Opera seria in three acts
Giovanni de Gamerra
26 December 1772, Milan (Teatro Regio Ducal)
LUCIO SILLA, dictator (Tenor)
GIUNIA, daughter of Gaius Marius and betrothed to Cecilio (Soprano)
CECILIO, banished senator (Soprano)
LUCIO CINNA, Roman patrician, friend of Cecilio and secret opponent of Lucio Silla (Soprano)
CELIA, sister to Silla (Soprano)
AUFIDIO, tribune and friend of Silla (Tenor)
noble Romans, senators, people
during the dictatorship of Lucius Cornelius Sulla (138-78 BC)
Molto allegro Andante - Molto allegro
Solitary enclosed place with many trees and decayed ruins. On the banks of the Tiber. In the distance is seen the Mons Quirinalis with a small temple at the summit.
Celio, then Cinna.
O heaven, my friend Cinna
I await here in vain. My impatience
Grows with his delaying. Alas, how wearisome
Is each moment
For the human heart, when doubts,
Waver betwixt hope and fear …
But, am I not misled?
He comes! The gods be praised!
Cecilio, oft with what joy
I see thee again! Ah, suffer me,
Now that my happiness overflows, to offer thee
A pledge of my friendship and of ever cordial love.
How my impatient soul
Through vows hath sought to speed thy coming.
What confusion, what fear
She suffered through thy delay.
And what dark visions
Thrust themselves into my thoughts.
The troubled soul is alarmed
My delay doth conceal a special purpose.
Thou shalt learn all from me.
Ah, be not offended
By my impatience … Giunia … my adored,
My dear wife, is she still
All love, all loyalty?
Does she still recall
That sweet devotion she once vowed me?
Has her tender heart remained constant?
She bewails thy death.
How so? … Alas, tell me! …
Speak, who durst invent such a lie?
Silla's wily craft,
In order to subdue her loving faith,
Let us hasten to allay her grief.
Stay! As yet thou knowest not
The enormity of the offence, that thy return
Out of banishment will lead to death.
Just to preserve a life
That without her I loathe
Could I allow my bride
To fall a prey to one so cruel and unjust?
Oh hear me! - Where dost thou hope
To see again thy faithful Giunia?
Silla has dragged her off into his own house.
And Cinna stood by
And let this happen?
What could he attempt alone?
Alas, 'tis vain
To oppose him in whose hands lies all the power.
Oh hostile gods! ‑ Thus may I never
Hope to see my bride again?
Listen. Not far
From this secluded spot
The silent park lies spread beneath the sky,
Which in gloomy chambers
Conceals the graves of the departed heroes.
What shall I do?
Take that secret path,
Which leads thither through the midst of the ruins.
And what will there befall?
Thou knowest that the park
Borders on Silla's palace. Oft
In company with her faithful ones,
Giunia is wont during the daytime to descend thither.
Thou wilt surprise her!
Thou canst in her bosom revive the hope
That is by now extinguished!
You will bring each other comfort.
Oh bliss! …
With many friends united for thy defence
Shall I elsewhere keep vigil.
Today shall the gods,
After a long, fainthearted and tormenting bondage,
Give Rome again her freedom, and thee thy bride.
No. 1 - Aria
Come whither love would guide thee.
Come, already I sense in my breast
The lofty aspirations
Of thy approaching joy.
Not for ever is the sea turbulent,
Not for ever is the sky overcast,
In time it will smile, joyful and tranquil
In unclouded serenity and calm.
I dare to hope
Soon to soothe my eyes with the sight of my sweet idol,
Already I see her surprise, her happiness.
Already I hear the calls that sound for me:
“My husband, my life!" My heart
Beats and speaks to me
Of exuberant tenderness and foretells …
O Heaven all alone
Here am I, beside myself with joy.
Why do I not hasten to embrace my wife?
Perhaps, alas, she is shedding tears of grief
In this very hour
In sorrow over my death
Bereft of hope and counsel!
No. 2 - Aria
The tender moment,
Reward of love so great,
Already fills my heart
With sweet thoughts.
And how shall that joy be,
Which awaits me at her side,
When the very thought alone
So entices my rapture?
Giunia's apartments. A circle of statues of the most famous Roman heroines.
Silla, Celia, Aufidio and guards
To thee, Celia, I entrust the care
Of my beloved. of my peace of mind.
See to it that Mario's stubborn and arrogant daughter
Grow more wise. Constrain her no longer to reject me.
Brother, thou knowest that hitherto I
Have done all things for thee.
I flatter myself that I shall see a change in her mind.
Counsel and pleas
Hast thou tried in vain with this proud woman.
A ruler disdained,
When he is admired by Rome and the whole world,
If all else fails,
Will employ anger and force.
Force will I use!
For mercy has brought me only the contempt
Of this ungrateful woman
And offensive resistance.
This very day shall she follow me to the altar,
And requite my feeling, else the sun
Will not rise again for her.
Oh, Silla, oh, my brother.
I tremble for thee
When thou art driven to extremity.
Alas, oh, alas,
Force is oft
The wretched mother of the black, outrageous deed.
What is there left, then, for me to try
When so stubbornly she flees me and disdains me?
With the gentler arts alone
Must thou approach her.
If 'tis true, if I may boast
Of having power in thy heart, then,
Then let it turn towards Giunia.
Soon will she come to thee. Then hearken to her.
Mayhap her mind will change.
Once more will I give her proof of my mercy.
Giunia expects it
And I will speak with her as a husband.
But may she not abuse
My love and kindness, and have to tremble
When, finally, Silla as an insulted ruler speaks
Made pitiless through her.
I have faith in me, my brother.
Today will Giunia be wiser.
Till now has her heart nourished
A secret hope.
If her husband has perished,
The lure of that love no more remains.
