I'm sorry to have to announce...

...that nobody wins a beef brisket.

The opera, henceforth known as "Ursularia, " (not necessarily my favorite, but so it goes) has been sent out to the performers and programs are about to go to print. Saddly, the title came from either Jon or Majel (I don't remember which)...and not one of the avid Opera Cabal Blog readers. And I'll be damned if I'm sending Jon or Majel a beef brisket.

Lest we lose our sense of urgency, allow me to announce Opera Cabal's next competition:

Opera Cabal's


(This is Sciarrino...Salvatore to his friends - I'm sure.)

The inspiration for the competition is Nabakov's famous quote: "Translations are like mistresses, those that are pretty are not faithul, and those that are faithful are not pretty."

Nabakov dares you to throw down the gloves and prove him wrong.

(This is Nabakov...Vlady to his friends - I'm sure.)

I know there are some overly-enthusiastic Italian scholars out there who are just DYING for another project. So here goes: below is copied the text from Sciarrino's "Infinito Nero," for soprano and chamber ensemble, which will be performed on the Thursday night concert (April 5) of the Collusions Festival in Chicago at the Zhou B Art Center, with dal niente and Tony Arnold (yours truly flapping his arms about).

The text comes from Maria Maddalena de' Pazzi, or rather, it comes from her scribes who were standing around recording her every word as she had her mystical visions (....ahh...we're beginning to see a theme here...).

(This is Maria Maddalena...Maddy to her friends - I'm sure.)

I want the MOST POETIC and MOST FAITHFUL translation possible. Bonus points if you can explain the symbolic imagery in the painting of Maddy.

The winner will have his or her translation printed in the program given out at the Collusions Festival, published on this blog, will be given hearty congratulations and a healthy slap on the back...and will receive something...REALLY cool...which I'll announce later in the week (I'm open to suggestions.)

Best of luck, and be warned, the poem is pretty dark.

(Opera Cabal cannot be held responsible for any mystical fits and/or visions of blood, milk, faces - or anything else for that matter - that arrise from attempting to translate this text.)

Please send your entries to
Deadline for entry into the competition is 11:59pm on Saturday, March 31.

You have 11 days. Fancy that.


infinito nero:
l'anima si transformava nel sangue, tanto da non intendere poi altro che sangue, non vedere altro che sangue, non gustare altro che sangue, non sentire altro che sangue, non pensare altro che di sangue, non potere pensare se non di sangue. E tutto ciò che operava la sommergeva e profondava in esso sangue
influirsi influssi influiva rinfluiva e il sangue influiva rinfluiva influssi rinfluire rinfluisce rinfluisce influssi rinfluivono influssi rinfluivono superesaltando
allora il Santo mi versò sul capo un vaso e il sangue mi coperse tutta. Anche la Santa versò. Il latte mescolandosi col sangue mi fa une bellissima veste. Obumbrata la faccia
o, o, o (silezio) o, o, o (sil.)
o se le piante potessino avere amore, non griderebbero altro
o, io non lo so (sil.)
timui timore amoris. Timui timore amoris. Timui timore amoris (sil.)
ma dillo, ma dillo
mors intravit per fenestras. Ma tu perché
figure immagini e facce, aspirazione, inspirazione e respirazione in te (sil.)
sul corpo tuo aperture a noi incognite. Usci, finestre, buche, celle, forami di cielo, caverne. Senza fondo stillanti. Sono le piaghe dentro cui mi pedro
vieni, vieni
con la corona: le sue spine, lunghe, trapassano il Padre Eterno in cielo
egli scrive su di me con il sangue. Tu con il latte della Vergine. Lo Spirito con le lagrime
non si aprino le nuvole, si bene il vergineo vetre (sil.) si ma
vieni, vieni, deh, vieni, o, vieni vieni (sil.)
ohimé, vivendo muoio (sil.) o, o, o (sil.)

(stando un poco si pone a sedere)

orsù eccomi in terra (sil.) non posso ir più giù io (sil.) e sì (sil.) o savia pazzia (sil.)

(aprendosi nelle braccia tutta si rilassa, ferma ferma. E poi comincia a divincularsi: gesti e moti che pare si consumi, per un pezzo)

io non intendo (sil.) è meglio il tuo, sì, sì (sil.) ohimé (sil.) tu sei senza fine, ma io vorrei veder in te qualche fine

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