Lascia ch’io pianga — A Dramatic Aria by Handel

In George Frederic Handel’s opera Rinaldo, he puts to music a dramatic love tragedy and joyful reunion, in the setting of the early eleventh century during the first crusade. Lascia ch’io pianga is the sad aria sung by Almerina (a soprano), who is mourning for her lover, Rinaldo. Being a typical baroque aria, it is dramatic and full of vivid emotion. 

Lascia ch’io pianga
mia cruda sorte,
e che sospiri
la libertà.

Il duolo infranga
queste ritorte
de’ miei martiri
sol per pietà.

Let me weep
my cruel fate,
and sigh
for liberty.

May sorrow break
these chains
of my sufferings,
for pity’s sake.

Today, the aria is normally sung by a mezzo-soprano. There are many different renditions because this is a more well-known baroque opera aria, but here is one version by Italian mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli.

A couple other of my favorites:

 

 

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