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"Lascia ch'io pianga" Lyrics and Text Translation

Almirena's Aria from Handel's Opera, Rinaldo


Handel's opera, Rinaldo, was the first Italian opera written for the English stage. Despite less-than-stellar judgements from the English music critics, the audiences loved it. The story takes place in Jerusalem at the end of the 11th century, at the time of the first Crusades. At the end of the first act, the knight Rinaldo sits with his lover, Almirena in the garden. All of a sudden the evil sorceress appears and abducts Almirena. At the start of the second act, Almirena sits in her captor's palace garden mourning her predicament. Having been taken away from the love of her life with no hope of ever escaping, Almirena can only pray for mercy. Listen to this sublime performance of "Lascia ch'io pianga" by Renee Fleming on YouTube. To learn more about the story of Rinaldo, read the Rinaldo Synopsis.

Italian Lyrics
Lascia ch'io pianga
Mia cruda sorte,
E che sospiri
La libertà.

Il duolo infranga
Queste ritorte,
De' miei martiri
Sol per pietà.

English Translation
Let me weep
My cruel fate,
And that I
should have freedom.

The duel infringes
within these twisted places,
in my sufferings
I pray for mercy.

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