

Des. What dost thou command ?

Rod. Ah come-

Des. What anguish!
Elm. If thou yield not to thy father,
He will know how to punish thee.

Rod. Let Love whisper to thy heart:
Be not unfaithful to me:
Constant to thee, this soul Can else taste of peace no more.

Elm. Let the love of a father
Serve as an example to thee:
Repose in thy father,
Who else can taste of peace no more.

Des. The rigour of fate
Overwhelms me with affliction : Unless faithful to him I can taste of peace no more.


xOthello at the extremity of the Stage, followed, by some of his Companions, and the above.

Oth. The ungrateful one ! alas, what do I see ?
Beside my rival!-

Elm. Daughter!

Rod. Let my tears move thee;
Let my anguish soften thee !

Elm. Resolve-

Oth. I can resist no longer!

Attend. Withhold-

Elm. Ungrateful daughter!

Rod. Des. a 2 (O heavens ! who will counsel me ? ( Who will support my fainting heart I

All. From so severe a destiny Who can rescue her?

Elm. Come, swear-

Oth. Ah! hold-

All. Othello!

My heart freezes within me!

Elm. What wouldst thou ?

Her heart-
Love gave it me,
And love demands it, Elmiro, from thee.

Elm. What presumption!

Des. What anguish o

Rod. Thou haughty spirit!

Oth. to Des.) Remember - reserve to me
Thy faith inviolate.
od. And what right hast thou,
Perfidious man ! to dispute with me That heart, and strive To render it unfaithful ?

Oth. Virtue, constancy, love ;
The oath she pledged me.

Elm. Wretch that I am, what do I hear!
Thy oath ?

Des. It is true: I have sworn-

Elm. Rod a 2 Inexorable Heaven
Has exhausted its bolts upon me !

Elm. Come-

Oth. Hold-

Rod. In vain
Dost thou seek to be united to my foe-

Elm. Wretched woman ! my curse be on thee-

All. Alas! what a day of horror!

My mind fluctuates In cruel uncertainty;
My heart bids adieu To the sweets of hope.

Rod. Away, cruel one !

Oth. I despise thee ! (To Rod.

Des. Father-

Elm. It is too late for pardon.

Rod. Soon shalt thou see who I am.

Oth. Learn to dread my anger!

All. I rage, I rave, I tremble with alarm.
Never did the severities Of destiny light more severely On a devoted head !

[Elmiro takes Desdemona and leads her away. She retires, casting a look of tenderness on Othello.




A Room in the House of Elmiro. Roderigo and Desdkmoisa.

Des. LEAVE me.

Rod. Are then my sorrows
Ineffectual ?-and the anger of thy father?

Des. Ah, hence!
It is through thee alone I am miserable.

Rod. O heavens!
Say not so - let me but behold those eyes Beam in mildness upon rae, and I promise thee,
My hearth fair idol, to do whatever thou demandest.

Des. Ah, then appease the anger of my father; Restore to me his love; show that in that bosom Thou dost bear a great and generous soul.

Rod. But Othello, thou dost adore Othello !

Des. I am his wife.

Rod. What do I hear ! ah ! what hast thou said ? And hast thou no pity On the torments I endure,
On my slighted love ?
But if thou dost persevere In thy cruel rigour;
If thou despisest my entreaties,
And art deaf to my just complaints,
1 shall know how with this arm To sever the secret tie,
And punish the traitor.



Emilia and Desdemona.

Emi. "What has happened ? heavens ! why dost thou tremble thus ?

Des. "I shall lose for ever the idol of my heart!

Emi. "Who will tear him from thee?

Des. "His rival, Roderigo.
"I revealed to him that I was his wife-

Emi. "Ah, what hast thou done?

Des. "Repentance is now too late:
"At so fatal a moment as this,
"There is but one way open to me, by which I can reach him in safety.

Emi. "But if thou art surprised; if thy father-

Des. "I heed it not; I rise superior to fear ;
"His danger alone is present to my thought.
"Let me save him-my duty bids me do it."



A Garden in the House of Othello.
Othello sealed, in the greatest agitation, and Iago.

Iag. Why thus sad ?-arouse thyself. Ah, show Thyself Othello once again.

Oth. Leave me a pre
yTo the severity of my fate.

Iag. Of its rigour
Thou hast doubtless cause to complain ;
But it ill becomes thee, hostile as is thy destiny,
To disgrace us by falling unrevenged.

