What are the lyrics and translation of ‘O mio babbino caro’?

24 September 2018, 15:54 | Updated: 24 September 2018, 15:56

It’s a well-known aria from a not-particularly-famous opera. But what are the lyrics to Puccini’s ‘O mio babbino caro’?

From Puccini’s one-act opera Gianni Schicchi (1918), ‘O mio babbino caro’ is one of the most performed arias of the last 100 years.

The opera itself might not have quite the same status as some of Puccini’s other operas – like La bohème (1896) or Tosca (1899) – but its famous aria continues to secure its place in opera houses around the world.

Watch more: This toddler ugly-crying to ‘O mio babbino caro’ is highly relatable

Who sings ‘O mio babbino caro’?

‘O mio babbino caro’ translates as ‘Oh my dear papa’, and it is sung by Lauretta, who begs her father Gianni Schicchi to help her marry the love of her life, Rinuccio.

The aria has famously been performed by sopranos Anna Netrebko, Dame Kiri te Kanawa, Montserrat Caballé and Katherine Jenkins.

What is Gianni Schicchi?

Gianni Schicchi is a short, one-act opera, and the third and final instalment of Puccini’s Il trittico (The Triptych).

The Triptych contains three one-act operas, which were initially supposed to be presented together. However, when the Triptych was first performed at New York’s Metropolitan Opera in December 1918, it was clear Gianni Schicchi was the favourite.

Pronounced JA-KNEE SKI-KEE, the opera is based on an incident mentioned in Dante’s Inferno.

In the first part of his Divina Commedia, Dante visits the Circle of Impersonators and sees a man, Gianni Schicchi, being condemned to hell for impersonating Buoso Donati and falsely altering his will.

Staying true to Dante’s story, Puccini’s opera recounts the story of Schicchi, who impersonates the late aristocrat Donati and dictates a new will in his own favour.

Initially, Puccini opposed the idea of staging Gianni Schicchi outside of the original Triptych, but by 1920 he reluctantly consented to separate performances. Now, the opera is often staged alone, or with other short operas.

Katherine Jenkins
Katherine Jenkins. Picture: Getty

What are the lyrics to ‘O mio babbino caro’?

O mio babbino caro
Mi piace, è bello, bello
Vo’ andare in Porta Rossa
A comperar l’anello!
Sì, sì, ci voglio andare!
E se l’amassi indarno,
Andrei sul Ponte Vecchio,
Ma per buttarmi in Arno!
Mi struggo e mi tormento!
O Dio, vorrei morir!
Babbo, pietà, pietà!
Babbo, pietà, pietà!

English translation:

Oh my dear papa
I like him, he is so handsome.
I want to go to Porta Rossa
To buy the ring!
Yes, yes, I want to go there!
And if my love were in vain,
I would go to the Ponte Vecchio
And throw myself in the Arno!
I am pining, I am tormented!
Oh God, I would want to die!
Father, have pity, have pity!
Father, have pity, have pity!