Santa Lucia

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Tino Rossi's rendition of Santa Lucia

Santa Lucia is a traditional Neapolitan song. It was transcribed by Teodoro Cottrau (1827–1879) and published by the Cottrau firm, as a "barcarolla", at Naples in 1849. Cottrau translated it from Neapolitan into Italian during the first stage of the Risorgimento, the first Neapolitan song to be given Italian lyrics. Its transcriber, who is very often credited as its composer, was the son of the French-born Italian composer and collector of songs Guillaume Louis Cottrau (1797–1847).

Various sources credit A. Longo with the music, 1835.

The original lyrics of "Santa Lucia" celebrate the picturesque waterfront district, Borgo Santa Lucia, in the Bay of Naples, in the invitation of a boatman to take a turn in his boat, to better enjoy the cool of the evening.

In the United States, an early edition of the song, with an English translation by Thomas Oliphant, was published by M. McCaffrey, Baltimore. Perhaps the definitive 20th century recording of the song was that of Enrico Caruso, the great Neapolitan opera singer.

The song was also recorded by Elvis Presley on the 1965 album Elvis for Everyone.

In Sweden, Finland, Denmark, the Faroe Islands, and Norway, "Santa Lucia" has been given various lyrics to accommodate it to the winter-light festival of Saint Lucy, at the darkest time of the year. The three most famous lyrics versions in Swedish are Luciasången, aka Sankta Lucia, ljusklara hägring (“Saint Lucy, bright illusion”), Natten går tunga fjät (“The night walks with heavy steps”) and the 1970s "Kindergarten" version Ute är mörkt och kallt (“Outside it’s dark and cold”). The more common Norwegian version is Svart senker natten seg ("Black the night descends").

In the Czech Republic (or former Czechoslovakia), it was made famous with the words Krásná je Neapol sung by Waldemar Matuška.

In Thailand a Thai translation, Silpakorn Niyom (ศิลปากรนิยม), is the anthem of Silpakorn University; the founder of the university, Silpa Bhirasri, was Italian.

Lyrics[edit]

Neapolitan lyrics[edit]

Comme se frícceca
la luna chiena!
lo mare ride,
ll'aria è serena...
E' pronta e lesta
la varca mia...
Santa Lucia,
Santa Lucia!

Stu viento frisco
fa risciatare:
chi vo' spassarse
jenno pe mmare?
Vuje che facite
'mmiezo a la via?
Santa Lucia,
Santa Lucia!

La tènna è posta
pe fa' 'na cena;
e quanno stace
la panza chiena
non c'è la mínema
melanconia.
Santa Lucia,
Santa Lucia!


The following two lines were included in the Neapolitan version as transcribed in the "Italia Mia" website

Pozzo accostare la varca mia
Santa Lucia, Santa Lucia![1]

Italian lyrics[edit]

Italian English

Sul mare luccica l’astro d’argento.
Placida è l’onda, prospero è il vento.
Sul mare luccica l’astro d’argento.
Placida è l’onda, prospero è il vento.
Venite all’agile barchetta mia,
Santa Lucia! Santa Lucia!
Venite all’agile barchetta mia,
Santa Lucia! Santa Lucia!

Con questo zeffiro, così soave,
Oh, com’è bello star sulla nave!
Con questo zeffiro, così soave,
Oh, com’è bello star sulla nave!
Su passegieri, venite via!
Santa Lucia! Santa Lucia!
Su passegieri, venite via!
Santa Lucia! Santa Lucia!

In fra le tende, bandir la cena
In una sera così serena,
In fra le tende, bandir la cena
In una sera così serena,
Chi non dimanda, chi non desia.
Santa Lucia! Santa Lucia!
Chi non dimanda, chi non desia.
Santa Lucia! Santa Lucia!

Mare sì placida, vento sì caro,
Scordar fa i triboli al marinaro,
Mare sì placida, vento sì caro,
Scordar fa i triboli al marinaro,
E va gridando con allegria,
Santa Lucia! Santa Lucia!
E va gridando con allegria,
Santa Lucia! Santa Lucia!

O dolce Napoli, o suol beato,
Ove sorridere volle il creato,
O dolce Napoli, o suol beato,
Ove sorridere volle il creato,
Tu sei l'impero dell’armonia,
Santa Lucia! Santa Lucia!
Tu sei l'impero dell’armonia,
Santa Lucia! Santa Lucia!