Oth. What wouldst thou have me to do ?

Iag. Hear me-why thus pensive ?
Be thyself again-thy triumphs Are sufficient to support thee-are sufficient
To abash thine enemies-to make thee Despise every other affection.

Oth. How terrible are thy words!
Thy hesitating manner, thy doubts.
Thy changeful brow ;
How deep an emotion have they awakened In my breast! Explain thyself. Ah ! keep me not In such cruel uncertainty.

Iag. More I cannot tell thee: more thou Shouldst not require my lips to utter.

Oth. Should not require !-Oh heavens ! how does
Thy silence increase my alarm!-Ah, perchance The faithless one !-

Iag. Nay, why seek
For fresh occasions of sorrow ?

Oth. Torture me no longer. I shall be less wretched If I learn the whole truth.

Iag. Well, then,
Dost thou wish it ? I will satisfy thee-what do I say ?-A chill o'erspreads me!

Oth. Nay, speak out at once.

Iag. Of what a secret am
I the bearer!
But friendship demands it;
I yield to the call of friendship. Know then-

Oth. Ah, hold, hold !-
Alas ! I comprehend all.

Iaq. And what wilt thou do ?

Oth. Avenge myself, or perish.

Iag. Perish thou must not ?
And in treating her with scorn thou wilt have sufficient revenge.

Oth. But not that terrible and fierce revenge Which I desire, and which love demands-
But I am not certain of her crime.


Ah, should it be so !-wo betide thee-Thou, Iago.
Thou dost understand me ; to betray me
Would be no less a crime in thee.

Iag. Of what art thou thinking ?
I am all confusion-this pledge -
This letter for me will-

[gives him a letter.

Oth. Whit do I see ? O heavens!
Yes, her own hand it was that traced
These fatal characters of love.
I am not deceived ; this letter
The faithless one has sent to mv rival-
I can no longer restrain my feelings !--What anguish rends my bosom !

Iag. (Already has fierce jealousy Poured out all his poison To infect his bosom
And guides me to triumph.)

Oth. (reads) My dear love-and durst the ungrateful one!

Iag. (AH his soul is painted on his hrow.)

Oth. To thee am I faithful-Ah! what do I read?
What agonies do I f"-el in my heart!

Iag. (What joy do I feel in my heart!)

Oth. Thou didst name a pledge-O heavens !

Iag. (The flame of his wrath increases.)

Oth. Where is the horrid pledge ?

Iag. Behold it-It is with horror I give it thee !

[gives him a handkerchief

Oth. No, a soul more cruel-

Iag. (No, a soul more gratified-)
a 2 Could no where be found !

Oth. My heart is rent asunder By cruelly such as this.

Iag. (Heaven smiles propitious on me :
Yes, perish the wretch !)

Oth. What ought 1 to do ?

Iag. Be composed.

Oth. In vain dost thou hope it.

Iag. What sayest thou.

Oth. Urged on by the avenging furies,
I shall know how to punish her.

Iag. And wilt thou attempt it ?

Oth. I swear it.

Iag. And love-

Oth. I am reckless now of that.

Iag. Take confidence ; and soon I will Humble thy enemies;

Oth. I have nothing more malignant To dread from the severity of fate :
I shall die, but avenged ;
Yes-after her I shall die.

Iag. (I have nothing farther to dread From the severity of fate :
Now am I revenged ;
Now shall I triumph.)



Othello alone, then Roderigo.

Oth. And could her deceitful heart Lead her to do this !- but who comes ?
Roderigo-what wouldst thou with me ?

Rod. I come to thee
As thy enemy, if thou so wishest it:
But if thou wilt yield to my request,
As thy friend and defender.

Oth. I am not used
To lie and betray. I despise thee,
Friend or foe.

Rod. (Oh what presumption!) [aside.
Knowest thou me not as yet ?

Oth. Yes, I know thee.
And therefore it is I fear thee not;
Scorn, I repeat it, is alj I feel towards thee.

Rod. Come on then, with thy blood I will avenge my wrongs :
If a foolish love inflame thee,
I shall know how to extinguish it.

Oth. Shortly shalt thou see what just
Indignation I carry in my bosom Yes, I will at once be revenged Upon her, and upon thee.
a 2.
What joy ! to arms, to arms'.
Already I seem to behold
The traitor weltering on the earth.


