Là ci darem la mano

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    \new Voice = "DG" {
      \clef bass \time 2/4 \key a \major \set Staff.midiInstrument = #"trombone"
      \set Score.tempoHideNote = ##t \tempo 4 = 60
      \relative a { \autoBeamOff
        a8 a16 b cis8 a fis b4.
        gis8 gis16 gis a8 b e,4 \autoBeamOn
    \new Lyrics \lyricsto DG {
      Là ci da- rem la ma- no,
      Là mi di- rai di sì.

" ci darem la mano" (Italian for "There we will give each other our hands") is a duet for the characters Don Giovanni (baritone) and Zerlina (soprano) in Mozart's 1787 opera Don Giovanni (act 1, scene 9).


The duet, with words by Lorenzo Da Ponte, is sung during the first act of the opera. Don Giovanni has just met Zerlina and her betrothed, Masetto. In an attempt to distract Masetto and have him removed from the scene, Giovanni offers to host a wedding celebration for the couple at his castle. When Masetto has left, Giovanni attempts to seduce Zerlina to accompany him to his castle. However, after the end of the duet Donna Elvira arrives and thwarts the seduction, and leaves with Zerlina.

Character Italian text Poetic translation Literal translation

Don Giovanni

Là ci darem la mano,
Là mi dirai di sì.
Vedi, non è lontano;
Partiam, ben mio, da qui.

Give me thy hand, oh fairest,
Whisper a gentle 'Yes',
Come, if for me thou carest,
With joy my life to bless.

There we will give each other our hands,
There you will say 'yes' to me.
See, it's not far;
Let's go there, my dear.


(Vorrei e non vorrei,
Mi trema un poco il cor.
Felice, è ver, sarei,
Ma può burlarmi ancor.)

I would, and yet I would not,
I dare not give assent,
Alas! I know I should not...
Too late, I may repent.

I would like to, and I wouldn't,
My heart is trembling a little.
True, I could be happy,
But it could trick me again.

Don Giovanni Vieni, mio bel diletto! Come, dearest, let me guide thee. Come, my beautiful delight!
Zerlina (Mi fa pietà Masetto.) Masetto sure will chide me! I feel sorry for Masetto.
Don Giovanni Io cangierò tua sorte. Danger shall ne'er come nigh thee! I will change your fate.
Zerlina Presto ... non son più forte. Ah ... that I could deny thee! Soon...I won't be strong anymore.
Don Giovanni Andiam! Andiam! Let's go! Let's go! Let's go! Let's go!
Zerlina Andiam! Let's go! Let's go!


Andiam, andiam, mio bene,
a ristorar le pene
d'un innocente amor.

With thee, with thee, my treasure,
This life is nought but pleasure,
My heart is fondly thine.[1][2]

Let's go, let's go, my dear,
To restore the values
Of an innocent love.


\new Staff \with { \remove "Time_signature_engraver" } { \clef bass \key a \major e e' }
\new Staff \with { \remove "Time_signature_engraver" } { \clef treble \key a \major e' fis''}
Don Giovanni

"Là ci darem la mano", number 7 in the score, starts in the key of A major with a tempo indication of andante and a time signature of 2/4. The vocal range for Don Giovanni covers E3 to E4, Zerlina's range covers E4 to F5. The piece is labelled a "duettino", a "little duet". This may be because the two roles sing only as a duet towards the very end of the piece, after Zerlina's assenting Andiam!. Until then, Giovanni tries to seduce Zerlina, but she is torn between Giovanni's exhortations and her fidelity to Masetto. Finally, the signal for her submission is a swerving chromatic melodic line, falling over almost an octave during 3 1/2 bars. After a fermata emphasising Zerlina's weakening resolve, the tempo then changes to allegro and the time signature to 6/8. A proper two-part duet, much of it in third parallels, is then sung for most of the remaining 32 bars. A performance takes between 3 and 3+12 minutes.

Literary reference[edit]

In the Calypso episode of the novel Ulysses by James Joyce, Molly tells her husband Leopold Bloom that she will be singing this duet on her upcoming concert tour organised by Blazes Boylan. Molly is about to commence an affair with Boylan later that day, so this may be an unconscious hint of her intentions.

In chapter XIV of Aldous Huxley's Antic Hay, Theodore Gumbril hums the opening of this aria and imagines his dining partner, Mrs Myra Viveash, as Zerlina, a part she is happy to play, although subconsciously he is thinking of Emily, another married woman with whom he'd rather be dining.


The duet has been the basis of several other works, including:


  1. ^ Piano vocal score, G. Schirmer (1900), with an introduction by H. E. Krehbiel, English text by Natalie MacFarren (1826–1916)
  2. ^ Italian and English text
  3. ^ Variazioni sopra "Là ci darem la mano" (Calegari): Scores at the International Music Score Library Project

External links[edit]