Renew watchfully thy wooing:
The victory over a lover
Who no longer breathes
Is for him that lives
An easy enterprise.
No. 3 - Aria
If flattering hope
Cannot sustain those who love,
Even in the most constant.
That heart so true and tender,
Ah, yes, even that heart
That is still so obstinate,
That heart will bend to thee.
Silla, Aufidio and guards
Master, it grieves me
To see thee still exposed to spurning and insult.
A plebeian heart may abase itself in meek pleadings;
But Silla, the proud
Terror of Asia, the victor of Ponthus,
The disposer of the Senate who beheld
A Mitridate at his feet,
Will he suffer himself to be intimidated by a mere woman?
A generous heart
is not made low by love
If it is cowardice,
Then among the heroes that the most distant provinces
Did shake and devastate,
Is not one that is not a coward.
This very day, friend shall Giunia be my bride.
Perceive on her face the mien
Of stubborn love,
of smouldering hate, of desperate grief.
I wish to speak with her. Leave me.
Silla, Giunia and guards
Am I always to see thee
Weeping and oppressed with grief? Will thy fair gaze
Never turn in joy toward me?
Oh Heaven! Thou cost not answer?
Dost sigh and art perplexed.
Alas, reveal to me
What so grievously excites thee,
What makes thee grow pale, and why,
So skilfully thou dost prevent
Mine eyes from meeting thine?
Oh wretched one, because thou alone art my hate.
Nay. I can not believe
That such proud cruelty
Towards me is contained in thy heart.
Hate and love have the same measure.
Not in me. As much as I will love my husband,
So much will I hate Silla.
Love and hate may pass away,
But to spite thee
They will never alter in this soul.
Pray tell me how I have offended thee
That thou shouldst hate me so?
What have I not done for thee, Giunia?
Death robbed thee of thy father
And within my walls I generously offer thee refuge,
Fulfil every duty of a host.
Nonetheless thou dost persist in thy hatred of me
And Silla doth remain vile in thine eyes?
Am I to stretch out my arms
To love an enemy of my father?
Hast thou forgotten how barbarously
Thou didst proceed against him?
In harsh banishment
With the worthiest citizens
My husband pines and dies.
And the author of all this, should I love him?
To thy greater torment I swear before thee here anew
That still I love Cecilio. I honour in him,
Even if he were dead,
My father's choice. If inhuman fate has taken him
From my side to further thy vile lust,
He will nonetheless live on within this heart.
Oh haughty one, love him then!
And scorn me as tyrant and foe.
List! In the face of so great contempt
Will I give thee time for remorse.
Forget this insane pride, this vain affection.
This unwholesome hatred
Or prepare thyself to follow the dismal shades
Of thy father and thy bridegroom
To glowing Erebus.
Me, a daughter of great Marius
Dost thou think with the horrors of death
There is no room in thy soul for any hope
That my love could violate.
What a true Roman heart can endure
That wilt thou see if thou art brutal.
Think more on the peril, oh Giunia.
Think and decide.
A remnant of compassion still I feel
Because I love thee.
Oh decide for the better.
My mind is already set.
My dead father's command
Will I always follow.
Ever to detest Silla,
Ever to honour my bridegroom,
And then to die.
No. 4 - Aria
From the dark shore
Come, o father, come o beloved husband.
To receive the last breath
Of a daughter and a wife.
Ragest in thy wrath.
But this, infamous one, is not
The sorest punishment meted out for thee.
In time I shall be happy,
No more constrained to he near thee.
Thou wilt remain
With the torments of thy conscience.
Silla and guards
Can I bear such insolent scorn? Does not my soul
Grow turbulent with too much slighting?
Who then has made her so insensitive?
Does a dictator suffer himself thus
To be insulted by a thoughtlessly bold woman?
And yet, shame on me, and yet she enchants me.
Enchants me? Does not Silla's heart yet blush
For its own weakness?
Then let love be silent ‑ let the proud woman die.
Who so despises my love, let her fear my rage.
Let her long call me cruel,
Let her spurn my hand, my heart, my tenderness,
From this day forward I am her tyrant!
No. 5 - Aria
The desire for vengeance and for death
Inflames me and so agitates
My breast, that each tender feeling of the soul
That has been scorned, is turned to wrath.
Perhaps thou wilt at the end
Of the fateful duel
Beg that thy life be spared;
Yet tears will then be fruitless,
And fruitless the anguish.
Exit with the guards
Imposing, rather dark vestibule at the entrance to the subterranean chambers in which stand monuments to the Roman heroes.
Death, thou that shapest man's destiny,
Those whom thy chill hand has seized
Slumber in these cold vaults. Heroes, warriors,
Potentates who laid waste the earth
Are now covered and enclosed here
Beneath narrow marble walls.
On countless lips
The world re-echoed marvelling at their deeds,
And now deep, gloomy silence clothes them round.
Ye gods! … Who is approaching?
Giunia … my dear wife? Alas, she is not alone;
I shall conceal myself, but where? O stars!
How my heart beats, what rapture I … What shall I do?
Remain? … Depart? … O heaven!
I will hide myself behind this urn.
hiding behind Marius' grave
Giunia enters with her train of young women and nobles. Sadly they sing the following chorus:
No. 6 - Chorus and Arioso
From these sorrowing urns
Step forth, ye venerated souls,
And wrathfully avenge
The freedom of Rome.
O beloved shade of my father,
If thou dost waft about me,
Then may my tears, my sighs
Move thee to pity!
Let the proud one who upon the Capitol
Holds the reins of Rome in his hand,
This day be buried from his throne,
As fitting example to all the ages.
O father, since the godless Silla
Aroused thy hatred while thou wast alive,
Giunia now stands, because she is thy daughter,
And because Roman blood throbs in her veins,
With supplication before thy urn.