Desdkmona, and the above. ,

Des. Alas! hold-hear me- [arresting them.
Strike to this heart alone,
The cause of all these ills.
a 3.

Rod. Oth. What a moment of agony is this !
The unfaithful one before me !
She has all her infidelity Depicted on her countenance.

Des. What a moment of agony is this;
The ungrateful one before me Changes not his countenance!
Wretch that I am! what will become of me?

Oth. Come, follow me.

Rod. I follow' thee.

Oth. At length I am avenged.

Des. Hold!-

Oth. Hence!

Des. What torture is this! What unsparing barbarity !
a 3.
Oth. Rod. Des. Beneath such overwhelming woes This soul is driven to madness;
Love gives place to wrath;
The heart breathes nothings but vengeance,
Beneath such overwhelming woes,
This soul, driven even to madness,
Even now flutters on my lip:
I feel my spirit fail me
(she faints


Emilia and the above; then a Chorus of the People,
afterwards Elmiro.

Emi. What do I see! it is Desdemona! she has swooned away-
The paleness of death is on her countenance.
Wretch ! what shall I do ; who will aid me ?
Where shall I seek for help ?
O thou, the dearer half of my soul,
Hear me! return to this bosom-
Thy friend calls thee-alas, she answers not!
Her bosom and her hand are cold?-Who has snatched her from me?
Where is the barbarian ?-would to heaven!-what do I see !-
She opens her languid eyes. O heavens, I breathe again!

Des. Who art thou?-

Emi. Dost thou not know me !

Des. Emilia.

Emi. Yes, yes ; the same, the same.
Surrounded as thou art with perils,
Come, follow my footsteps;
Save thyself for pity's sake.

Des. But shall I ever
Rehold him again?-embrace him again ?-ah, if thou knowest not,
Go, seek, find him-

Emi. And whom dost thou seek ?
I know not.

Des. Confused, overwhelmed,
I no longer recoguise my former self!
What delirium! alas, what anguish !
Who will succour me ? O heavens!
And am I then doomed for ever
To lose the idol of my heart!
Cruel, unpitying powers!
If ye tear him from me,
At least save him : kill me at once:
I shall die content.
Ah, tell me, you at least-

[To the Chorus entering.

Cho. What wouldst thou know?

Des. If the treasure of my heart still lives.

Cho. He lives, clear that sorrowful brow-

Des. Is he then safe from danger ?-
My heart asks no more.

Elm,. What, here !-worthless woman !

Des. My father!

Elm: Hast thou no shame
Of having betrayed my honour?'

Cho. O heavens! what new horror is this?

Des. Have compassion on me,
And pardon the errors of an unhappy woman: . o
If my father desert me,
Where am I to look for pity ?

Elm. No, thou art unworthy of pity ;
Thou shall shortly see. ungrateful one, What punish mint is reserved For those who abandon their duty,

Des. How my heart throbs in my bosom !
At that look of severity 1 can no longer contain myself.

Elm. Hate, fury, indignation,
Have changed every feeling of pity In this bosom into cruelty.

Cho. If she cherishes in her bosom An unlawful affection,
Such cruelty is just

[Exit Chorvs with JDesdemona.


Elmiro and Emilia.

Emi " Ah, hold, Sir!
[retaining him.

Elm. Leave me, worthless woman !
" Thou whom I believed so prudent,
" Whom with full confidence " I ever left at the side of Desdemona, a Hast, as a partner in her infamy,
Thyself betrayed me; and now thou presumest To retain me here.

Emi. " Hear me ! ah, I tremble with alarm !"

Elm. Thou dost tremble, art confounded, and abashed
Dost fix thine eyes on the earth.

Emi. Sir!

Elm. ' Speak:
Clear up a horrid doubt-Is the measure Of my shame filled up ? Is she the victim Of the base Othello ?

Emi. Ah! Sir,
She is his spouse.

Elm. Spouse ! but how
Did she contrive to elude my vigilance ?
What presumptuous priest united their hands?
Go, in vain thou wouldst deceive a wounded heart: I have decided ; let me hence.

Emi. Whither?

Elm. To the senate.

Emi. Nay, hold !

Elm. I am deaf to thy entreaties.

Emi. Ah, for pity's sake !

Elm. I demand vengeance.

Emi. Ah, Sir!

Elm. She has destroyed my honour.

Emi. It is not true.

Elm. I believe thee not.
My vengeance shall light On her vile seducer.

