Accessible arias: Batti, batti, o bel Masetto
Accessible arias: One of a new series of posts to bring you the words to some of opera’s most famous solo pieces – arias, in their original language and in translation.
Batti, batti, o bel Masetto
Act I of Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Zerlina begs forgiveness from her sweetheart Masetto
CONTEXT: Yet another of Giovanni’s love-interests is a peasant girl, Zerlina; and in one of his increasingly desperate escapades he plans to seduce her on the eve of her wedding, under the nose of her fiancé Masetto. He has already made a move on her; and she, entranced by his superior social status, charm and flattery, all but succumbed.
Now it’s time for the recriminations. But Masetto’s anger is pacified, little by little, in this aria which is Zerlina’s version of seduction - poised between endearing, childlike vulnerability and calculating guile. OK Masetto, punish me, she says: go on and hit me (batti, batti), pull my hair out – knowing that, of course, he won’t. Instead, they fall into each other’s arms, bewitched by the magic of an aria that starts like a serenely rocking lullaby but then – when Zerlina realises she’s won the day and can exchange her batti, batti offer for a peace deal (pace, pace) – shifts into a celebratory 6/8 dance. No wonder Masetto, in his following recitative, calls her a sorceress.
LISTEN: Miah Persson sings ‘Batti, batti o bel Masetto’ to Robert Gleadow as Masetto. Excerpt from a BBC recording of Francesca Zambello’s recent Royal Opera House production of Don Giovanni.
THE LYRICS: In the original Italian, as sung on stage, and in their English translation.
|Batti, batti, o bel Masetto,
la tua povera Zerlina!
Starò qui come agnellina
le tue botte ad aspettar.Batti, batti la tua Zerlina!
Starò qui, starò qui
le tue botte ad aspettar.
Lascerò straziarmi il crine.
Lascerò cavarmi gli occhi,
e le care tue manine lieta
poi saprò baciar,
saprò baciar, baciar,
saprò, saprò baciar.
Batti, batti, o bel Masetto,
Ah, lo vedo, non hai core!
|Beat me, beat me, dear Masetto,
beat your poor Zerlina!
I’ll stand here like a little lamb,
to await your blows.Beat me, beat your dear Zerlina.
I’ll just stand here
to await your blows.
You can pull out my hair.
Pull out my eyes,
and I’ll still gladly kiss
your dear hands,
kiss your dear hands,
kiss your dear hands.
Beat me, beat me, dear Masetto,
Ah, I see he has not got the heart.
Composer: Mozart. Libretto: Da Ponte, Discover more about Don Giovanni: synopsis, characters, context text, full details of current production, pictures.
Credits: Intro text: Michael White, score by Ricordi, as sung on stage, translations: Emma Beatty/Michele Bona