Lascia ch'io pianga

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Left: Handel's 1711 autograph score showing the opening few bars of the aria; Right: 1876 aria sheet music

"Lascia ch'io pianga" is an Italian-language soprano aria by composer George Frideric Handel which has become a popular concert piece. The melody for the song began its life as an Asian dance in his 1705 opera Almira.[1] As an aria, the piece was first used in Handel's 1707 oratorio Il trionfo del tempo e del disinganno, albeit with a different text and name, "Lascia la spina".[2] Handel later recycled the work for his 1711 opera Rinaldo, giving the aria to the character Almirena (portrayed by soprano Isabella Girardeau in the opera's premiere) in act 2. Rinaldo was a major triumph for Handel, and it is with this work that the aria is chiefly associated.


The aria is written in the key of F major with a time signature of 3
and a tempo marking of Largo. The instrumentation calls for violin I and II, viola, and double bass. A performance takes about five minutes.

The aria has been recorded by many artists and is featured in several films including Farinelli;[3] All Things Fair by Bo Widerberg;[4] L.I.E. by Michael Cuesta; Antichrist[5] and Nymph()maniac, both by Lars von Trier.


The libretto was written by Giacomo Rossi.

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

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

Allow that I weep over
my cruel fate,
and that I may sigh
for the freedom

Let my sadness shatter
these chains
of my suffering,
if only out of pity.


  1. ^ Dean and Knapp, pp. 176–78
  2. ^ Hicks, Anthony. "Rinaldo". Oxford Music Online. Retrieved 28 January 2011. (subscription required)
  3. ^ Haynes, Bruce, The End of Early Music, Oxford University Press US, 2007, p. 25. ISBN 0-19-518987-6
  4. ^ Lærerinden – Musikstycken (in Swedish). Swedish Film Institute. Retrieved on 28 July 2008.
  5. ^ Antichrist Pressbook (PDF). Artificial Eye. Retrieved on 28 July 2009.


External links[edit]