Thou too, adored shade
Of my departed love, wend hither and aid
Thy faithful wife. Far from thee
She loathes the doom‑fraught air
Of this bitter existence.
Cecilio joins the others
Here am I, dearest one!
O stars! … I quake! … What do I see?
Is it thou? … Is this perchance some fever?
A ghost maybe, or truly thou? … Ye gods!
Dost thou deceive me, light of my eyes?
Alas, could I but know whether I
Am victim of some sweet illusion! …
So … it is … thou …
Thy faithful husband. It is I.
No. 7 - Duet
In Elysium await me,
Shade of all I own most dear,
So that heaven soon, o God, soon
May unite me to thee.
Adored, dear wife,
In thy sweet countenance alone
My faithful soul finds
Sweet Elysium again.
Husband … ye gods! … Thou art yet alive?
Entire in faith and love.
GIUNIA and CECILIO
Joyous my sighs,
Joyous my grief.
GIUNIA and CECILIO
Now that upon my breast o Love, thou art,
The weeping of my eyes teaches me rather
That joy too has her tears.
Archway decked with military trophies
Silla, Aufidio and guards
I had predicted this to thee, my lord, the proud one grows
Yet more stubborn, the more
Concern and love thou showest her.
Little time remains to her to insult me.
I have decided that she must die.
I have borne enough of her.
May thy loyal friend
Speak freely to thee?
Thou knowest, that never in this world were heroes
'Tis true of the Emilios and the Scipios.
And, despite his heroic deeds,
Is the glorious Silla of their number, too.
This I know, alas.
With Giunia's death
Thou dost proffer thine enemies
The weapon against thyself. She is Marius' daughter,
And this Marius lives on, to thy peril,
In his own friends.
What shall I do?
Before the people and the senate
Let the proud woman become thy wife.
To appease the old hatred
Feign a zeal
That will disguise the violence.
Who will dare to oppose thy will?
Countless armed hosts suround thee.
Every man fears thee as the hero
Who thus far all civil dissent hath subdued, and governs.
The Senate and Rome tremble before thy glance.
For that which thou thinkest to do
Procure, oh master, public assent.
Right hath always followed might.
And what man surrounded by a thousand armies
Stoops to plead?
Command rather than to speak or beg.
And if the ungrateful one
Proudly still rejects me
Before the people, before the Senate, before Rome?
What shall I do?
The proud woman
Will not resist.
Thou shalt see it melt,
That obstinate heart, in face of public approbation,
Of the Roman people's plaudits.
Thy counsel, friend, will I follow.
Oh Heaven! Know … To Thee will I divulge my weakness!
Whene'er I practise violence or destruction,
The heart of Silla is by grave torments of conscience
Torn and oppressed.
In such moments I suffer
I tremble, am determined,
I quake, despise myself, love, am bold.
Be told: this wavering
Clouds the brilliance of thy merits.
Take my counsel, be cheerful and bold.
And, in spite of herself,
Let this proud woman be compelled to be thy bride.
No. 8 - Aria
Let the warrior who blenches
At the flash of steel
Not go upon the battlefield
In order to lay bare his cowardice.
Yielding, now to craven fear,
Now to hope,
What, if not this,
Silla, Celia and guards
Ah, never did I think that for the man
Adorned with glory and greatness
Evil‑doing would prove so arduous a task.
All have I attempted ere now. With pleas,
Harshness, promises and threats
Is Giunia's heart in vain attacked.
Ah, my brother, thou canst not know
How I for thee …
I know what thou wouldst say to me.
Silla is no less grateful to one
Who, though unavailing, makes endeavour for him.
The merit is in no measure diminished
When adverse circumstance doth thwart success.
Giunia will this very day become my bride.
Giunia thy bride?
Inquire not how.
That I am recompensed must suffice for thee.
Why dost thou conceal from me a secret?
Why dost thou attempt such obscure speech?
Because a secret is less sure with a woman.
My silence should not displease thee. - Listen:
This day it is my wish
To give thee as bride to Cinna.
Oh, happy am I.
Let me, oh let me, to Cinna, thy true friend,
This joyful message bring.
At last shall my lips disclose to him
That he alone is my dearest treasure
And that I will ever adore him
As I do now esteem him.
Now to the Capitol,
My well-considered plan
To pursue. May stealthy cunning be employed
That my enemy may follow me to the altar.
Alas, I know that I at any price
Must gain possession of her.
'Tis to no avail that ye awake once more -
Pangs of conscience.
Cecilo with drawn sword as though to pursue Silla, Cinna restraining him.
What rage impels thee?
Restrain not my arm.
On the track of the tyrant let me hasten.
Let the shining steel cleave his breast.
Whence thy sudden wrath?
That not for one moment
Will I delay the blow.
And the danger?
I fear it not
And disregard all counsel.
Oh, Mercy, so hearken to me …
Reveal to me … tell me … oh Heaven!
What broken words, what fierce looks,
Thy raving despair …
Thy exertion to flee from me …
In a fateful enterprise
To show thy daring …
A thousandfold suspicion arises in my breast.
Thou shalt learn all.
Never will I let thee go.
Why dost thou halt the vengeance of the people?
Only because I desire that it should not be uncertain.
Uncertain it shall not be.
Thus wilt thou untimely,
Through daring that is but vain,
Disjoint my well considered plans?
Giunia shalt thou see again. And whereas,
For her sake, thou shouldst love thine own life even more,
Why dost thou recklessly pursue a rash venture?
Break thy silence.
Disclose what impels thee to so great a fury.
Dreadful remembrance kindles
Fresh wrath in my heart.
The bride at my side
Found in her oppressed soul sweet strength in her grief.