Emi. No, thy honour is unsullied :
I swear it to thee ; heaven knows it.
a 2.
Heaven grant me/him to believe
If my/her lip speak the truth,
It is still capable
Of restoring peace to this bosom.

Elm. Show me then
Where was the altar;
From whom received she Counsel and aid ?

Emi. In presence of heaven,
Was the sacred rite performed. Fulfilled was every duty By love and faith.

Elm. Explain ; I will have it so.

Emi. No, I cannot.

Elm. Then, perfidious one, farewell!

Emi. Stop-ah, woe is me !
Thou shall be satisfied ;
Thou shalt know all.
Alone, in the garden,
Go and await me ;
Alone and unseen I will meet thee;
And there will reveal The whole to thee.
a 2.
All! a ray of comfort Breaks serenely upon me To calm my bosorn :
My soul breathes again :
And joy and love Console my sorrows.


A Bedchamber.
Emilia, Desdemona, in simple attire, stretched on a seat, and buried in the deepest grief.

Des. Alas!

Emi. Oppressed with grief,
She seems out of herself!

[A Gondolier is heard at a distance, who sings a soft air.

Gon. " Their is no greater woe,
" Than in hours of deep distress,
" To recal past happiness." [Dante.)

[On hearing the song. Deesdemona raises herself

Des. Oh, how do those sounds Penetrate to my inmost heart'

[She rises, and with transport flies to the window.

Who art thou that singest thus? - Ah, thou dost remind me Of my unhappy lot!

Emi. It is the gondolier, who with a song beguiles His way on the placid lake.
Thinking of his sons, as he sees the sky beginning
to overcast ' %

Des. Isaura! Isaura !

Emi. " She calls her friend,
Who was brought a slave from Africa, and whom " She imagines near to her, but who is no more.

Des. "Thou, too, wert unhappy "Like myself, but now thou reposest in peace.

Emi. "O how true it is, that, to a heart oppressed with wo,
"The sorrows of others easily attacli themselves."

Des. O thou sweet soother of my woes,

[Takes her harp.

Again I resume thee;
And in my plaintive song
I mingle the sigh of Isaura and my own sorrows:

Seated at the foot of a willow.
Immersed in grief,
Complained the hapless Isaura,
A prey to relentless Jove ;
The breeze amid the mournful branches Repeated the sound.
The lucid rills o Mingled the murmur Of their passing waves o
With her burning sighs:
The breeze and the mournful branches Repeated the sound.
O willow, thou favourite of love,
Lend thy pitying shade,
When hushed are all my sorrows,
To my sad urn :
When the breeze no more repeats The sound of my lament.

What have 1 said !-Ah, I was wrong!-This is not the end
Of the melancholy song. Hear me-O Heavens!

(a blast shatters some of the panes of the window.

What noise is that!
What fatal presage!

Emi. Fear not! look,
It is only the wind that blew' with violence.

Des. I thought that some one-Oh, how heaven Sympathizes in my laments!-
Listen to the end of this plaintive ditty.
But wearied at length of pouring forth Her sighs and laments,
Alas! the afflicted virgin Breathed her last under that willow !
She breathed her last. How sad! the ungrateful man Alas, I am unable to continue
The melancholy song;! Go, receive From the lips of thy friend her last kiss.

Emi. Ah, what say'st thou !-I obey - Ob, what trembling seizes me! [Exit.

Des. Oh, calm, ye heavens, in slumber
For a while at least, my sorrows; Grant that the beloved of my heart May come to console me.
But, if my prayers are. vain,'
Let him shortly come at least To bathe with his tears Tile dust within my urn.

[She draws the curtain, and throws her self on the bed.


Othello enters the chamber of Dksdemona by a secret door, holding in the one hand a lighted Lamp, and in the other a dagger ; lastly, Lucio.

Oth. Alone and unobserved I have reached The fatal chamber-lago has rescued me From the danger that awaited me. He knew how To guide my footsteps hither.

(He remains for a moment lost in thought, then looks carefully around.

This silence declares That, secure of my departure,
She dreams of my rival, and cares no more for me.

(looking towards the curtains of the bed.

How much thou art deceived ! soon shall he lie stretched on the earth-
What have I said ! - No, never let my criminal wish be fulfilled!

[He advances softly towards the bed, and opens the curtains in the greatest agitation.

What do I see ! alas!-those eyes, though closed, Speak to my heart! that face, on which Nature has impressed the sweetest expression of entreaty.
Overcomes and disarms me !

