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Turret Opera

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Cara Mia Addio
Release

April 19, 2011

Genre

Neoclassical

Length

~1:30 (in-game) / 2:33 (Portal 2 soundtrack)

Singer

Ellen McLain

Writer

Mike Morasky

Turret opera2

The Turret opera.

Turret opera3

Ditto, when the Animal King starts.

The Turret Opera is a piece of music featured at the end of Portal 2, where numerous Aperture Science Sentry Turrets sing the song "Cara Mia Addio," an Italian aria.

"Cara Mia Addio" is an Italian aria, but it is not accompanied by official lyrics. Fans of Portal 2 with an understanding of Italian have both transcribed them in their original tongue and translated them into English. The song was composed by Valve composer Mike Morasky, but the librettist is unknown.[1] Ellen McLain is the vocalist for the song,[2] as she also voiced GLaDOS and the turrets. In an interview, McLain claimed that she "made up the words out of [her] bad Italian [...] on the spot".[3]

OverviewEdit

The chorus can be seen/heard after Chell awakens in GLaDOS' main control room and is subsequently expelled from the facility via an elevator. The game then cuts to a cinematic ending where Chell first encounters a group of four sentry turrets who, after aiming their lasers at Chell, begin to beep and whir to the tune of the chorus.

After seeing these turrets, the elevator continues its upward path and eventually ends up in a large amphitheater-like room full of turrets. The vocal part is sung by a larger turret in the center, who is highlighted by a spotlight. The thicker size of the apparent turret could be a play on the American stereotype that Grand Opera sopranos are typically overweight and related colloquialism that "it ain't over 'til the fat lady sings."[4] The official Portal 2 guide gives further credence to such conjecture, as it refers to the "fat" turret as the "Soprano Turret.".[5]

Also of note is an enormous, crowned animal king sentry turret in what seems to be jaguar-print camouflage, which can be seen in the back of the amphitheater during the scene. It emits the deeper bass tones of the opera.

LyricsEdit

[note 1]

ItalianEdit

Cara bel, cara mia bella!
Mia bambina, oh ciel (Chell)!
Che ella stima![note 2]
Che ella stima!
O cara mia, addio!
La mia bambina cara...
perché non passi lontana?
Sì, lontana da Scienza!
Cara, cara mia bambina...
Ah, mia ben!
Ah, mia cara!
Ah, mia cara!
Ah, mia bambina!
Oh cara, cara a mi...

EnglishEdit

Beautiful dear, my darling beauty!
My child, oh heavens(chell)![note 3]
That she respects![note 4]
That she respects!
Oh my dear, farewell!
My dear child...
Why don't you walk far away?
Yes, far away from Science!
My dear, dear baby...
Ah, my beloved!
Ah, my dear!
Ah, my dear!
Ah, my little girl!
So dear to me...
  1. The lyrics were partially improvised. "The composer, Mike Morasky was the driving force behind the Turret Opera. He wrote all the music. He requested that I use my legit voice (operatic sound) on some of the takes. He chose the takes to use. He asked me to make up some words. So I did so in my bad Italian." – Reddit Ellen McLain interview
  2. The Spanish phrase "Que lástima" ("What a shame/pity" or, alternatively "lastima" (without accent) due to the emphasis "That it/she/he hurts") sounds similar and is widely misreported on the Internet as the actual lyrics.
  3. Note that "ciel" ("sky" or "heaven" in lyrical Italian) is a pun on Chell's name, as it sounds roughly the same.
  4. "She" is referred to GLaDOS.

Notable opera membersEdit

The Soprano TurretEdit

Turret wife

A render of the Turret Wife.

The Soprano Turret, also known as the "Pea Turret" by fans and "Turret Wife" in the game files and song title by it is first seen in the beginning of chapter 6, but not in full form, they are blown to pieces and can be found on fire. Then in Test Chamber 11, going up in a lift right before Chell enters her own lift. It is next seen in Test Chamber 16, where the Turret Quartet plays the song "Turret Wife Serenade," as titled by volume 1 of the Portal 2 soundtrack. She is last seen in the Single Player campaign Turret Opera. She is also witnessed in the ending credits of the Cooperative Campaign.