Or che tardate? Bella è la sera.
Spira un’auretta fresca e leggiera.
Or che tardate? Bella è la sera.
Spira un’auretta fresca e leggiera.
Venite all’agile barchetta mia,
Santa Lucia! Santa Lucia!
Venite all’agile barchetta mia,
Santa Lucia! Santa Lucia!

On the sea glitters the silver star
Gentle the waves, favorable the winds.
On the sea glitters the silver star
Gentle the waves, favorable the winds.
Come into my nimble little boat,
Saint Lucy! Saint Lucy!
Come into my nimble little boat,
Saint Lucy! Saint Lucy!

With this breeze, so gentle,
Oh, how beautiful to be on the ship!
With this breeze, so gentle,
Oh, how beautiful to be on the ship!
Come aboard passengers, come on!
Saint Lucy! Saint Lucy!
Come aboard passengers, come on!
Saint Lucy! Saint Lucy!

Inside the tents, putting aside supper
On such a quiet evening,
Inside the tents, putting aside supper
On such a quiet evening,
Who wouldn't demand, who wouldn't desire?
Saint Lucy! Saint Lucy!
Who wouldn't demand, who wouldn't desire?
Saint Lucy! Saint Lucy!

Sea so calm, the wind so dear,
Forget what makes trouble for the sailor,
Sea so calm, the wind so dear,
Forget what makes trouble for the sailor,
And go shout with merriment,
Saint Lucy! Saint Lucy!
And go shout with merriment,
Saint Lucy! Saint Lucy!

O sweet Naples, O blessed soil,
Where to smile desired its creation,
O sweet Naples, upon blessed soil,
Where to smile desired its creation,
You are the kingdom of harmony,
Saint Lucy! Saint Lucy!
You are the kingdom of harmony,
Saint Lucy! Saint Lucy!

Now to linger? The evening is beautiful.
A little breeze blows fresh and light.
Now to linger? The evening is beautiful.
A little breeze blows fresh and light.
Come into my nimble little boat,
Saint Lucy! Saint Lucy!
Come into my nimble little boat,
Saint Lucy! Saint Lucy!

Other performers[edit]

Sergio Franchi, (Italian Tenor 1926-1990), recorded this song in 1963 on his RCA Victor Red Seal album, Our Man From Italy. One of the notable versions of this song is the one by Hayley Westenra in her album Treasure (Hayley Westenra album).

Use in films and television[edit]

The song has been sung in several films. It was the background score in La mano dello straniero (The Stranger's Hand, 1954) that takes place in Venice. It was performed by Elvis Presley in Viva Las Vegas, and by Luciano Pavarotti in Yes, Giorgio. It can be heard in the Marx Brothers film A Night at the Opera. The end of the song is chanted by David Kessler and Jack Goodman as they are walking in the rain in the English countryside in An American Werewolf in London. The song is sung a cappella very briefly in The Silent Enemy, Captain Corelli's Mandolin and Frostbite. Raul Julia sings the first verse of the song to Mel Gibson in Tequila Sunrise.

On television, an off-key rendition by Don Knotts as Barney Fife was performed on The Andy Griffith Show, in the episode "The Song Festers" as the feature song of the Mayberry choir "sent off to New York" for its annual spring concert. In the Hogan's Heroes episode "The Pizza Parlor", Hogan and his team recruit Major Bonacelli to be their contact in Italy. To lure him, they contact Garlotti's Pizzeria in Newark, New Jersey. Garlotti provides the men with a pizza recipe and the words to Santa Lucia which he gladly sings in full voice. In the Tom and Jerry episode "Cat and Dupli-cat," Tom and Jerry are singing the first verse of this song in the beginning of the cartoon.

Marisol sang "Santa Lucia" in the 1960s Spanish film "Un rayo de luz" (A Ray of Light).

In the third episode of the second season of "Lost in Space," ('The Ghost Planet', 1966), the Robot (Bob May, voice of Dick Tufeld) sings two verses of "Santa Lucia," accompanied by Will Robinson (Billy Mumy). The Robot's voice suddenly drops off at the end of the second stanza, rousing Dr. Zachary Smith (Jonathan Harris) from his daydreams. "You bubble-headed booby! I was about to land on the isle of Capri; now I'll never get there!" Smith exclaims, berating the Robot. The problem, Will explains, is that the Robot's tapes are wearing out. Dick Tufeld did the actual singing on this sequence, as Billy Mumy played his guitar. In real life, Mumy is an accomplished musician.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Santa Lucia". Italia Mia. Retrieved 23 November 2013. 

External links[edit]