Scherza Infida — A Handelian Masterpiece

Scherza infida, an aria from the opera Ariodante,  is one of my favorite arias by Handel. It masterfully portrays the sadness and remorse of a deceived lover.

Ariodante is probably Handel’s most famous opera, along with Giulio Cesare and a few others. It is an opera seria in three acts, with music that intimately tells the tragic story. Unfortunately however, after it’s initial success (premiere in 1735 with eleven performances), Ariodante fell into obscurity for nearly two centuries.

This particular aria, scherza infida, is sung by the lead role (Ariodante), after he is told by an enemy that his love has betrayed him. He sings of his sorrow and true despair. Yet, at the end of the opera, Ariodante and his love (who had never been unfaithful) are reunited.

The Italian lyrics and translation to scherza infida: 

E vivo ancora?                       Do I still live? 
E senza il ferro,                    And without a sword,
oh! Dei!  che farò?                  O gods! what shall I do?  
Che mi dite, o affanni miei?         What do you say, o my troubles?

Scherza infida in grembo al drudo,   Enjoy yourself, o faithless one, in the arms of your lover.
io tradito a morte in braccio        Betrayed by you,
per tua colpa ora men vo.            I will now give myself up to death's embrace.

Mà a spezzar l'indegno laccio,       But, in order to break this shameful tie,
ombra mesta e spirto ignudo,         a sad and bereaved spirit, 
per tua pena io tornerò.             I will return to punish you.


I have several versions of this aria which I love, however my two favorites are these:

Another wonderful aria in Handel’s Ariodante is bramo aver mille vite. It is a duet at the end of the opera when the two lovers are joyfully reunited.

Bramo aver mille vite, by Karina Gauvin and Ann Hallenberg.

Bramo aver mille vite, by Philippe Jaroussky and Nuria Rial.

33 thoughts on “Scherza Infida — A Handelian Masterpiece

  1. Thanks for this post. I wasn’t familiar with the aria (or the opera) but found it through a Baroque playlist on Spotify, with Anne Sofie von Otter (I think) singing. Very lovely and I was grateful for your help with the translation.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you so very much for the wonderful, wonderful videos & music!! I am relativerly familiar with Handel, of course, but his productioSn is so vast, that I had never heard the incredibly beautiful and emotional aria Scerza infida! But the Monteverdi piece moved me almost just as much! Thank you again!

    Francisco Pareja

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jaroussky’s might be my favorite but equalling it is the legendary Joyce DiDonato’s. She is as heartbreaking as Jaroussky is celestial.


  4. I have been working for months on 400+ playlist (in three parts) of seicento and baroque aria playlists, in more or less historical order, arias chosen for their beauty and beauty of performance. You might want to look at them.



  5. Hi Myriam, I found your blog while searching for the lyrics of Scherza Infida. Thank you for posting them. I love Baroque music too. Jaroussky’s version is my favourite. I love his voice. Your other blog posts look very interesting, too. I’ll enjoy reading them, particularly the history ones.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Miriam, thank you for going to all this trouble. Most grateful. A wonderful piece. The whole opera is a wonder. Carry on appreciating these wonderful works, it means you have a soul. David, UK

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Myriam, who are you? a teenager who is touched by Haendel operas, that screams “wonderful person”!
    I play opera for a living (i am the concertmaster of the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra in Canada) but it fills my life with joy… if you ever find yourself in Toronto, you’re coming to an opera performance on me! Cheers 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love Baroque Opera, so I enjoy it a ton. I love exploring lyrics, music, instruments and singers! Yes, I have listened to Mozart’s operas and I love them too. I will keep on exploring and listening to this music! 🙂


    • Thanks! Um, do you mean a link on my page? Then you should click it, unless I didn’t make an actual link out of it, in which case you can copy and paste the URL into your search engine box. Let me know if that’s not what you meant. 🙂


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