What are the lyrics to the ‘Queen of the Night’ aria?

20 January 2023, 11:08

Classic FM

By Classic FM

What is the Queen of the Night really singing about in Mozart’s aria? We translated the German lyrics to find out…

‘Hell’s vengeance boils in my heart’, the Queen of the Night famously cries in Mozart’s 1791 opera The Magic Flute, one of the most popular operas still performed around the world today.

It’s the first line of her spectacular, coloratura piece ‘Der Hölle Rache’, more commonly known as the Queen of the Night aria.

The soprano aria reaches an astonishingly high, Mariah Carey-level F6 above top C, and is therefore reserved only for the most daring sopranos, like Mozart’s sister-in-law Josepha Hofer (the original Queen of the Night) and German opera singer, Diana Damrau.

It depicts the Queen’s fit of rage, as she thrusts a knife into the hand of her daughter Pamina, and instructs her to assassinate the sorcerer Sarastro, else she will curse Pamina and never see her again.

Among her virtuosic cries of ‘ah-ah-ah-ah-aaah!’, here’s what the Queen is actually singing about...

Read more: The 20 greatest operas ever written

What are the original lyrics to ‘Queen of the Night’?

Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen,
Tod und Verzweiflung flammet um mich her!
Fühlt nicht durch dich Sarastro
Todesschmerzen,
So bist du meine Tochter nimmermehr.
Verstossen sei auf ewig,
Verlassen sei auf ewig,
Zertrümmert sei'n auf ewig
Alle Bande der Natur
Wenn nicht durch dich!
Sarastro wird erblassen!
Hört, Rachegötter,
Hört der Mutter Schwur!

Read more: A glorious list of the world’s greatest opera arias

Anna Siminska as Queen of the Night in the Royal Opera's production of Mozart's Die Zauberflote
Anna Siminska as Queen of the Night in the Royal Opera's production of Mozart's Die Zauberflote. Picture: Getty

What are the lyrics in English?

The vengeance of Hell boils in my heart,
Death and despair flame about me!
If Sarastro does not through you feel
The pain of death,
Then you will be my daughter nevermore.
Disowned may you be forever,
Abandoned may you be forever,
Destroyed be forever
All the bonds of nature,
If not through you
Sarastro becomes pale!
Hear, Gods of Revenge,
Hear a mother’s oath!

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