As Giunia's steps led her away from that gloomy place
A light sleep played about mine eyes.
O Heaven! I am still numbed with horror!
It seemed to me that I beheld, opened up, the cold grave
In which the dead limbs of Marius reposed.
His hollow eye he turned on me,
Thrice did he shake his skull, wild and wrathful.
I hear how his hoarse voice calls.
“Cecilio, to what end dost thou linger at my grave?
Go to and hasten on the longed-for moment
Of unisersal vengeance.
Let not thy sword hang idly at thy side.
O if thou shouldst fail to fulfil the task
That Marius' unavenged shade
This day doth counsel and upon thee lay,
Shalt thou thy bride and I my daughter lose.”
The majestic tone of these threatening words
Perturbed my spirit.
Sleep fell from my bewildered eyes.
Of a sudden was I aflame with rage.
I grasped the steel.
My timorous foot no longer held me back.
To slay the guilt‑laden tyrant came I hence,
O, detain me here no longer.
Stay! Bridle thy wrath a little,
Thy wild impulse.
O, thou art lost
Should Silla see thee.
Am I to fear a tyrant's glance?
Is another hand to slay him? Never!
Every hour I see about me
Marius' pale shade seeking repose.
Every moment I hear his noble words
Sound in my ear.
Even now, as I stand at thy side.
Let me …
Ah, if thou thus
Despisest danger, think at least of this,
That on thy life depends
The life of a faithful wife. O stars! what if
A life so precious to thee …
O Giunia! … Oh that name! …
The very thought, my friend, that I might lose her,
Quells any surge of my wrath.
But hasten, fly at my side, slay the tyrant …
Ye gods, and now my wife is delivered up
To my enemy, alas! … Who defends her?
And what if he should come his way? … Dear God!
How harsh the contrast,
What grief, immortal gods! Fear, trouble,
Anger, hope, all these I feel within my breast,
And know not which feeling will triumph!
What thoughts are these? And am I still not resolved?
Let Giunia be saved, or at her side I will die.
No. 9 - Aria
This fateful trembling
Growing and growing in my breast,
I know not whether it be hope,
I know not whether it be wrath.
Yet, whether in its inward feeling
Or in its outward wrath
It be madness or hope,
It shall strike terror in the traitor's heart.
Cinna, then Celia
Ah! To do the deed!
Should Heaven delay the evil-doer's punishment longer,
Mayhap through this
The vile misdeeds
Of the Tarquinian will begin anew.
What anxiety do I behold
In thine eyes, o Cinna?
To some other place, Celia, I must go.
Detain me not …
Thou dost forever shun me!
One moment only
Hear me, then go.
What dost thou desire?
O gods! Speak I cannot, though speak I would.
Know that my brother …
O stars, I am confused, and I fear
The cruel one loves me not.
Know that … O heaven! Why
Am I confused!
Today he becomes my husband,
And do I not dare declare my mind?
I do not comprehend
These broken words of thine.
He pretends, the ungrateful one.
What shall I say? Speech enough
From sad eyes
Reaches thee in my silence.
Now, when I in my doubt remain silent,
Does not my heart speak to you for me?
No. 10 - Aria
If my timid lips
Dare not disclose the hidden flame,
May these eyes speak in their stead,
May they instead of my mute lips
Reveal my whole heart.
Cinna, then Giunia
Till now was Cintia's soul not able
To bow itself before such sweet dalliance.
Ah but should it stoop so foolishly -
No - not on the sister of an evil
Usurper will this heart bestow first place.
Giunia approaches. Ah, that she alone
Can fulfil the great work
That I intend.
Troubled she doth seem and suffering,
Sunk in dark thoughts.
Silla requires of me
To show myself to the people and to the Senate.
What can this infamous one intend?
Knowest thou it and what is to be done?
Nearer than thou dost think, perhaps
Is Silla's death this day,
To avenge the freedom of Rome.
In a compassionate Heaven
Do we place all our hope. But for the while
To thy care do I leave my beloved spouse.
To thee I owe the joy of beholding him,
When I believed him dead.
Ah, now watch over hint, strive
To keep him hidden from the tyrant's eyes.
Trust in me and fear not for his life.
Listen. Dost thou know what Silla of the senators
And of the Roman people doth desire?
It is thy hand. and their consent
To be a vindication of his violence.
His whole scheme, oh Giunia, do I foresee.
I alone am my own judge.
The Senate may yield to cowardly fear,
But not this heart.
Upon thee, if thou will, oh Giunia,
Doth the great conspiracy depend.
What can I do?
To that bed to which he doth invite thee
Follow that nefarious tyrant.
But there by thy hand may he depart this life.
Heaven! What sayest thou?
Could Giunia through base imposture …?
Oh foolish fear! But call to mind
That the shedding of blood among kings
Has to the gods
Ever been a pleasing play.
When even the life of a Plebean sacred is to us,
How canst thou mean that no chilling dread
Will shake my bosom
Should I stab the dictator with mine own hand?
Though with tyranny and injustice
Silla doth rule over Rome and the Senate,
In vain dost thou presume
That I could make myself guilty of his death.
May he be a victim,
But at the hands of the gods.
Had Brutus on that day
Feared to offend the gods,
Then Rome would not owe to him her freedom.
But Brutus broke in open field,
And not in cowardice,
Rome's bonds of servitude.
No, never for posterity
Shall my name be spotted by base deceit.
Preserve me, oh friend, preserve for me my beloved!
Consider only his deliverance.
Let Heaven think of vengeance.
Go, haste thee - perhaps far from thee
And through excess of boldness could my betrothed …
Thou knowest his impetuous spirit.
Have pity. See to it that he remain hidden from all eyes.
Tell him, if he doth honour me
Tell him, if he be true to me,
Then should he his and my life, too, preserve.