(confused he retires from the bed.

But if she is no longer mine-why spare her?
Let her perish !-and yet where can

(again approaching the bed.

Another such he found !

(again he withdraws.

rom her perplexed and irresolute. Hers is the fault,
If, dreading the sight of me,
She keeps at a distance from me. Why, barbarous heaven !
Didst thou not give me a countenance on which my heart ,
Might have been seen pictured ? then, perchance- What do I suy ! - Does not her treachery Merit my rigour? Let the worthless one die! -

(again approaching the bed.

All, my hand trembles still: cruel delay !

(looking at the light.

Behold the cause-put out the light. O night

(he places the lamp on the ground.

That with thy darkness shouldst eternally Veil this brow to cover the horror Of this unhappy day !

Des. (in her sleep.) My dear beloved !

Oth. What do I hear! Ah, that name!
Sleeps she, or is she awake ?

(A flash of lightning that passes across the window shows him that she ie asleep.

Ah, heaven with its lightnings Shows me more clearly her crime,
And invites me to complete my vengeance.

[A loud clap of thunder is heard. Desdemona awakes, and amid the frequent fashes of lightning recognises Othello.
Wretch !

Des. Ah, what do I see
How earnest thou hither !
And canst thou ? but no-contented I offer thee My defenceless bosom,
If that soul is dead to the voice of pity-

Oth. Thou has betrayed it, cruel one!

Des. I am innocent
th. And darest thou still, perjured one-
I can contain no longer.

[The storm increases; the peals of thunder succeed each other with violence.

Des. O heaven, if thou punishest me
Thy severity is just.

[The thunder ceases, but the lightnings continue.

Oth. Darest thou thus insult me !
And do I still withhold my hand ?

Des. Kill me-haste thee, cruel man I To satiate thy vengeance.

Oth. Be my vengeance appeased!

[He stabs her.

Des. Ah me!-

Oth. Die, faithless one!

[Othello withdraws from the bed in the greatest disorder and dread : seeks to conceal his crime, and the object of his
grief by drawing the curtains of the bed. After a short silence, a knocking is heard.

What do I hear!-Who knocks?

Luc. Othello!

Oth. That voice !-
O fierce remorse
Hide thyself in this heart.

[Othello opens the door.

Oth. Roderigo ?

Luc. . Is safe.

Oth. And Iago ?

Luc. . Has perished.

Oth. ' Ah, who punished him ?

Luc. Heaven and love.

Oth. What say'st thou-and dost thou believer

Luc. He himself, surprised,
Revealed his deceit,
And perfidious attempts.

Oth. What do I hear ?-

Luc. - Yes, all parties
Are now satisfied.

Oth. Under such a weight of anguish
I can no longer contain myself!


Elmilo, Roderigo, with attendants, and the above

Luc. Ah, yes? the Senate
Has pardoned your fault.

Elm. I now return appeased
As a father to thy bosom.

Rod. The perfidious Iago
Has changed my resentment Into affection :
I yield to thee thy heart's treasure.

Oth. What anguish!

Cho. What joy!

Rod. Receive in thy heart The public love.
And my friendship.

Elm. The hand of my daughter-

Oth The hand of thy daughter !


Yes-I must be united to her-
Behold !-

(Opens the curtains.

Elm. What do I see !-

Oth, I thus punish myself!-

(He kills himself:

All. Ah!

Source:  Transcription from

Italian Libretto available from http://opera.stanford.edu/iu/libretti/rotello1.html (Aug2018)

Last updated: Feb. 14, 1997
Go to the Libretto Homepage
By: Gioachino Rossini
Atto Primo

Scena: Un atrio apparato, in fondo del quale fra alcuni archi vedesi il lido coperto di popolo, che attende festoso lo sbarco di Otello. Navi in distanza. Doge, Elmiro and Senatori seduti.

Viva Otello, viva il prode,
delle schiere invitto duce!
Or per lui di nuova luce
torna l'Adria a sfolgorar.
Lui guidò virtù fra l'armi
militò con lui fortuna.
Si oscurò l'Odrisia luna
del suo brando al fulminar.
[ Sbarcato Otello, si avanza verso il Doge al suono d'una marcia militare, seguito da Iago,e da Rodrigo. ]

Vincemmo, o prodi, I perfidi nemici
caddero estinti. Al lor fuoror ritolsi
sicura ormai d'ogni futura offesa
Cipro, di questo suol
forza e difesa.
Null'altro a oprar mi resta. Ecco vi rendo
l'aaciar temuto; e delle vinte schiere
depongo al vostro piede armi e bandiere.
Qual premio al tuo valor chieder potrai?

