Johann Adolph Hasse

Hasse – Aria “Siam navi all’onde algenti” from L’Olimpiade, opera seria in 3 acts

Below are the original text in Italian and the translations in English, French and Romanian.

Note the many diacritical signs in all Romance languages.

You see me writing on this blog in Romanian without diacritics and pretty much everyone uses the Romanian language without diacritics, except for the official texts. I even write medical documents without them. By contrast, in France, using the diacritics was obligatory, because the French are astonishingly nationalistic. This created a hellish situation, because I was spending twice the time to correct all the letters. By contrast, English doesn’t have any diacritics and this symbolizes total freedom for me.

If you look again at the Romanian text, you’ll see an abundance of different accents compared to French or Italian. Imagine that for a non-native Romanian speaker, my language is very difficult. I had to explain some simple grammar rules to some colleagues in France and I was shocked how irregular my language is. It is probably one of the most difficult Indo-European languages and we can use a lot of words with metaphorical meanings. This renders figurative Romanian practically impossible to translate using Google Translate; I tried several times to see what my English friends can understand using the online tools and came to the conclusion that it doesn’t work. If I write in simple language, the online translators can do their job easily. But if I use metaphors and word inversions, it’s a mess.

This post has several reasons. To introduce to you the music of Hasse, to speak about diacritics and also to share this video that has 3 interesting aspects: the music is fantastic, the words below have a certain personal meaning for me, and finally, the aria is performed by a countertenor. If you read the archive of my blog, you will at some point see a pattern that is specific to my personality: the oxymoron. This means putting together the opposites. This was my solution to my personal history and it creates many paradoxes. In this blogpost a man sings with a voice of a woman, mixing the masculine and the feminine in one performance.


Siam navi all’onde algenti
Lasciate in abbandono;
Impetuosi venti
I nostri affetti sono,
Ogni diletto è scoglio,
Tutta la vita è mar.

Ben qual nocchiero in noi
Vaglia ragion, ma poi
Pur dall’ondoso orgoglio
Si lascia trasportar.


We are like ships on the silver waves
Drifting out of control;
Like capricious winds
Our affections are,
Every pleasure is a rock,
The whole of life a sea.

Like a steersman, reason
Keeps good watch over us, but then
On the swell of pride
We let ourselves be carried away.


Nous sommes des navires abandonnés aux flots glacés,
Nos sentiments sont des vents impétueux ;
Chaque plaisir est un écueil,
La vie entière est une mer.

Tel un timonier, la raison veille en nous, mais
Elle finit par se laisser emporter par les vagues de l’orgueil.


Suntem nave abandonate valurilor de argint
Sentimentele noastre sunt vânturi impetuoase
Fiecare plăcere este o stâncă
Întreaga viaţă este o mare.

Ca un timonier, raţiunea veghează în noi, dar
Sfârşeşte prin a se lăsa dusă de valurile orgoliului.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.