The Turret QuartetEdit

In the first test where Turrets can be destroyed with Thermal Discouragement Beams (Test Chamber 16), there is a Turret behind a metal grating. If this Turret is destroyed, the grating will come off, and one can then enter the vent and discover four singing Turrets below, each in a separate compartment and with the Soprano Turret, idle, opposite them. The vent also features scribblings done by Doug Rattmann.

The Quartet is seen again during the song at the very end of the game, which they open at the first elevator stop, before being picked up by the Turret group in the amphitheater.

The Animal KingEdit

Main article: Animal King

The Animal King turret appears at the back of the Turret Opera's primary room, serving as the source of bass tones.

Other Opera MembersEdit

Besides obviously the immeasurable numbers of Sentry Turrets, you can spot the two varieties of Defective Turrets (sideways and Plateless) also singing on the way up in the elevator to the main opera. Also, a lone Frankenturret is creeping along in the back of the orchestra. One with an astute eye can even spot the Bird in its nest.

TriviaEdit

Quartet

The initial Turret Quartet which begins the opera.

  • On the far back third tier, between the "fat" and animal king turrets, right of center and in front of one of the lit, concrete walls, a single Frankenturret can be seen hobbling along.[source?]
  • Earlier in the game, there is an easter egg where four sentry turrets can be seen playing the Turret Wife Serenade. The "fat" turret ("Turret Wife") is also present in a crate across from them, but does not sing.[7]
  • In Test Chamber 07, where the Preservation of Mass achievement is earned, the song or something similar can be heard in the background ("Love as a Construct").[8] It hums as an accompaniment to the tune played by the Companion Cube.[9]
    • Similarly, the song 'space phase' has part of an 8-bit version of the song in the background.[10]
    • The song can also be heard in the background of the music that emanates from Hard Light bridges, "Hard Sunshine".[11]
  • After GLaDOS retrieves Chell from space, the melody of the opera can faintly be heard as Chell passes out.
  • Ellen McLain, the voice of GlaDOS and the turrets, voiced every turret individually. The recording sessions directly followed McLain's recording of "Want you Gone". After recording many layers of the Opera (Do do, Va va va, etc.), Mike Morasky asked McLain to make up some lyrics, which she did so in her bad Italian she learned in High School. McLain was told that the Opera would serve as the goodbye to Chell and the player.[12]
  • The Turret Opera could be based on "O Mio Babbino Caro".[13]

Theories to Meaning of the Ending SongEdit

A theory has appeared since the game's release presenting the following interpretation of the ending scene:

"It is said in Greek/Roman myths that when you die, you arrive at a field and are accompanied by your closest friend. As you are dying, you hear an angelic harmony. When Chell arrives to see the turret quartet in the elevator, they begin singing. Then after arriving at a wheatfield, Chell is accompanied by the Companion Cube, her only friend. Chell is believed (in this theory) to have died in the elevator with the 4 turrets."

There is no official corroboration from Valve, or any evidence of this being the case. In addition, since the protagonist will often die while players go through the game (prior to reattempting the stage they died in), the occurrence of Chell's death is very familiar to most, if not all, players, and a similar experience is notably absent from the final elevator scene, casting doubt on any such interpretations. Furthermore, GLaDOS seems to refer to Chell during the Peer Review DLC, fearing that an old prototype of her chassis has been taken over by a "mystery woman" and that "she" has returned (believing that "she" is behind many of the malfunctions that occur throughout the game, unaware that the source of the malfunctions is a bird) where "she" could be Chell, or Caroline if it's wrong. This would not make sense if GLaDOS had Chell killed for good in the lift shaft. GLaDOS also refers to Chell as alive in unused lines for the Co-op Campaign, stating that "The only human within a thousands miles is a test-ruining sociopath", which is obviously another reference to Chell.

This song could also be used to prove the theory that Chell is daughter of Cave Johnson and Caroline. If you think that GLaDOS was singing the lyrics in English there are words like "Darling" and "Dear", words a mother would use to call her daughter.

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit

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