I can sing, in a sling!
I had a go at this aria a couple of weeks ago. There are many versions on You Tube. I like this interpretation because it is excerpted from a staged opera and thus live rather than studio recorded, or performed as part of a recital; and Diana Damrau has such a meaty dramatic voice.
The Tales of Hoffmann is an opera in three acts composed by Jacques Offenbach. Elle a Fui … is Antonia‘s aria from the second act. Its most famous aria is from act 3, Belle nuit, ô nuit d’amour, sung by the character Giulletta.
Offenbach died 4 months before the opera premiered.
The turtle dove in the song is Hoffmann, with whom Antonia has fallen in love. And he’s gone away. And she’s bemoaning the fact. The story goes that Antonia is said to have inherited her mother’s singing voice, but that she suffers from a disease which, if she sings, will kill her. It reminds me a bit of The Lady of Shalott, this tale. She does sing and she dies, as does the Lady of Shalott in looking out of her window. Both choose life and love rather than slavery in the form of a life unlived.
And here’s Belle Nuit, which I’ve also had a go at, sung in duet by Damrau and mezzo soprano Angela Brower: