"None shall sleep" is also the motto of anyone who burns the midnight oil working, such as myself and other agents of darkness, who will also be beheaded if they do not meet their deadlines.
Ironically, opera tends to put most people to sleep instead of keeping them awake. Anyone who's suffered through an entire Wagnerian opus can attest to that. And there's no two ways about it: opera is a construct of the elite, and therefore can be very pretentious and intimidating.
It doesn't help matters any that most famous operas are sung in either Italian, French, or German. Unless one is fluent enough in those languages, one would have to consult the libretto to understand what the hell the fat lady in the blond braids is screaming about. It's like watching a foreign film while reading the subtitles: it's distracting and detracts from your full appreciation and enjoyment of what's going on.
But in the same manner that great films can transcend language and convey powerful universal messages, great music needs no lyrics to soothe the savage beast. At its finest, the notes themselves carry genuine emotions through the air, bypassing the head and going straight to the heart.
Which is why I will never tire of this portly, unkempt gentleman with bad teeth springing a wondrous surprise with his rendition of said aria:
Unsurprisingly, purists have lambasted Potts' rendition, criticizing everything from his enunciation to his occasional flat notes. But as a layman, I find the juxtaposition of elements in this particular moment moving: his dowdy appearance, so far removed from the tuxedoed tenors of La Scala; the low expectations of the audience and judges; and when he finally opens his mouth to sing - the denouement.
It is pure opera: Potts is the underdog, the underestimated hero, but once he sings, the true magic of music takes hold and transports all who listen to a beautiful, rarefied place.
True, his rendition is far from perfect. But mawkish as this may sound, it was because he sang from the heart that his voice pierced through everyone's pre-conceived notions and literally moved them to tears.
It was one of those moments trained professionals spend their lives dreaming of.
Nessun Dorma indeed.
(Since embedding for this video has been disabled by request *shakes fist at Simon Cowell*, it took me a good while to track this one down. If it's removed, you can watch Paul Potts sing Nessun Dorma here. )
Enjoy. I know I did.
* Wiki , as always, is your friend.
P.S. A German telecoms company obtained the rights to this footage and turned it into one of the more edifying commercials I've seen. You can view it here.
P.S.2.: Grazie, Eternal Wanderer, for the inspiration for this post. You and your Bituing Marikit.