Habanera (aria)

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For the Cuban dance popular in the 19th century, see Habanera (music). For other uses, see Habanera (disambiguation).
Vocal Range: Music ClefG.svgMusic 4d1.svgMusic 4f2+.svg
Tessitura: Music ClefG.svgMusic 4d1.svgMusic 4d2.svg
Opening theme to the Habanera
Courtesy of Musopen

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Habanera, the popular name for "L'amour est un oiseau rebelle" (Love is a rebellious bird), is one of the most famous arias from Georges Bizet's 1875 opera Carmen. It is the entrance aria of the title character, a mezzo-soprano role, in scene 5 of the first act. The vocal range covers D4 to F5 with a tessitura from D4 to D5.

The score of this aria was adapted from the habanera "El Arreglito", originally composed by the Spanish musician Sebastián Yradier. Bizet thought it to be a folk song; when others told him he had used something that had been written by a composer who had died only ten years earlier, he had to add a note to the vocal score of Carmen, acknowledging its source.[1]

The French libretto was written by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy. It is based on a descending chromatic scale followed by variants of the same phrase in first the minor and then the major key, corresponding to the vicissitudes of love expressed in the lyrics.

Text[edit]

Lyrics in parentheses are sung by the chorus.

[spoken intro]
Quand je vous aimerai?
Ma foi, je ne sais pas,
Peut-être jamais, peut-être demain.
Mais pas aujourd'hui, c'est certain!
[sung]
L'amour est un oiseau rebelle
Que nul ne peut apprivoiser,
Et c'est bien en vain qu'on l'appelle,
S'il lui convient de refuser.
Rien n'y fait, menace ou prière;
L'un parle bien, l'autre se tait,
Et c'est l'autre que je préfère;
Il n'a rien dit mais il me plaît.

(L'amour est un oiseau rebelle) L'amour...
(Que nul ne peut apprivoiser,) L'amour...
(Et c'est bien en vain qu'on l'appelle,) L'amour...
(S'il lui convient de refuser.) L'amour...

L'amour est enfant de Bohême,
Il n'a jamais, jamais connu de loi;
Si tu ne m'aimes pas, je t'aime;
Si je t'aime, prends garde à toi! (Prends garde à toi!)
Si tu ne m'aimes pas,
Si tu ne m'aimes pas, je t'aime; (Prends garde à toi!)
Mais si je t'aime, si je t'aime;
Prends garde à toi!

(L'amour est enfant de Bohême,)
(Il n'a jamais, jamais connu de loi;)
(Si tu ne m'aimes pas, je t'aime;)
(Si je t'aime, prends garde à toi!) (Prends garde à toi!)

Si tu ne m'aimes pas,
Si tu ne m'aimes pas, je t'aime; (Prends garde à toi!)
Mais si je t'aime, si je t'aime;
Prends garde à toi! (Prends garde à toi!)

L'oiseau que tu croyais surprendre
Battit de l'aile et s'envola.
L'amour est loin, tu peux l'attendre;
Tu ne l'attends plus, il est là.
Tout autour de toi, vite, vite,
Il vient, s'en va, puis il revient.
Tu crois le tenir, il t'évite,
Tu crois l'éviter, il te tient!

(Tout autour de toi, vite, vite) L'amour...
(Il vient, s'en va, puis il revient.) L'amour...
(Tu crois le tenir, il t'évite,) L'amour...
(Tu crois l'éviter, il te tient!) L'amour...

L'amour est enfant de Bohême,
Il n'a jamais, jamais connu de loi;
Si tu ne m'aimes pas, je t'aime;
Si je t'aime, prends garde à toi! (Prends garde à toi!)
Si tu ne m'aimes pas,
Si tu ne m'aimes pas, je t'aime (Prends garde à toi!)
Mais si je t'aime, si je t'aime
Prends garde à toi!

(L'amour est enfant de Bohême,)
(Il n'a jamais, jamais connu de loi;)
(Si tu ne m'aimes pas, je t'aime;)
(Si je t'aime, prends garde à toi!) (Prends garde à toi!)

Si tu ne m'aimes pas,
Si tu ne m'aimes pas, je t'aime (Prends garde à toi!)
Mais si je t'aime, si je t'aime
Prends garde à toi! (Prends garde à toi!)

 
When will I love you?
Good Lord, I don't know,
Maybe never, maybe tomorrow.
But not today, that's for sure.

Love is a rebellious bird
That none can tame,
And it is well in vain that one calls it
If it suits him to refuse
Nothing to be done, threat or prayer.
The one talks well, the other is silent;
And it's the other that I prefer
He says nothing but he pleases me.

(Love is a rebellious bird) Love...
(that none can tame,) Love...
(and you can call him, although it is, quite in vain,) Love...
(because it suits him not to come) Love...

Love is a gypsy's child,
It has never, never known the law;
If you do not love me, I love you;
If I love you, take guard yourself (Take guard yourself!)
If you do not love me,
If you do not love me, I love you (Take guard yourself!)
But if I love you, if I love you
Take guard yourself!

(Love is a gypsy's child,)
(It has never, never known the law;)
(If you do not love me, I love you;)
(If I love you, take guard yourself) (Take guard yourself!)

If you do not love me,
If you do not love me, I love you (Take guard yourself!)
But if I love you, if I love you
Take guard yourself!(Take guard yourself!)

The bird you hoped to catch
Beat its wings and flew away ...
Love is far, you can wait for it
You no longer await it, there it is
All around you, swift, swift,
It comes, goes, then it returns ...
You think to hold it fast, it flees you
You think to flee it, it holds you

(All around you, swift,) Love...
(It comes, goes, then it returns) Love...
(You think to hold it fast, it flees you) Love...
(You think to flee it, it holds you) Love...

Love is a gypsy's child,
it has never, never known the law;
if you love me not, then I love you;
if I love you, take guard yourself (Take guard yourself!)
if you love me not,
if you love me not, then I love you (Take guard yourself!)
but if I love you, if I love you
take guard yourself!

(Love is a gypsy's child,)
(it has never known the law;)
(if you love me not, then I love you;)
(if I love you, take guard yourself) (Take guard yourself!)

if you love me not,
if you love me not, then I love you (Take guard yourself!)
but if I love you, if I love you
take guard yourself (Take guard yourself)

Notes[edit]

External links[edit]

  • Text and translation at Aria-Database.com. The translation is a literal one that prioritizes preservation of the meaning of individual words over both idiomatic rendering in the destination language and conformity to meter and syllabic stress. For instance, the phrase prends garde à toi! is translated there as keep guard of yourself, whereas the translation watch out! might better capture the tone of the original at some expense to literal meaning, watch out! Beware! might do the same with greater fidelity to meter at the expense of redundancy in literal meaning, and be on your guard! might preserve fidelity to meter and most fidelity to literal meaning at the expense of using a different grammatical construction and slightly changing the tone of the command.
  • Habanera: Free scores at the International Music Score Library Project
  • Free sheet music of Habanera for voice & piano from Cantorion.org
  • El Arreglito: Free scores at the International Music Score Library Project