Accessibility links

  • Home
  • News
  • Accessible arias: Celeste Aida

Accessible arias: Celeste Aida

By Emma Beatty (Former Features Editor)

3 February 2011 at 2.47pm | 2 Comments

Accessible Arias: This post is the first in a new series to bring you the words to some of opera's most famous solo pieces - arias, in their original language and in translation.

Celeste Aida

Act I of Verdi's Aida: Radamès sings to himself before going off to war

CONTEXT: We're in ancient Egypt where Radamès, a young soldier with heroic ambitions, hopes to be selected to lead the army in its latest campaign. In the introductory recitative to this, his opening aria, he imagines the glory it would bring him - and a foretaste of that glory comes with punctuating trumpet fanfares. But what he wants above all is the favour of the girl he loves, the heavenly (celeste) Aida to whom the aria is rhetorically addressed. It's for her, he says, that he'd be fighting and pursuing conquests.

The small irony here is that Aida is an Ethiopian slave in the Egyptian court, and the territory he plans to conquer is Aida's own native Ethiopia (which, as we will later discover, is ruled by her father). But at least, says Radamès, his victory would unite her with her homeland. And although, blinded by love, he may not have thought things through too carefully, the open-hearted directness of this aria, with its simple metrical and rhyming scheme, does establish him as an attractive, passionate, uncomplicated character – who, in singing terms, needs a secure and steady vocal line that can climb persistently upwards in register and finish on a top B flat. Pianissimo, according to the printed score.

LISTEN: to Marcelo Álvarez sing Celeste Aida at The Royal Opera House, 13 May 2010. Radio 3 excerpt, with full lyrics. If viewed in YouTube users may access GoogleTranslate to change the subtitles into over 30 different languages. Click on the CC icon on the bottom of the YouTube screen.

LYRICS: Italian and English

Celeste Aida

Se quel guerriero Io fossi!,
se il mio sogno si avverasse!
Un esercito di prodi
da me guidato
e la vittoria e il plauso
di Menfi tutta!E a te, mia dolce Aida,
tornar di lauri cinto…
Dirti: per te ho pugnato
e per te ho vinto!

Celeste Aida, forma divina,
mistico serto di luce e fior;
Del mio pensiero
tu sei regina
tu di mia vita sei
lo splendor.

Il tuo bel cielo
vorrei ridarti,
le dolci brezze del patrio suol,
un regal serto sul crin posarti,
ergerti un trono vicino al sol.

Celeste Aida, forma divina,
mistico raggio di luce e fior;
Del mio pensiero tu sei regina
tu di mia vita sei lo splendor.

Il tuo bel cielo
vorrei ridarti,
le dolci brezze del patrio suol,
un regal serto sul crin posarti,

Ergerti un trono vicino al sol,
un trono vicino al sol,un trono
vicino al sol, vicino al sol.

If I were that soldier!,
If my dream were to come true.
An army of proud men
led by me
and the victory and the applause
of all Memphis!And to you, my sweet Aida,
to return crowned with laurels.
To say to you, for you I fought
and for you I won!

Heavenly Aida, divine figure,
mystical halo of light and flowers;
You will be the queen
of my thoughts
you are the splendour
of my life.

Your beautiful native skies
I wish to show you once more,
the sweet breezes of your homeland,
a regal halo on your head I will place
build you a throne next to the sun.

Heavenly Aida, divine figure,
mystical halo of light and flowers;
You will be the queen of my thoughts
you are the splendour of my life.

Your beautiful native skies
I wish to show you once more,
the sweet breezes of your homeland,
a regal halo on your head I will crown

Build you a throne next to the sun,
a throne next to the sun,
next to the sun, next to the sun

Composer: Verdi. Libretto: GhislanzoniDiscover more about Aida

Credits: Intro text: Michael White, score by Ricordi, as sung on stage, translations: Emma Beatty/Michele Bona

By Emma Beatty (Former Features Editor)

3 February 2011 at 2.47pm

This article has been categorised Opera and tagged Accessible Arias, celeste aida, Education, marcelo alvarez, The Royal Opera, verdi

This article has 2 comments

  1. maria cristina responded on 3 February 2011 at 8:15pm Reply

    Hi to all,
    michele is simply wanderful!
    bye

  2. This is an interesting article and could be the start of an informative series. Will the ROH now film arias specifically for their use in future similar articles rather than relying on audio only?

    But why is there no mention *in* this article that this opera is being performed at the ROH in two months time? Why does clicking the "Discover more" link not tell you that this opera is being performed soon (you have to find and click on the "future performances" link)? And why continue the series with arias from operas that the ROH is not scheduled to perform this season?

Comment on this article

Your email will not be published

Website URL is optional