Mi compensaste assai
nell'affidarvi in me. D'Africa figlio,
quí straniero son io; ma se ancor serbo
un cor degno di voi, se questo suolo
puì che patria rispetto, ammiro, ed amo,
m'abbia l'Adria qual figlio: altro non bramo.

(Che superba richiesta!)

(Ai voti del mio cor fatale è questa.)

Tu d'ogni gloria il segno
vincitor trascorresti. Il brando invitto
riponi al fianco, e già dell'Adria figlio
vieni trai i plausi a coronar il crine
del meritato alloro.

RODRIGO [ a Iago ]
(Che ascolto? ahimè! perduto ho il mio tesoro.)

IAGO [ a Rodrigo ]
(Taci, non disperar.)

Confusio io sono
a tante prove e tante
d'un generoso amor. Ma meritarle
poss'io, che nacqui sotto ingrato cielo,
d'aspetto, e di costumi
sì diverso da voi?

Nascon per tutto,e rispettiam gli eroi.

Ah! sì, per voi già sento
nuovo valor nel petto:
Per voi d'un nuovo affetto
sento infiammarsi il cor.
Premio maggior di questo
a me sperar no lice.

(Ma allor sarò felice
quando il coroni Amor.)
[ Rodrigo nel massimo dispetto si vorebbe scagliare su di Otello: Iago lo trattiene. ]

IAGO [ a Rodrigo ]
(T'affrena, la vendetta
cauti dobbiam celar.)

Non indugiar,
deh vieni a trionfar.
(Amor, dirada il nembo
cagion di tanti affani;
comincia coi tuoi vanni
la speme a ravvivar.)

Ah! sì, per voi già sento, ecc.

Non indugiar, t'affretta,
deh vieni a trionfar.

[ Parte Otello sequito dai Senatori e dal popolo. ]

[ Entra Elmiro; Iago va in disparte. ]
Rodrigo! . . .

Elmiro! ah padre mio! deh! lascia
che un tal nome ti dia, se al mio tesoro
desti vita sì cara.
Ma che fa mai Desdemona? . . . che dice? . . .
Sì ricorda di me? . . . sarò felice?

Ah! che dirti poss'io?
Sospira, piange, e la cagion mi cela
dell'occulto suo duol.

Ma in parte almeno . . .

Arrestarmi non posso; odi lo squillo
delle trombe guerriere:
Alla pubblica pompa ora degg'io
volgere il piè; ci rivedremo: addio.
[ Parte. ]

RODRIGO [ a Iago ]

Udii . . .

Dunque abbagliato Elmiro
dalla gloria fallace
dell'Afro insultator, potrebbe ei forse,
degenerar dagli avi, a un nodo indegno
sagrificar l'unica figlia?

Ah, frena,
frena gl'impeti alfin . . . Iago conosci,
e diifidi così? Tutti ho presenti
i miei torti, ed i tuoi: ma sol fingendo
vendicarci saprem. Se quell-indegno,
dell'Africa rifiuto,
or qui tant'alto ascese,
e pel tuo ben s'accese
d'occulta, incauta fiamma,
oppormi a lui saprò. Sol questo foglio.
basta a domare il suo crudele orgoglio.
[ Gli porge un foglio. ]

Che leggo? e come mai . . .

Per or t'accheta.
Tutto saprai: ogni ritardo or puote
render vana l'impresa.

Onedggia il core
fra la speme, lo sdegno ed il timore.

No, non temer, serena
l'addolorato ciglio:
Prevenni al tuo periglio,
fidati all'amistà.

Calma sui labbri tuoi
trova quest'alma opressa,
ed una sorte istessa
con te dividerà.

Se uniti negli affani
noi fummo un tempo insieme,
ora una dolce speme
più stretti ci unirà, sì sì.

Nel seno già sento
risorger l'ardire.

Vicino il contento
mi pinge il pensier.

A un'alma, che pena
si rende più grato
quant' è più bramato,
atteso piacer.
[ Partono. ]


Scene: A room in Elmiro's residence.
Inutile è quel pianto. Il lungo affanno
sì transformi in piacer. Carco di allori
a noi riede il tuo bene. Odi d'intorno
come l'Adria festeggia un sì bel giorno.