I put him in thy charge.
No. 11 - Aria
Ah when the cruel peril
Of my beloved I recall
Horror fills my being,
I grow chill with fear.
Should friendship not keep guard
Over his precious life,
From whom can aid be sought
From whom compassion?
Yea, let us at last shake off
The humilating yoke. Long enough
Have we borne the servitude of tyranny.
If Giunia forbears
To kill that godless man, an arm
Will not be wanting that is less afraid
To plunge the fatal iron into his breast.
No. 12 - Aria
In the moment for which
He yearns as crown of his happiness,
I will stretch him at my feet
To avenge all men.
This hand is already proud
Of its homing stroke,
Yea, this avenging hand
Is not far from him.
Silla, Aufidio and guards
Master, the Senate
Awaits but thy signal.
Soon it will give ear to thee.
With a select host of armed men
Have I cunningly surrounded it.
From friendly Cinna will I not conceal this secret.
For the work's accomplishment is his aid required.
Oh, that to myself ! am myself a stranger!
Wherever I turn
My thoughts do paint the lovely picture
Of the cruel one.
Her dear name is ever on my lips,
And my heart speaks only of her.
Already do I see thee at the peak of thy fortune.
Employ the might that Heaven hath bestowed upon thee.
Rome, the Senate, and every proud spirit
Shall before thy might bow down the forehead
To thy feet.
Forsooth, with the blood of her citizens
I will drench the streets, if proud Rome
Today resists Silla's will;
My arm and my heart, they know the cause.
Giunia? … What fair vision! I find the excuse
For my weakness in all that beauty
… But so much offence?
Ah, but when I see her, o ye gods,
I am no longer the offended dictator;
I forget her scornings and pardon her.
Giunia, Silla and guards
Silla? - his hated visage
Pains me. I will flee.
Hold, stay thy pace.
Have pity, hear me.
The unhappiest of mortals
Dost thou make of me
When, as my foe, thou dost from me flee …
What wilt thou?
I tremble, am alarmed for my loved one.
Nay, in sooth, such a tyrant am I not
As thou wouldst have.
Silla's soul is capable of virtue.
So grave I cannot bear to see thy lovely glance …
Capable of virtue? Thou liest.
Give ear to me.
I hearken not to thee.
And shouldst thou …
Forsooth, I would
Despise thee and die.
A Roman heart hath no fear of death.
And thou couldst …?
Sooner than love thee, die!
Proud one, thou shalt die. But not alone.
No. 13 - Aria
All pity I thrust from me
Thou overbold and wicked woman.
Though death to thee be pleasing,
Yet soon shall I see
Thy stubborn pride quail.
But my heart beats …
The one I worship, am I to lose her? …
Shall my sword barbarously pierce
My chiefest good?
What am I saying? Is my soul
At so weak a pitch?
I rage in my distress;
Thou dost yearn to die,
Dost call me cruel,
Tremble, wicked woman,
In truth I shall be cruel.
Exit with the guards
Giunia, then Cecilio
What did I hear, eternal gods? What sinister
And dreadful secret lay behind his words?
I shall not die alone? What meanest thou thereby?
Barbarian! … Ah me! Whom do I see? …
My husband? … What was it? … What has befallen? …
Whither, thoughtless man, goest thou? Surely thou knowest
That within these walls thy life is in jeopardy!
And dost thou not fear to breathe the air
That is thine enemies’?
At this very moment did the tyrant depart.
I tremble. - I beg thee, flee!
Oh should the tyrant's eye …
'Tis thy peril, Giunia
That is my greatest fear.
Oh mercy! Turn back if thou dost love me, my dearest.
Oh return to the gloomy refuge.
To see thee, oh what torment 'tis for me.
Thy fear, my love,
Shall not embitter the sweetness of my joy.
O'ershadowed joy unless
This icy fear my heart doth leave.
Whilst thou still canst thy fate determine.
Ah, in all my life, never such affliction …
Thou wouldst have me
Leave thee to be that coward's prey?
I know that this guilt‑ridden tyrant,
Unjustly and with force, before the Senate
Will take thee to the altar.
And I who love thee
Far from thy side, how could I not
Die of care?
If vainly they search for an arm, for steel
To spill the blood of that brutal one,
Here is the steel and here the arm!
What art thou thinking of … Expose thyself …?
Alone to face the utmost danger?
Thou art full of fears,
I tremble at naught.
Restrain thy fear, O thou my hope,
And remember this - excess of fear
In a Roman heart may bear the name of cowardice.
But all too great a daring
May be foolhardiness.
Conceal thyself, I beg thee, my beloved,
And increase not through danger
The weeping of these eyes.
Eternal gods! Flee from thee?
Leave thee to the insidious infamy, the wrath of that traitor
Who seeks to wed thee?
What canst thou fear,
When steadfastness and love remain with me?
Haste, haste, to whence thou camest!
Free this heart that honours thee
From its pain and fear.
If thou dost not, then I must command thee.
Who will keep guard on this dreadful day
If I am hidden from the tyrant,
To protect thee, Giuma?
Oh that the gods …
Whither doth this blind rage lead thee?
Despite my anxieties thou art still at my side.
Wilt thou not go?
Then run to thy death, ungrateful one!
Stay! Listen! Oh gods!
Thou wilt not leave me thus?
Beware of following my steps!
How to die, that will I know,
But not how to leave thee.
I lose him! What shall I do?
My love, thou weepest …
Ah, how thy weeping …
In sooth, for the sake of these tears,
For these eyes that are distitute of hope,
Go, go from me, hide. Live.
To what dost thou compel me!
Dost thou give me through this token
A proof of thy inmost love?
How dost thou answer, my life?
I give thee my vow.
Fly then, beloved,
Thou fearest without need
When thou art afraid for me.
