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from Act I of the French opera Roméo et Juliette by Charles-François Gounod
Libretto: Jules Barbier

Role: Mercutio, Romeo's friend
Voice Part: baritone       Fach: lyric baritone
Setting: The Capulet's ballroom, Verona, Italy, 14th century
Synopsis: Romeo and Mercutio have come to Lord Capulet's party in disguise. When Mercutio suggests that they should use the opportunity to create trouble with their enemy, Romeo disagrees, saying that the only reason he came was because of one of his dreams. Mercutio speaks then of Queen Mab, the queen of all dreams.
Range: Tessitura:
D3 - F#/Gb4E3 - E4
Translations/Aria Texts:
Translation into English by Lea Frey (added 1998-08-12)
Mab, la rene des mensonges, Mercutio's aria from Romeo et Juliette

Mab, reine des mensonges,		Mab, queen of falsehoods,
Préside aux songes;			Presides over dreams;
Plus légère que le vent décevant;	More frivolous than the deceiving wind;
À travers l'espace, à travers la nuit,	Across space,  across the night,
Elle passe,  elle fuit!			She passes,  she flees!
Son char, que l'atome rapide		Her chariot, which the rapid particle
Entraine dans l'éther limpide,		Draws through the limpid ether,
Fut fait d'une noisette vide		Made out of an empty nutshell
Par ver de terre le charron!		By an earthworm,  the cartwright!
Les harnais , subtile dentelle,		The harnesses, a subtle lace,	
Ont été coup´dans l'aile		Were carved from the wing
De quelque verte sauterelle		Of some green grasshopper
Par son cocher le moucheron!		By her coachman, the gnat!
Un os de grillon sert de manche		A bone of a cricket serves as the handle
À son fouet dont la mèche blanche	For her whip, whose white lash
Est prise au rayon qui s'épanche	Is taken from a ray of light, which is shed
De Phoebé rassemblant sa cour!		By Phoebe assembling her court!
Chaque nuit dans cette equipage		Each night with this equipment
Mab visite, sur son passage,		Mab visits, on her travels,
L'époux qui rêve de veuvage		The husband who dreams of widowhood
Et l'amant qui rêve d'amour!		And the lover who dreams of love!
A son approche la coquette		At her approach,  the coquette
Rêve d'atour et de toilette,		Dreams of finery and of dressing up,
Le courtisan fait la courbette,		The courtier bows and scrapes,
Le poète rime ses vers!			The poet rhymes his verses!
À l'avare, en son gîte sombre,		To the miser, in his gloomy shelter,
Elle ouvre ses trésors sans nombre,	She opens her treasures without number,
Et la liberté rit dans l'ombre		And liberty laughs in the shadows
Au prisonnier chargé de fers.		At the prisoner burdened with irons.
Le soldat rêve d'embuscades,		The soldier dreams of ambushes,
De batailles et d'estocades		Of battles and charges,
Elle lui verse les rasades		She pours him glasses of wine
Dont ses lauriers sont arrosés.		With which his laurels are sprinkled.
Et toi qu'un soupir effarouche		And you, whom a sigh startles
Quand tu reposes sur ta couche,		When you lie on your couch,
O vierge!  elle effleure ta bouche	O virgin!  She lightly brushes your mouth
Et te fait rêver de baisers!		And makes you dream of kisses!

Translated by Lea Frey (
Sheet Music/Scores:
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