H.M.S. Pinafore

H.M.S. Pinafore is a comic opera in two acts, with music by Arthur Sullivan and a libretto by W. S. Gilbert. It opened at the Opera Comique in London, on 25 May 1878 and ran for 571 performances, which was the second-longest run of any musical theatre piece up to that time. H.M.S. Pinafore was Gilbert and Sullivan’s fourth operatic collaboration and their first international sensation.

The story takes place aboard the Royal Navy ship H.M.S. Pinafore. The captain’s daughter, Josephine, is in love with a lower-class sailor, Ralph Rackstraw, although her father intends her to marry Sir Joseph Porter, the First Lord of the Admiralty. She accepts her father’s wishes at first, but Sir Joseph’s promotion of the equality of humankind encourages Ralph and Josephine to overturn conventional social order. They declare their love for each other and eventually plan to elope. The Captain discovers this plan, but, as in many of the Gilbert and Sullivan operas, a surprise disclosure changes things dramatically near the end of the story.

The song in the video below, “When I Was a Lad”, is Captain Corcoran’s tale of how he rose to his position of power as a sea captain without ever actually going to sea. It was seen at the time as a thinly-veiled reference to the politician W.H. Smith who had recently been appointed First Lord of the Admiralty despite having neither military nor nautical experience.

This is just a straightforward Read & Listenexercise – for pure enjoyment!
Why don’t you try singing along with the chorus?

When I was a lad I served a term
As office boy to an attorney’s firm.
I cleaned the windows and I swept the floor,
And I polished up the handle of the big front door.
(He polished up the handle of the big front door)
I polished up that handle so carefully
That now I am the Ruler of the King’s Navy!
(He polished up that handle so carefully
That now he is the Ruler of the King’s Navy)

As office boy I made such a mark
That they gave me the post of a junior clerk.
I served the writs with a smile so bland,
And I copied all the letters in a big round hand.
(He copied all the letters in a big round hand)
I copied all the letters in a hand so free,
That now I am the Ruler of the King’s Navy!
(He copied all the letters in a hand so free,
That now he is the Ruler of the King’s Navy)

In serving writs I gained such a name
That an articled clerk I soon became;
From clerk I followed the shortest route
To the pass examination at the Institute.
(To the pass examination at the Institute)
That pass examination did so well for me,
That now I am the Ruler of the King’s Navy!
(That pass examination did so well for he,
That now he is the Ruler of the King’s Navy)

Of legal knowledge I acquired such a grip
That they took me into the partnership.
And that partnership till then had been,
The one and only ‘ship’ that I ever had seen.
(The one and only ‘ship’ that he ever had seen)
But that kind of ‘ship’ so suited me,
That now I am the Ruler of the King’s Navy!
(But that kind of ‘ship’ so suited he,
That now he is the Ruler of the King’s Navy)

I grew so rich that I was sent
By a wealthy member into Parliament.
I always voted at my party’s call,
And I never thought of thinking for myself at all.
(He never thought of thinking for himself at all)
I thought so little, they rewarded me
By making me the Ruler of the King’s Navy!
(He thought so little, they rewarded he
By making him the Ruler of the King’s Navy)

Now landsmen all, whoever you may be,
If you want to rise to the top of the tree,
If your soul isn’t fettered to an office stool,
Be careful to be guided by this golden rule:
(Be careful to be guided by this golden rule)
Stick close to your desks and never go to sea,
And you all may be rulers of the King’s Navy!
(Stick close to your desks and never go to sea,
And you all may be rulers of the King’s Navy)


Don’t get me wrong

• to get somebody/something wrong •
fraintendere o capire male qualcuno / sbagliare qualcosa.

Cosa intendiamo quando diciamo, “Don’t get me wrong.” In effetti, si tratta dell’uso di get nel senso di capire e l’uso di wrong come avverbio con il senso di in modo sbagliato. Messi insieme abbiamo un’espressione che significa qualcosa come, “Non mi fraintendere.” Anche se la forma più gettonata è proprio “Don’t get me wrong“, l’espressione può essere formulata anche in altri modi, sempre con l’idea di capire male o di non capire affatto:

  • Don’t get me wrong, I like your cooking. It’s just that I’m not hungry.
  • Non mi fraintendere, mi piace come cucini. È solo che non ho fame.
  • You’ve got it all wrong. You’ll have to start again.
  • Hai sbagliato tutto. Dovrai ricominciare da capo.
  • Bob’s very late. He probably got the instructions wrong.
  • Bob è molto in ritardo. Probabilmente ha capito male le istruzioni.
  • If I didn’t get him wrong, we should wait for him here.
  • Se non ho capito male, dovremmo aspettarlo qui.
  • I’m afraid I got the first part wrong again.
  • Temo di aver sbagliato la prima parte di nuovo.

N.B. Esiste anche un’espressione pronta all’uso che significa capire una cosa per un’altra (fraintendere): to get the wrong end of the stick. Letteralmente prendere il bastone dalla parte sbagliata.


