Mimi

Giacomo Puccini’s famous opera, La Boheme, is packed with fantastic arie, like the one Mimi sings: “Mi chiamano Mimi.”  When Rodolfo reveals to her that he has fallen in love, he wants to know all about her. He asks her to tell him something about her. Mimi’s reply begins by telling him she is called Mimi, but her true name is Lucia.

The English translation is as follows:

Yes, they call me Mimi
but my true name is Lucia.
My story is short.
A canvas or a silk
I embroidery at home and outside…
I am happy happy and at peace
and my pastime
is to make lilies and roses.
I love all things
that have gentle sweet smells,
that speak of love, of spring,
of dreams and fanciful things,
those things that have poetic names …
Do you understand me?
They call me Mimi,
I do not know why.
Alone, I make
do by myself.

I do not go to church,
but I pray a lot to the Lord.
I stay all alone
there in a white room
and look upon the roofs and the sky
but when the thaw comes
The first sun, like the
first kiss, is mine!
Buds in a vase…
Leaf and leaf I spy!
That gentle perfume of a flower!
But the flowers that I make,
Alas! no smell.
Other than telling you about me, I know nothing.
I am only your neighbor who comes out to bother you.

 

 

You can listen to a diva perform it here:

The Italian lyrics are as follows:

Si. Mi chiamano Mimì
ma il mio nome è Lucia.
La storia mia è breve.
A tela o a seta
ricamo in casa e fuori…
Son tranquilla e lieta
ed è mio svago
far gigli e rose.
Mi piaccion quelle cose
che han sì dolce malìa,
che parlano d’amor, di primavere,
di sogni e di chimere,
quelle cose che han nome poesia…
Lei m’intende?
Mi chiamano Mimì,
il perché non so.
Sola, mi fo
il pranzo da me stessa.
Non vado sempre a messa,
ma prego assai il Signore.
Vivo sola, soletta
là in una bianca cameretta:
guardo sui tetti e in cielo;
ma quando vien lo sgelo
il primo sole è mio
il primo bacio dell’aprile è mio!
Germoglia in un vaso una rosa…
Foglia a foglia la spio!
Cosi gentile il profumo d’un fiore!
Ma i fior ch’io faccio,
Ahimè! non hanno odore.
Altro di me non le saprei narrare.
Sono la sua vicina che la vien fuori d’ora a importunare.

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