Emilia, ah tu ben sai
quanto finor penai,
come quest'alma
al racconto fedel del suo periglio,
del suo valore, palpitando, incerta,
si piangea sul mio ciglio,
e fra i palpiti miei, fra le mie pene,
quante volte dicea: Perchè non viene?
Ed or ch' è me vicino
mi veggo in preda al più crudel destino.

E perchè mai?

Sì, questa sua gloria accresce
in me per lui l'affetto,
come nel padre mio l'odio e il dispetto.

Sicura del suo core, ogni altra tema
inutile si rende.

Ah! ch'io pavento
ch'ei sospetti di me. Ben ti sovviene
quando parte tu stessa
del mio crin recidesti. Ah! che ad Otello
dono sì caro allor non giunse; il padre
soprese il foglio, ch'io con man tremante
a lui vergava. Al suo Rodrigo invece
diretto il crede: io secondai l'errore;
ma il labbro il disse,
e lo smentiva il core.
Fin da quel di dell'idol mio le usate
note più non rividi . . . un dubbio atroce
m'agita, mi confonde . . .
Chi sa? conobbe ei forse
pegno sì dolce in mano altrui? me infida
crede dunque? . . .

Che dici?
Timido è Amore, e spesso si figura
un mal che non esiste, o che non dura.

Vorrei, che il tuo pensiero
a me dicesse il ver.

Sempre è con te sincero:
No, che non dei temer.

Ma l'amistà sovente
ciò, che desia, si finge.

Ma un'anima languente
sempre il dolor si pinge.

Ah! crederti vorrei,
ma a te s'oppone il cor.

Credere a me tu dei
e non fidarti al cor.
Ah, credi a me.

Quanto son fieri i palpiti
che desta a noi l'amor!
Dura un momento il giubilo,
eterno è il suo dolor.

Ma che miro? ecco che incerto i passi
muove il perfido Iago;
fuggiam, si eviti; ei rintracciar potria
sul mio volto l'amor, la pena mia.
[ Partono. - Entra Iago. ]

Fuggi . . . sprezzami pur: più non mi curo
della tua destra . . . un tempo a' voti miei
utile io la credei . . . Tu mi sprezzasti
per un vile Africano, e ciò ti basti.
Ti pentirai, lo giuro:
Tutti servir dovranno a' miei disegni
gl'involati d'amor furtivi pegni.
Ma che veggo! Rodrigo!

RODRIGO [ Entrando ]
Ah, del mio bene
il genitor dov'è?

Miralo, ei viene.

[ Entra Elmiro. ]

Giunto è, Rodrigo, il fortunato istante,
in cui dovrai di sposo
dar la destra a mia figlia.
L'amistà mel consiglia,
il mio dover, la tua virtude,
e quel odio ch'io serbo
per l'African superbo.
Insiem congiunti
per sangue, e per amor, facil ne fia
opporci al suo poter. Ma tu procura
al padre tuo, che invitto e amato siede
in su l'Adriaco suolo,
svelar le trame, e il suo nascosto orgoglio.

Ah! sì, tutto farò.

Iago, t'affretta
a compir l'Imeneo. A parte sei
delle mie brame, e dei disegni miei.
[ Iago pate. ]

Ah di qual gioia sento acceso il mio petto!
Ma saro felice?

Io tel prometto.

[ Rodrigo parte. ]

Vendicarmi dovrò; né più si vegga,
che un barbaro stranier con modi indegni
ad ubbidrlo, ed a servir ne insegni.
Ma la figlia a me vien . . .

[ Entra Desdemona. ]

Padre, permetti,
che rispettosa io baci . . .

Ah! figlia, vieni,
vieni al mio seno. In questo fausto giorno
dividere vo'teco il mio contento.

(Che mai dirmi potrà? spero e pavento. )

Dal sen saccia ogni duol. Un premio or t'offro
che caro a te sarà.

(Forse d'Otello l'han calmato i trionfi?)

In vaga pompa
seguirmi or tu dei
tra novella allegria i passi miei.
[ Parte. - Entra Emilia. ]

Comprender io non so, confusa io sono.
Emilia, in quali tumulti sento il povero cor!

Che avvenne?

Il padre un premio m'offre e vuole
che il seno, il crine pomposamente adorno
festeggi insiem con lui sì fausto giorno.
Fra la speme e il timor che mi consigli?

