Between 1923 and 1955, Carlo Tagliabue (above) sang at all the major Italian opera houses. In addition to the great Verdi roles, Tagliabue sang in Italian-language productions of Wagner's works. He also sang at Covent Garden, the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, San Francisco Opera, and The Met - where he appeared in more than 50 performances in a two-season stint.
Here, Carlo Tagliabue sings Don Carlo's great scene from Verdi's LA FORZA DEL DESTINO.
In the opera, Carlo is seeking Don Alvaro, the man who was secretly betrothed to Carlo's sister Leonora, and who inadvertently killed Carlo's father. With typical operatic irony, Carlo and Alvaro - neither knowing who the other is - meet and become friends while fighting for Spain in a war against Italy. Alvaro saves Carlo's life, but is himself wounded in battle.
Believing himself to be dying, Alvaro asks Carlo to destroy a packet of letters. Carlo agrees; but curiosity gets the better of him:
"To die! A terrible thing!
So fearless, so valiant,
yet he must die! A singular man, this!
Yet, he shuddered at the name
of Calatrava! Has he perhaps heard
of our dishonour?
Heavens! A sudden thought!
What if he were the seducer?
And in my hands - alive!
But...if I am wrong? This key will reveal all!
(In agitation he opens a small casket case and takes out a sealed packet)
Here are the papers!
(about to open it)
What am I thinking??
What of the oath I swore to him? And my life,
that I owe to his bravery? But then, I saved him, too!
And what if he were that cursed Indian,
who stained my sister's honor?
I will break the seal...
(goes to do so)
...no one can see me here.
No? But I can see myself!
(He throws down the packet and backs away in horror)
Away with you, fatal urn of my destiny;
you tempt me in vain.
I came here to redeem my honour, and in madness
I will not taint it with this new shame.
An oath is sacred to a man of honour;
these papers shall keep their secret.
Perish the evil thought
that spurred me to the unworthy deed!
But if I could find some other proof?
(He again rummages in the case, and finds a small locket)
Is this a portrait?
(He examines it)
It has no seal. He said nothing about this.
I promised nothing. Let it be opened then!
(He does so)
Heavens! Leonora! The wounded man is Don Alvaro!
Now let him live, that he may perish by my hand!
Good news! I've saved him! (exits)
He is saved! Oh joy!
He is saved! What immense happiness
I feel flooding my heart!
At last I shall have vengeance
on this vile wretch!
Leonora, I will find you, wherever you are!
Tell me, have you followed this murderer here
by the trail of you father's blood?
Ah, I shall be overjoyed
when this sword of mine with a single stroke
sends them both to Hell!"