This piece comes from Xerxes - an opera seria in three acts. The opening aria, "Ombra mai fu", sung by Xerxes to a tree, is set to one of Handel's best-known melodies, and is often played in an orchestral arrangement, known as Handel's "Largo". It is often performed at solemn occasions such as funerals and weddings.
One of the most famous arias from the opera Carmen by French composer Georges Bizet. It tells the story of the downfall of Don José, a naive soldier who is seduced by the wiles of the fiery Gypsy, Carmen.
Habanera is the popular name for the aria "L'amour est un oiseau rebelle" (Love is a rebellious bird) from Georges Bizet's 1875 opera Carmen. It is the entrance aria of the title character, a mezzo-soprano role, in scene 5 of the first act. One of the most familiar arias in all opera it has appeared widely in popular culture, having been sung by the Marx Brothers, by Beyonce in a Pepsi advert and even having been subjected to an hilarious parody by the Muppets.
Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro was voted by 172 opera singers in 2017 as the greatest opera ever written. In the ravishing duet "Sull aria," the Countess (soprano) dictates a letter to Susanna (soprano), asking the Count to meet her. In the film "The Shawshank Redemption," Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) plays the song over the prison public address system, leading Redding (Morgan Freeman) to say "I have no idea to this day what those two Italian ladies were singing about. ... I'd like to think they were singing about something so beautiful it can't be expressed in words, and it makes your heart ache because of it."
Gianni Schicchi, written in 1917-18, forms the final part of Puccini's Il trittico (The Triptych). In the aria "O mil babbino caro" (Oh, my dear papa) Lauretta (soprano) begs her father for help. Gianni Schicchi was a huge hit, with "O mi babbino caro" becoming one of Puccini's best-loved arias.
The exquisite "Flower Duet" (French: "Duo des fleurs/Sous le dôme épais") is a famous duet for sopranos from Léo Delibes opera Lakmé, first performed in Paris in 1883. The duet takes place in act 1 of the opera, between characters Lakmé, the daughter of a Brahmin priest, and her servant Mallika, as they go to gather flowers by a river.
"Libiamo ne' lieti calici" ("Let's drink from the joyful cups") is one of the most famous examples of a "brindisi" or "drinking song," in which a group celebrates the joys of imbibing. It takes the form of a joyful duet in waltz time. It takes place in act one, at a late night party in which Alfredo (tenor) tries to impress Violetta (soprano), with whom he has fallen in love.
This minuet appears at the end of act one of Mozart's 1797 opera Don Giovanni. It is played by a chamber group on stage at a party scene in which Don Giovanni assaults Zerlina. The melody, as transcribed by Moritz Moszkowski, is a popular piece amongst amateur keyboard players. It has also been used as basis for pieces by other composers, including Liszt and Sigismond Thalberg.
"One fine day" is a soprano aria from the opera Madama Butterfly (1904) by Giacomo Puccini, set to a libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa. It is sung by Cio-Cio San (Butterfly) on stage with Suzuki, as she imagines the return of her absent love, Pinkerton. It is the most famous aria in Madama Butterfly, and one of the most popular pieces in the entire soprano repertoire.
"Là 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. In it the roguish Don Giovanni attempts to seduce Zerlina, who is already betrothed to another man. The seductive tune has been used by a number of composers, including Berlioz and Beethoven, as a basis for sets of theme and variations.
Bizet's finished "The Pearl Fishers" at the age of just 24. It was not a great success, despite containing some of the most memorable of the composer's melodies, including this beautiful barcarole, in which Nadir (tenor) recalls his pursuit of a beautiful veiled woman in Kandy.
Tu ca nun chiagne is a Neapolitan song made famous by opera singers from Carusso through to Pavarotti and Andrea Bocceli. It was written by Ernesto De Curtis with words by Libero Bovio. The song was first performed in 1915, during the early days of the Italy's entry into the First World War.