Consider that Heaven protects the righteous
And that I will never belong to another.
Here, my hand to pledge
The steadfast love that I promised thee,
And that doth the vile traitor despise to the death.
Who knows whether it is riot the last time, o God!
That I clasp thee to my breast,
Most precious one, the nobler part of me,
That art the embodiment of unblemished loyalty?
My own one, fear not. Love me, begone, hope on …
No. 14 - Aria
Alas, if cruel fate
Summons me to death,
As faithful, guardian shade
I shall forever be beside thee.
I would fain give proof of steadfastness,
Dearest, at this parting,
But now that I leave you, o God!
My footsteps falter.
Giunia, then Celia
Why dost thou bound within my breast,
My timorous heart? Why,
When now I see not my husband at my side,
Do the tears flow coursing down my face?
Heavens, in tears
Thus mourning do I find thee?
May thy stubborn spirit
Yield at last to destiny.
And Rome shall see thee as her ruler's bride.
Let me alone, I beg thee.
Did Cecilio in harsh exile die,
Why dost thou for him cherish such vain constancy?
How his name
Doth chill my heart.
Thou dost not look at me
And, with sobs and sighs,
Thy pale lips keep silence.
Follow my counsel.
Peace, I pray thee.
I long to see thee happy. My brother
Will today make me happy also. He has
Promised me Cinna's hand.
No more shall I recall
The torments I have endured,
Once the tyrannical course of the stars changes at last.
No. 15 - Aria
When upon the parched fields
Summer's rain falls,
The leaves, the flowers revive,
Forest and meadows
And once again grow green.
So likewise this loving soul
In its sweet hope
After its long torments
Begins to breathe anew.
Oh, how a single moment has
Heightened my fear.
What a baneful presentiment of my misfortune.
Perchance my incautious husband
Is no longer concealed from the wicked tyrant.
He has already condemned him to death.
In my fear, in my extremest grief, what shall I do?
What thoughts are these? Hapless one, I tremble!
But no, I may no longer delay,
I will go before the Senate. At their feet
I will beg for pardon and mercy
For my faithful husband. It they refuse it,
Let heaven be besought. If heaven has ordained this day
To be my adored husband's last,
Let the sword which pierced him, likewise pierce me.
No. 16 - Aria
I go, I hasten. But thus
Breaks my heart. My soul departs,
I feel the approach of death.
And yet I cannot die,
I pine and shudder. I weep, and I suffer.
Alas, could I but die
Of grief so great!
But to increase my torment
Death itself today scorns
A loving soul bowed down with care.
Silla enters, with Aufidio, followed by senators and soldiers
No. 17 - Chorus
Even as fame surrounded thy head
When thou stoodst in combat against a thousand armies,
So let love here crown
The redoutable brow.
May that unvanquished arm
Embrace the one thou dost adore.
Let the warrior's wreath of laurel
With myrtles be enhanced.
Senators, I who have fought for Rome,
I who have conquered for Rome,
I who by my valour stifled
The torch of civil strife,
I who through my works now behold
Peace reign along the Tiber,
I desire some reward for all my triumphs.
Help, eternal gods!
You surely know
The former baneful hate
Which prevailed betwixt Marius and Silla. This is the day
On which I forget it all. With his daughter
May the sacred bond unite me.
And soothe the falter's shade.
A ruler, a Roman,
In spite of glory and the laurel wreath, seeks
Only this reward for all his toil.
The Senate keeps silent and with its silence
Approves the will of the tyrant
Senators, I do perceive
In your countenances
The joyful cries
That echo round about
Are a sure token
Of public opinion.
Follow me, now, to the altar.
Do Rome and the Senate stoop
To such cowardice? Does some rascally, insane fear
Compel you to favour the shameful villainies
Of a godless man?
No, none among you, not one
Who has a Roman heart in his breast …
Be silent. 'Twere wiser to give me thy hand.
That is the desire of all the people.
I speak on their behalf.
Come, follow me.
Approach me not,
Else this iron shall pierce my breast.
makes to stab herself
Take from this proud woman the blade
And she shall do my bidding.
Cecilio with drawn sword; the above
My wife, have no fear.
Whom do I see?
In this wise
Am I betrayed by you? In defiance
Of my ban and the laws Cecilio has returned,
And with Giunia at his side he ventures
To seek the ruler's life.
Bind that criminal!
My lord …
Be silent! Wretch!
I feel only rage.
At sunrise, traitor,
Shalt thou die.
Cinna with drawn sword, the above
With drawn sword,
Confused and undecided?
Oh Heaven! All is lost;
Some way I seek
Out of this disastrous plight.
To my astonishment did I see how Cecilio,
With drawn sword, did make his way through the throng.
His proud, threatening eye, his fury
Caused me to fear treachery.
Thee from this murderous hand
To deliver and to defend
Did I draw my sword.
Go, friend, to discover
It other faithless …
Upon my loyalty depend, oh master.
Nearly did I lose myself
In the violent encounter.
Bring here the traitor
Aufidio, disarm him.
O God. Withhold.
So long I have the sword,
So long I know what makes thee tremble.
Is this the measure of thy arrogance?
Surrender thy sword
Else I …
Thou dost hope in vain.
Surrender it, oh dearest one.
Doth my bride instruct me to be cowardly?
Defy him not!
What wilt thou?
A proof of thy regard.
Thou needs must.
Place thy trust in my constancy
And Heraven's favour, and hope.
Shouldst thou still cherish doubt, my love,
Thou dost offend the righteous gods
And thy bride.
Rage consumes me. Content thyself
Come, take! - Barbarian.
Into the darkest dungeon
Cast him. But a brief while yet
Shall I suffer thee to breathe the vital breath
Which thou hast forfeited. In chains
Thou too, deceitful jade,
Shalt rue thy bold treason.