Why don’t you try following the lyrics of this great song by “The Pretenders”?

to dazzle = accecare to play havoc with = scombinare fireworks = fuochi d’artificio to go off = scoppiare to split = spaccare/spaccarsi to wander = girovagare moonlit mile = miglio illuminato dalla luna once in a while = ogni tanto thunder = tuono hopeless = incapace so long = addio


Jealous Guy

Ecco un brano, bellissimo, che mette bene in evidenza l’uso del past continuous in inglese.


Stampa il testo riportato sotto e, ascoltando il brano, riempi gli spazi
con i verbi mancanti nel tempo giusto.

Per aiutarti (se serve), ho compilato una lista di alcuni dei verbi che mancano.
Puoi passarci sopra con il mouse per avere il significato.

La versione completa si trova in fondo all’articolo.
Non sbirciare prima di svolgere l’esercizio!

WORD LIST
to beatto meanto hurtto shiverto catchto hideto swallow

I __________  __________  of the past

and my heart  __________  __________  fast

I  __________  to  __________  control

I  __________  to  __________  control

I  __________  __________  to  __________  you

I’m sorry that I  __________  you  __________

Oh my, I  __________  __________  to  __________  you

I’m just a jealous guy

 

I  __________  __________  insecure

You  __________  not  __________  me anymore

I  __________  __________  inside

I  __________  __________  inside

I  __________  __________  to  __________  you

I’m sorry that I  __________  you  __________

Oh my, I  __________  __________  to  __________  you

I’m just a jealous guy

 

I  __________  __________  to  __________  you

I’m sorry that I  __________  you  ___________

Oh my, I  __________  to  __________  you

I’m just a jealous guy

 

I  __________  __________  to  __________  your eye

I  __________  that you  __________  __________  to  __________ 

I  __________  __________  my pain

I  __________  __________  my pain

I  __________  __________  to  __________  you

I’m sorry that I  __________  you  __________

Oh my, I  __________  __________  to  __________  you

I’m just a jealous guy

 

__________  __________  baby I’m just a jealous guy

__________  __________  baby I’m just a jealous guy

 

Riesci a trovare un errore grammaticale (voluto ovviamente) tipico del “inglese di strada”?


ATTENZIONE
VERSIONE CORRETTA QUI SOTTO

right-wrong

down-arrows

down-arrows


I was dreaming of the past
and my heart was beating fast
I began to lose control
I began to lose control
I didn’t mean to hurt you
I’m sorry that I made you cry
Oh my, I didn’t want to hurt you
I’m just a jealous guy

I was feeling insecure
You might not love me anymore
I was shivering inside
I was shivering inside
I didn’t mean to hurt you
I’m sorry that I made you cry
Oh my, I didn’t want to hurt you
I’m just a jealous guy

I didn’t mean to hurt you
I’m sorry that I made you cry
Oh my, I didn’t want to hurt you
I’m just a jealous guy

I was trying to catch your eye
I thought that you was trying to hide
I was swallowing my pain
I was swallowing my pain
I didn’t mean to hurt you
I’m sorry that I made you cry
Oh my, I didn’t want to hurt you
I’m just a jealous guy

Watch out, baby, I’m just a jealous guy
Look out, baby, I’m just a jealous guy


All I have to do is dream

When I want you in my arms,
When I want you and all your charms,
Whenever I want you,
All I have to do is dream.

Chi meglio degli Everly Brothers per introdurre alcune espressioni utili che girano attorno al nostro onnipresente all? Non sono espressioni difficili, ma poiché l’italiano si scosta molto dall’inglese, è difficile che arrivino in mente spontaneamente e vanno, quindi, studiate e tenute presenti.

Ecco le tre formule più tipiche:

  • All + soggetto + HAVE TO + infinito + essere
  • All + soggetto + NEED TO + infinito + essere
  • All + soggetto + CAN + infinito + essere

Tenendo presente che in tutti e tre i casi il senso di all è tutto quello che, analizziamo per primo il titolo del brano degli Everly Brothers:

  • All I have to do is dream.
  • Tutto quello che devo fare è sognare.

La traduzione letterale in italiano lascia molto a desiderare e, in effetti, l’equivalente più orrechiabile sarebbe, “Non devo fare altro che sognare.” Già si vede quanto le due lingue si scostino. Se vuoi dire in inglese, per esempio, “Non devi fare altro che chiamarmi,” non puoi dire, “You don’t have to do other than call me.” La traduzione letterale non funziona proprio. Bisogna dire, “All you have to do is call me.”

A questo punto vediamo degli altri esempi con have to:

  • All she has to do is cancel her subscription.
  • Non deve fare altro che cancellare il suo abbonamento.
  • All they will have to do is hire a car for the first two days.
  • Non dovranno fare altro che affittare una macchina per i primi due giorni.
  • All we had to do was sign a few documents.
  • Non dovevamo fare altro che firmare alcuni documenti.

Vediamo anche qualche esempio, meno comune, che non usa il verbo to do:

  • All Bob has to say is that he’s my brother.
  • Bob deve solo dire che è mio fratello.
  • All you will have to buy is some wine.
  • Dovrai comprare solo un po’ di vino.
  • All Lucy had to remember was where she had put the keys.
  • Lucy doveva solo ricordare dove aveva messo le chiavi.

