Accessible arias: O patria mia
Accessible arias: One of a new series of posts to bring you the words to some of opera’s most famous solo pieces – arias, in their original language and in translation.
O patria mia
Act III of Verdi’s Aida, Aida sings to herself – full of sorrow that she may never see her homeland again
CONTEXT: Radames has thrashed the Ethiopians, returned in glory and, as a result, been given the unwanted honour of marriage to the Pharaoh’s daughter Amneris: a gift you can’t easily refuse in ancient Egypt. At the start of Act III Amneris arrives by night at the Temple of Isis on the banks of the Nile, to prepare for her forthcoming wedding. Aida watches secretly in the darkness, summoned there by a message from Radames. As she waits, she sings this lament for her increasingly desperate situation. Her father, now a prisoner, has lost his kingdom. She has lost her lover. And in a tempestuous recitative, sung against an orchestral evocation of the swirling waters of the Nile, she plans to drown herself.
A plaintive oboe accompanies her yearning for the homeland (O patria mia) she will never see again, in an arioso passage that becomes the aria proper when she imagines the blue skies (O cieli azzurri) of her Ethiopian past. With heartfelt repetitions of the words ‘never more’ (mai più), it climaxes on a gentle top C – whose dream-like mood is then abruptly cut short by a figure emerging from the shadows. It’s not Radames, as expected, but Aida’s father. And there’s something he wants her to do.
LISTEN: to Micaela Carosi sing O patria mia 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
THE LYRICS: In the original Italian, as sung on stage, and in their English translation.
|O patria mia, mai più,
mai più ti rivedrò!
mai più, mai più ti rivedrò!
mai più, mai più ti rivedrò!O cieli azzurri…
O dolci aure native,
dove sereno il mio mattino brillò…
O verdi colli…
o profumate rive…
O patria mia, mai più
O patria mia, O patria mia,
O patria mia,
|Oh my beloved homeland,
never more, will I see you
never more, never more will I see youOh azure skies
Oh sweet native breezes
where sweetly the morning shines
Oh green hills…
oh perfumed streams…
Oh beloved homeland, never more
Oh beloved homeland
Oh beloved homeland,
Composer: Verdi. Libretto: Ghislanzoni. Discover more about Aida: synopsis, characters, context text, full details of current production.
Credits: Intro text: Michael White, score by Ricordi, as sung on stage, translations: Emma Beatty/Michele Bona