Fingon gli amanti ognor nuovi perigli,
ma tu non paventar.
Chi sa d'un padre l'amore in lui parlò.
Forse d'Otello alla gloria offuscato
ha l'odio fine in amistà cangiato.
Vieni, non indugiar.

Ti seguo. Oh Dio,
palpita intanto il povero cor mio.

Scena: Sala magnificamente adorna.

[ Damigelle, amici e confidenti d'Elmiro. ]

Santo Imen! te guida Amore
due bell'alme ad annodar.
Dell'amore il dolce ardore
tu procura di eternar. -
Senza lui divien tiranno
il tuo nobile poter. -
Senza te cagion di affano
è d'amore ogni piacer. -
Qual momento di contento!
Tra l'amore ed il valore
resta attonito il pensier!

[ Entrano Elmiro, Desdemona, Emilia e Rodrigo con suo seguito. ]

Dove son? Che mai veggio?
Il cor non mi tradi!

Tutta or riponi
la tua fiducia in me. Padre a te sono:
Ingannarti non posso. Eterna fede
giura a Rodrigo: egli la merta; ei solo
può renderti felice.

Che mai dirà? . . .

Qual cenno!

(Oh me infelice!)

Appaga i voti, miei, in te riposo.

(Oh natura! oh dover! oh legge! oh sposo!)

Nel cor d'un padre amante
riposa, amata figlia,
è Amor, che mi consiglia
la tua felicità.

Confusa è l'alma mia
fra tanti dubbi e tanti;
soli in sì fieri istanti
reggermi Amor potrà.

Padre . . . tu brami . . . oh Dio! tremo . . .
che la sua mano accetti?
(A 'miei tiranni affetti
chi mai resisterà?)

S'arresta! . . . ahimè! . . . sospira!
Che mai temer degg'io?

Tanto soffrir, ben mio,
tanto il mio cuor dovrà?

Deh taci!

Che veggo?

Mi sprezza!


Oh ciel! da te chieggo
soccorso, pietà.

Deh giura.

Che chiedi?

Ah vieni . . .

Che pena!

Se al padre non cedi,
punirti saprà.

Ti parli d'amore:
Non essermi infida.
Quest'alma a te fida
più pace non ha.

D'un padre l'amore
ti serva di guida:
Al padre t'affida
che pace non ha.

Di sorte il rigore
a pianger mi guida.
Quest'alma a lui fida
più pace non ha.

Ti parli d'amore, ecc.

[ Entra Otello nel fondo della scena, seguito da alcuni suoi compagni. ]

L'infida, ahimè che miro?
Al mio rivale accanto! . . .


Ti muova il pianto mio,
ti muova il mio dolor.

ELMIRO [ a Desdemona ]
Risolvi . . .

Io non resisto!


Ingrata figlia!

Oh, Dio! chi mi consiglia?
Chi mi dà forza al cor?

Al rio destin rubello
chi mai sottrarla può?

Deh giura . . .

OTELLO [ avanzandosi ]
Ah ferma . . .

Otello! . . .
Il core in sen gelò!

Che brami?

Il suo core . . .
Amore mel diede,
e Amore lo chiede,
Elmiro, da te.

Che ardire!

Che affanno!

Qual'alma superba!

OTELLO [ a Desdemona ]
Rammenta . . . mi serba
intatta la fè.

E qual dritto mai,
perfido! su quel core
vantar con me potrai,
per renderlo infedel?

Virtù, costanza, e amore,
il data giuramento . . .

Misero me! che sento?

È ver: giurai . . .

Per me non hai più fulmini,
inesorabil Ciel!



l'avrai tu, mio nemico . . .

Figlia! . . . ti maledico . . .

Ah! . . . che giorno d'orror!
Incerta l'anima
vacilla e geme,
la dolce speme
fuggi dal cor.

Parti, crudel.

Ti sprezzo.

[ Elmiro prende Desdemona, e protetto da suoi, la conduce via. Ella rimirando con dolcezza Otello, s'allontana da lui. ]

Padre! . . .

Non v' è perdono.

Or or vedrai chi sono.

Paventa il mio furor!

Smanio, deliro e tremo.
No, non fu mai più fiero
d'un rio destin severo
il barbaro tenor!

Fine dell un atto.

Entered by: Stephen L. Parker 20 May 1996.

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