Vediamo adesso degli esempi con need to (spesso molto simile a have to):

  • All you need to do is wash them before you eat them.
  • Bisogna solo lavarli prima di mangiarli.
  • All she needs to do is ask.
  • Non deve fare altro che chiedere.
  • All you will need to take is a swimming costume and a towel.
  • Bisognerà portare solo un costume e un telo da bagno.
  • All Neil needed to do was find somewhere to sleep.
  • A Neil serviva trovare soltanto un posto dove dormire.

Infine alcuni esempi con can:

  • All we can do is open the window and wait for the smoke to clear.
  • Non possiamo fare altro che aprire la finestra e aspettare che il fumo svanisca.
  • All the workers can do is organise some kind of protest.
  • Gli operai non possono fare altro che organizzare qualche forma di protesta.
  • All I can say is God help us!
  • Non posso dire altro che Dio ci aiuti!
  • All Tom could find was a bit of cheese and a stale roll.
  • Tom non poteva trovare altro che un po’ di formaggio e un panino raffermo.

Ed ecco il brano degli Everly Brothers:

El Paso

The country and western singer Marty Robbins
released “El Paso” in September 1959.

It was an instant success.

La canzone “El Paso” è il racconto in prima persona di un cowboy che ricorda il suo innamoramento con la bella Feleena e le tragiche conseguenze che ne sono susseguite. Dopo aver ascoltato il brano, anche più volte, prova a rispondere alle 15 domande di comprensione. Studenti con un po’ più di esperienza nell’ascolto potranno provare a compiere l’esercizio senza leggere i testi sullo schermo.

Clicca qui per le domande

“Wild is the Wind” ~ David Bowie (R.I.P.)

Deeply saddened by the passing of one of my favourite artists
whose music will always remain an essential part of the soundtrack of my life.

“Wild is the Wind”

one of the most beautiful love songs
ever to have been written

Turn the volume up really loud!

Glossary

wild = impetuoso
caress = carezza
hungriness = fame
blow = soffiare
through = attraverso

spring = primavera
leaf = foglia

cling = stringersi


In my Life

Il testo del brano “In My Life” dei Beatles illustra molto bene, all’interno di un testo abbastanza semplice, come possono interagire tra di loro diversi tempi dei verbi. In fondo all’articolo, per chi è interessato, c’è una breve analisi dei tempi dei verbi.


Stampa il testo riportato sotto e, ascoltando il brano, riempi gli spazi
con i verbi mancanti nel tempo giusto.

Per aiutarti (se serve), ho compilato una lista di alcuni dei verbi che mancano.
Puoi passarci sopra con il mouse per avere il significato.

La versione completa si trova in fondo all’articolo.
Non sbirciare prima di svolgere l’esercizio!

WORD LIST
to rememberto changeto remainto recallto compareto lose

There are places I ____________

All my life though some ____________  ____________

Some forever not for better

Some ____________  ____________ and some ____________

All these places ____________ their moments

With lovers and friends I still ____________  ____________

Some ____________ dead and some ____________   ____________

In my life I ____________  ____________ them all

Continua a leggere…

Smile

Stampa il testo riportato sotto e, ascoltando il brano, riempi gli spazi
con le parole mancanti nella forma giusta.

Per aiutarti (se serve), ho compilato una lista delle parole che mancano.
Puoi passarci sopra con il mouse per avere il significato.

La versione completa si trova in fondo all’articolo.
Non sbirciare prima di svolgere l’esercizio!

WORD LIST
to achecloudto cryeven thoughfearto get bygladnessto hideto keep on
to light upmaybenearsadnessto shineskysorrowtearworthwhile

Smile though your heart is ___________ ,

Smile ___________   ___________  it’s breaking,

When there are  ___________  in the ___________ ,

You’ll  ___________  ___________  .

If you smile through your  ___________  and  ___________  ,

Smile, and  ___________  tomorrow,

You’ll see the sun come  ___________  through

For you.

 

___________  ___________  your face with  ___________  ,

___________  every trace of  ___________  ,

Although a  ___________  may be ever

So  ___________  .

That’s the time you must  ___________  ___________  trying,

Smile, what’s the use of  ___________  ,

You’ll find that life is still  ___________  ,

If you just smile.

That’s the time you must  ___________  ___________  trying,

Smile, what’s the use of  ___________  ,

You’ll find that life is still  ___________  ,

If you just smile.


ATTENZIONE
VERSIONE CORRETTA QUI SOTTO

right-wrong

down-arrows

down-arrows


Smile though your heart is aching,
Smile even though it’s breaking,
When there are clouds in the sky
You’ll get by.

If you smile through your fear and sorrow,
Smile, and maybe tomorrow,
You’ll see the sun come shining through
For you.

Light up your face with gladness,
Hide every trace of sadness,
Although a tear may be ever
So near.

That’s the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what’s the use of crying,
You’ll find that life is still worthwhile,
If you just smile.

That’s the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what’s the use of crying,
You’ll find that life is still worthwhile,
If you just smile.


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