Mon cœur s'ouvre à ta voix
"Mon cœur s'ouvre à ta voix" is a popular mezzo-soprano aria from Camille Saint-Saëns's opera Samson and Delilah, known in English as "Softly awakes my heart", or more literally "My heart opens itself to your voice". It is sung by Delilah in act 2 as she attempts to seduce Samson into revealing the secret of his strength.
In the opera, Delilah is responding to Samson's words "Dalila! Dalila! Je t'aime!" (Delilah! Delilah! I love you!) which he repeats between the first and second verses of her aria; these interjections are omitted in recital performances or sometimes sung to the changed words "Samson! Samson! Je t'aime!"; Samson's part in the final 22 bars of the stage aria where he joins Delilah in a duet is also omitted in a recital, although some performers, notably Marilyn Horne and Jessye Norman, have sung Samson's final words – changed as above, rising to a high B-flat. A performance takes between 5 1/2 and 6 1/2 minutes.
The aria is notated in D-flat major with time signatures of 3/4 for the verse and common time (4/4) for the refrain ("Ah! réponds"); the tempo indication is andantino (=66) for the verses and un poco più lento (a little slower) for the refrain. The vocal range extends from B-flat3 to G-flat5, with a tessitura from E-flat4 to E-flat5.
The instrumentation calls for flute, oboe, English horn, clarinet, horns, harp and strings. All instrument lines, except the harp, make intensive use of divisi (cellos play in four divisi). The orchestral accompaniment consists mainly of reiterated notes for the first verse and of falling chromatic lines for the second verse; the refrain is accompanied by ascending broken chords.
|Original French||English translation||Poetic English|
Mon cœur s'ouvre à ta voix,
My heart opens to your voice
My heart at thy dear voice
In modern music
Pop singer Klaus Nomi would often end his concerts with a countertenor rendition of this piece; such a version was used as the closing credits music for the 1982 concert compilation film Urgh! A Music War.
Run–D.M.C.'s Joseph Simmons' rendition of this song appears on the 1997 album The Rapsody Overture: Hip Hop Meets Classic, a collection of hip hop songs intertwined with classical vocals and music.
Japanese pianist and composer Joe Hisaishi incorporates the melody from this aria in the track "Babylon no Oka" (Babylon Hill) in his 1998 album Piano Stories III.
Japanese classical crossover singer Kanon recorded this song with English lyrics on her 2004 album Hymn of Grace under the title "Anata no Koe ni Kokoro wa Hiraku" (which has the same meaning as "Mon cœur s'ouvre à ta voix").
A montage of the last two lines of this aria has been recorded by English alternative rock band Muse, and is included in the track titled "I Belong to You (+Mon cœur s'ouvre a ta voix)" of their 2009 album The Resistance.
- Freeman, John W. Synopsis: Samson et Dalila, Metropolitan Opera. Accessed 16 February 2009
- "Mon cœur s'ouvre à ta voix" at The Aria Database
- Oberlin College, Program Notes: Artist Recital Series – Denyce Graves, 7 May 2003. Accessed 16 February 2009
- "My Heart at Thy Dear Voice – Mon cœur s'ouvre à ta voix", Piano-vocal score, English version by George Cooper
- "Jackie Wilson". Brunswick Records. Retrieved 31 October 2011.
- The Julie Andrews Hour, episode guide
- on YouTube
- "Mon cœur s'ouvre à ta voix": Scores at the International Music Score Library Project
- Audio file: "Mon coeur s'ouvre a ta voix" sung by Louise Homer. Recorded October 11, 1909.