Definitions

marriage figaro

Se vuol ballare

The cavatina Se Vuol Ballare is the title of an aria from the opera The Marriage of Figaro by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. It means If you want to dance in Italian. Written a mere three years before the French Revolution, it portrays Figaro's intent to foil Count Almaviva's womanizing, but can also be read as a political attack on the power-wielding nobility of the time. The song is sung by Figaro upon discovering the Count's ploys to exercise his newly reasserted feudal right of ius primae noctis to sleep with Figaro's wife Susanna before the consummation of their marriage. Figaro sings of how he will unravel the Count's schemes and thwart him.

Libretto

Italian
Translation in English
Se vuol ballare, signor contino, il chitarrino le suonerò, sì, se vuol venire nella mia scuola, la capriola le insegnerò, sì.

Saprò, saprò, ma piano, meglio ogni arcano, dissimulando scoprir potrò.

L'arte schermendo, l'arte adoprando, di qua pungendo, di là scherzando, tutte le macchine rovescerò.

Se vuol ballare, signor contino, il chitarrino le suonerò.

If you would dance, my pretty Count, I'll play my little guitar for you. If you will come to my dancing school I'll gladly teach you the capriole.

I will, I will learn, slowly; Sooner every dark secret by dissembling I shall uncover.

Artfully and coyly, artfully working, stinging here, joking there, all of your schemes I'll turn inside out.

If you would dance, my pretty Count, I'll play my little guitar for you.

Variations

Beethoven wrote a series of variations on the theme of Se Vuol Ballare.

External links

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