No. 18 - Trio
This criminal temerity
I shall know today how to subdue.
Give over thy hope, villain,
Thus would I act at any time again.
Here, o my husband, a pledge
That I shall die at thy side.
Godless pair, your hands
Are fit for chains alone.
GIUNIA and CECILIO
If my dearest treasure loves me,
I shall walk gladly to my death.
GIUNIA, CECILIO and SILLA
This constancy undaunted,
This love so true,
Maddens my heart,
My constancy undaunted,
My love so true,
Sweetly comforts my heart
And leaves me free of fear.
Vestibule of the prison
Cecilio in chains, Cinna, Celia and guards
Alas, my friend, thou only
Didst impede the great conspiracy.
Not far from the Capitol lay hidden
Thy friends and mine.
Followed by them did I intend to pursue my bloody path
Through the armed multitude.
But caution did temper rage.
Against so many, what could I
Surrounded by so few accomplish? Heaven did spur me
To new venture on. I left my friends,
Silently I grasped my sword
And drew near to the Capitol. As to strike the blow
I raised my hand, did my glance fall upon thee.
The iron shook in my hand. I paused, was confused.
Knew not what to say. So nearly did the tyrant
Uncover the well-guarded secret.
His command to go
Concealed my confusion and my grief.
Since I must already die,
Let be, what will be. Only I fear, ye gods!
For my wife …
Be not fearful for her,
I shall rescue you both.
My brother hath promised me
To give ear to Giunia,
Less furiously and angrily.
Giunia at his feet?
And to what end?
She will appease his wrath.
In vain does she request.
Listen, Celia. The moment
Has perhaps arrived in which with one sublime deed
Thou canst impart a glory to thy life.
What am I to do?
The power thou dost exercise over Silla's heart
Is known to me.
Hasten to him and tell him
That, shunned of heaven and hated of Rome,
He cannot escape fateful death
Unless he return to his senses
And forget this blind, senseless love.
And thus my brother …
… will meet his death
Unless he this counsel follows.
Alas, all, all is to no avail.
I will attempt the difficult enterprise.
And if my pleadings
Win the desired success?
My right hand in reward I promise thee.
Such sweet reward doth lend me valour.
How happy am I
My brother from such dread peril to deliver
And thus to gain my most beloved.
No. 19 - Aria
I hear the storm rage,
And no kindly star shines,
Yet hope and love I cherish
Despite the great tribulation
Unswervingly in my inmost heart.
Cecilio and Cinna
Dost thou perchance believe, my friend,
That Celia knows how to calm
A heart hardened by gory conflicts?
And from time to time madly possessed
By unjust wrath,
Doth cause the Tiber to flow red with Roman blood?
I know the power that Celia doth wield
Over that turbulent spirit.
And Giunia, too, perchance
May calm him with her tears …
To what bitter abuse dost thou so futilely expose her?
An evil-doer is not so swift to change.
To forsake the path of crime
That it hath long been his custom to tread
Would require the whole might of a god.
Ah, nay. No pity nor hope are left to me.
Into thy care, friend, do I place my afflicted bride.
Let friendship guard and protect her.
May she never be the victim of my foe!
Avenge my death with his blood,
Then shall my wrathful soul find rest
In the realm of the dead.
Let all thought of death
Depart from thee. If Silla's heart
Against all duty and reason
Insists on its own destruction,
The godless one in his dark peril
Must indeed blench and quake.
No. 20 - Aria
When angry Jove shoots forth fits lightnings,
Cold fear grips
The heat is of the rash,
But in the laurel's shade
No fear plagues the shepherd.
Tyrants do well to fear
Devastation and chains,
In face of death only he can smile
Who is innocent of heart.
Cecilio, then Giunia
Ah no, of irrevocable fate
I am unafraid. In these unjust chains
I weep and sigh not for my death,
But for my dearest.
Sweetest husband …
Art thou here?
The way to this scene of terror
My faith, my tears.
Our love hath shown me.
And Silla …
The vile one doth grant, oh God,
Doth grant that I may bid thee a last farewell.
For us then
No pity, no hope?
At thy side I see only death approach
What have I not thu's far attempted?
Tears, laments, sighs, pleading
Avail naught in this inhuman heart
That cloth demand thy death or my hand.
Thy hand shall be the price for my life?
And how, Giunia, wilt thou decide thee?
At thy side will I die.
Thine own lovely life wouldst thou end for me?
I must and will
Die with thee.
To this step, oh dear one,
Do wifely love and daughterly duty oblige me.
Aufidio and guards; the above
Soon must thou, Cecilio,
Follow my steps.
Perhaps to my death …
Speak, tell me …
I know not.
Let us take a last embrace,
Come, my precious one.
Answer, oh Heaven.
I do ever obey and keep silent.
Let us not lose the fleeting moment, my life,
That fate hath bestowed upon us.
I go, I leave thee.
Receive in thy tender embrace
My soul and all of me.
Oh beloved husband, oh gods.
If torment can kill,
Why do I not die, now, close to thee?
O my dearest, that weeping, thou knowest not
How within my breast … let it suffice thee …
Yes, let it suffice thee to know that in this hour Alas …
Thy tears grieve me more
Than the tyrannous death that awaits me.
No. 21 - Aria
Ye cause me to die
Before I am dead.
This faithful soul
Hovering around you,
Distilled into sighs.
Exit with Aufidio and guards.
Husband, my life … Whither, ah,
Whither away? May I not follow thee? And who
Restrains my steps? Who can bid me? …
But all around in my misery I perceive naught
But silence and dread! Heaven itself
Heeds me no more and forsakes me. Alas, maybe,
Maybe my dearest from his severed veins
Already pours his soul and blood. Alas, before
He expires, bowed over his bleeding body
I wish to die … Why do I tarry?
