15. "Il Segreto per esser felice"
The Secret to being happy...
Carmen readily identifies with Orsini's philosophy of living to the full in the present, with no care for what the future will bring
Sung by a woman – a 'trouser role', Orsini is a young man the court of the infamous poisoner, Lucrezia Borgia, who gives her name to this opera by Gaetano Donizetti. The cheerful vitality of this aria contrasts starkly with the opera's sombre ending: Lucrezia has poisoned the wine Orsini and his friends drink while partying and they are doomed. In a further convoluted twist, one of Orsini's companions is Lucrezia's illegitimate son. She tries to save him with an antidote but he rejects her and dies. In despair, Lucrezia poisons herself. Orsini makes merry while he can, and Carmen, too, siezes all the day might bring, despite seeing her own death foretold in the cards.