I Dreamt I Dwelt in Marble Halls
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I Dreamt I Dwelt in Marble Halls or The Gipsy Girl's Dream is a popular aria from The Bohemian Girl, an 1843 opera by Michael William Balfe, with lyrics by Alfred Bunn. It is sung in the opera by the character Arline, who is in love with Thaddeus, a Polish nobleman and political exile.
In popular culture
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In addition to its regular performance in the opera, and in cast recordings of the opera, the aria, which was very popular in the 19th and 20th centuries, has been recorded many times by a variety of musicians as a stand-alone song. It has also been parodied.
- Lewis Carroll's parody of the lyrics was published in Lays of Mystery, Imagination and Humour in 1855:
|“||I dreamt I dwelt in marble halls,
And each damp thing that creeps and crawls
went wobble-wobble on the walls...
- Booth Tarkington mentions the opera, though not by name, in his 1902 book The Two Vanrevels, and quotes a line of the aria "I Dreamt I Dwelt in Marble Halls".
- Willa Cather referenced the work in her short story "The Bohemian Girl", which incorporates quotes from some of the arias, including "I Dreamt I Dwelt in Marble Halls". The plot of the story also has some substantial parallels to the opera.
- The Bohemian Girl is mentioned in the short stories "Clay" and "Eveline" by James Joyce which are both parts of Dubliners. In "Clay", the character Maria sings some lines from "I Dreamt I Dwelt in Marble Halls". The aria is quoted again in Joyce's novel Finnegans Wake.
- The song was recorded several times during the mid-twentieth century by Dame Joan Sutherland.
- The song appears in a film version of The Bohemian Girl produced in 1936 by Hal Roach, which starred Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy as the gypsy foster parents of the Count's daughter, Darla Hood as young Arline and Jacqueline Wells as adult Arline: the dubbed singing voice is that of Rosina Lawrence.
- A shortened instrumental version is heard in the 1936 Western The Three Mesquiteers.
- An instrumental version is heard in the theater scene from the 1946 John Ford western My Darling Clementine.
- A brief version appears in the 1939 movie Naughty but Nice. Gale Page sings an a cappella ditty ("Millions of Dreams Ago", with lyrics by Johnny Mercer) to music professor Dick Powell who affirms the original tune and the composer.
- * The opera is mentioned, and the aria referred to several times, in the 1944 novel Dragonwyck, by Anya Seton, which is set in 1844. The song makes a brief appearance in the 1946 film adaptation of the book.
- George Orwell's 1946 essay, Why I Write mentions that, in 1935, after enduring much hardship and disillusionment, he wrote "a little poem" which ended with the stanza:
|“||I dreamt I dwelt in marble halls,
And woke to find it true;
I wasn't born for an age like this;
Was Smith? Was Jones? Were you?
- A version is played and sung several times in the 1948 Jeanne Crain / William Holden movie Apartment for Peggy.
- The first line of the song is sung and "scatted" in the number, "Swing," from the 1953 Broadway show Wonderful Town.
- The first line is sung, off-screen, by aspiring botanist Seymour in the 1960 film The Little Shop of Horrors.
- A rather unexpected appearance of the song is in the 1966 Howard Hawks film El Dorado, where it is played in the saloon just prior to the climactic gunfight.
- An ambient, ethereal version was recorded by The Irish singer Enya for her Grammy-winning 1991 album, Shepherd Moons: this version was featured on the soundtrack of the 1993 Martin Scorsese film The Age of Innocence.
- Sinéad O'Connor recorded a version of the song for the soundtrack of the 1997 Irish film The Butcher Boy.
- The aria is played and sung by the character Clementina Cavendish (Florence Hoath) in the 1998 film The Governess.
- Cellist Julian Lloyd Webber has recorded the song on two occasions: with singer Aled Jones on Jones' 2003 album Higher; and with harpist Catrin Finch on Lloyd Webber's 2006 album Unexpected Songs.
- Méav Ní Mhaolchatha, then a member of Celtic Woman, performed the song live at the Helix in Dublin, Ireland, in 2004 for the group's first DVD.
- The song can be heard being played on the piano in the background of the Deadwood episode "Something Very Expensive at the Bella Union".
- Norwegian soprano Sissel Kyrkjebø featured a version on her 2006 album Into Paradise.
- It is sung by Nancy, played by Bethany Muir, in the closing scene of the final episode of the BBC television series Dickensian.
- Australian harpist Siobhan Owen recorded the song in her album Lilium.
- It was played at the start of the 1972 TV comedy series "In for a penny", which was set in a public convenience.
- The song is played in the background of "The Case of the Fraudulent Foto" (1959) in Perry Mason (TV series).
- Frank Weaver. "Music in the Works of James Joyce". James-joyce-music.com. Retrieved 2012-08-07.
- James Michael Welsh, Peter Lev (2007), The literature/film reader: issues of adaptation, p. 13
- Knight letter, Lewis Carroll Society of North America, 1994, p. 21
- George Orwell, Why I Write (1946) http://orwell.ru/library/essays/wiw/english/e_wiw
- The Age of Innocence (1993) - Soundtracks
- The Butcher Boy (1997) - Soundtracks