Bereft of hope, wherefore do I delay? Do I hear,
Or seem I but to catch
The dull sound of a feeble voice,
Summoning me to itself? Ah, my husband,
If these are the last broken sounds
Of thy voice,
I hasten, I fly to fall when thou hast fallen.
No. 22 - Aria
Hedged about by gloomy thoughts of death
I see in fancy my lifeless spouse;
With ice-cold hand
He shows me the fresh, gory wound.
He speaks: Why dost thou hesitate to die?
Already I falter, faint and die,
And speed toward my adored dead husband,
Like some faithful shade I desire to follow him.
Silla, Cinna, Celia
No longer, Celia, Cinna, - Rome and Senate
Shall ye be judges of my righteousness
And the crimes of others.
Cecilio's life can,
More than thou wouldst have it, be of use to thee.
Thy life …
Her husband, mourned for dead,
Is to her arms restored.
I know that ever more
Do I become the object of common hatred.
But a betrayed dictator
Will have revenge, and he shall have it.
Weary am I of constant dread and trembling.
A life of agitation and uncertainty
Is, in barbaric fear, a life
At any moment to be ended.
In vain dost thou hope
If in sinister and bloody devastation,
Thou wouldst find rest and certainty.
The raving Giunia wilt thou see
Fill the streets with her laments and tears,
These eyes in tears
Can in the bosom of thy foe arouse …
Better than thou dost think do I perceive the danger.
Love, glory, vengeance, wrath and fear
Do I feel assail my heart.
Each would prevail.
Love doth caress. It scorneth my glory.
Wrath enflames me and cold fear hath me in icy grasp.
Vengeance impels me and threatens me.
The prey of wild sensations
And ready for defence,
Is Silla's heart the victor or the vanquished?
But at the last 'its the noble deed that doth decide
Whether I do merit the laurels of glory
That o'ershadow my brow.
Rome and the world shall be my judge.
Giunia, guards and the former
Cowardly spirit. What dost thou require of Giunia?
What wilt thou? A wretched traitor
Do Rome and the Senate suffer
With such dullness and apathy?
Patricians and senators,
Of you do I request vengeance and pity.
Pity doth the unhappy bride entreat,
And revenge will she have for the departed shade
Of a Roman and for her husband
Who still lies in his own blood.
Calm thy rage. Dry thy lovely lashes.
Useless are the tears and futile the rage.
Before the face of Rome
Will I have thee as witness of my crimes and cruelty.
In this place wilt thou soon acquaint
Thyself with Silla's heart.
Cecilio, Aufidio, guards, and as before
What do I see?
What is the secret?
What is that?
Let all Rome, the Senate and the people hear me.
I bring before you an honoured citizen
Who dared secretly to break the Law.
He it is, who, armed with a sword,
Before my guards did try
At the Capitol to murder his ruler.
He seeks no pardon, indeed fears me not,
He maligns and hates me.
This now is the moment that decides his fate.
Silla here asserts the power
That Rome invests in him.
Giunia, hear me and insult me if thou canst.
This vile Spilla, proud tyrant,
Hated by all, decrees that Cecilio shall live
And be thy husband.
'Tis true … my life …
Faithful bride … what joy.
What a transformation.
What did occur?
The gods be praised!
I stand here full of wonder.
Patricians and senators.
I desire of you now
That all whose names here stand written -
Here are contained the names of banished citizens -
May now return to native hearth.
Oh, how worthy, now, thou art of this high splendour
That doth surround thee.
At last dost thou see me compelled
Thee to admire.
Alas, certain ruin
Do I see before me.
Amid the general jubilation
And so much praise
Sincerely given to Silla from every lip,
Why is Cinna only from me parted,
Sighs and is silent,
Lost in gloomy thought?
Faithful friend …
Oh, cease to call me so.
Through my labours did Cecilio return to Rome.
I ran to the Capitol to pierce thee through,
And armed, not far away,
A hundred valiant men,
I alone incited discord,
Was the danger for thee.
Thou hast spoken enough,
And all have I comprehended.
Sweet hope farewell.
Now dost thou perceive the grief
Of secret conspiracy,
Celia, my sister, shall be thy bride.
What a magnanimous heart.
How shameful blushes burn
My face. How can I …
Thy tortures of conscience do suffice me.
I forget all.
How happy am I.
At last the reward of constant love!
Grace hath shown thee worthy
Of the virtue and compassion of his heart.
Here, my hand.
Which of my victories
Can compare to this, oh eternal gods?
Let me at thy feet
Entreat pardon of thee.
My counsel, the flattering praise
Now do I rue …
I forgive thee.
Thus do I crown my laudable work.
From my head I now remove
The victorious and honourable laurel wreath.
No longer am I your ruler,
I am become as you.
Herewith be freedom given to our native land.
May, the people's tears be dried.
No. Greatness is not the highest treasure.
It is the mother of care,
Fear, deception, betrayal.
Mortally blind, it is wont to lead
Away from the path of mercy and justice.
I know now
That innocence and a virtuous heart are to the soul
More welcome than false glory.
No. 23 - Finale
Great Silla, before the face of Rome,
Which owes him life and breath,
Stands today as victor
Beyond all praise and fame.
GIUNIA and CECILIO
The fate bitter to him,
Is bliss for me.
CINNA and SILLA
And Latium's liberty
Snaps its chains.
Great Silla stands today
High above all praise.
GIUNIA, CECILIO, CINNA and SILLA
Courage and mercy
Have triumphed over a base love.
There is no triumph to equal
The victory over one's own heart.
Upon the Capitol
All Rome merrily exults and is jubilant for Silla,
High above all fame and praise
He stands today as conqueror.