La ci darem la mano Lyrics and Translation

Don Giovanni's and Zerlina's Duet from Mozart's Don Giovanni

Uruguayan tenor Erwin Schrott as 'Don Giovanni' and American mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard as 'Zerlina' sing the duet 'La ci darem la mano' in the Metropolitan Opera/Marthe Keller production of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's 'Don Giovanni,' final dress rehearsal prior to the season premiere. Metropolitan Opera House, Lincoln Center, New York, New York, September 25, 2008.
Uruguayan tenor Erwin Schrott as 'Don Giovanni' and American mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard as 'Zerlina' sing the duet 'La ci darem la mano' in the Metropolitan Opera/Marthe Keller production of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's 'Don Giovanni,' final dress rehearsal prior to the season premiere. Metropolitan Opera House, Lincoln Center, New York, New York, September 25, 2008. Jack Vartoogian/Getty Images

"La ci darem la mano" is a duet sung by Don Giovanni and Zerlina in the first act of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's popular opera, Don Giovanni. From the audiences' perspective, it's no secret Don Giovanni is quite the womanizer. Having just tried to seduce one of his past conquests without realizing who she was, Don Giovanni quickly shoved his servant, Leporello, in front of her to take the brunt of her anger.

Leporello sang the famous Catalog Aria, telling her that she was just one of the many women Don Giovanni has been with. Moments later,  a wedding party arrives. The young couple, Zerlina and her fiancé Masetto, are days away from the ceremony. Don Giovanni is immediately attracted to Zerlina and greets them. Wanting to find a moment alone with Zerlina, he offers them his castle to be used as their wedding venue.  When the show signs of hesitation, Leporello manages to lead Masetto away from Zerlina and Don Giovanni. Now alone with Zerlina, Don Giovanni manages to seduce her, despite her love for Masetto.

Recommended Listening

The music for Mozart's "La ci darem la mano" is rather easy for a well trained singer - its difficulty is considerably less challenging than arias like Mozart's "Der hölle rache" from Die Zauberflöte and "O wie will ich triumphieren" from Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail both of which require incredible ranges and extremely agile voices.

Considering the content of the aria's music, you'll find it highly lyrical and practically unforgettable. Below are a few of my favorite YouTube recordings for you to listen to while following along with the lyrics and translation.

  • Bryn Terfel and Renee Fleming (watch on YouTube)
  • Samuel Ramey and Dawn Upshaw (watch on YouTube)

"La ci darem la mano" Italian Lyrics

Don Giovanni:
La ci darem la mano,
La mi dirai di sì:
Vedi, non è lontano,
Partiam, ben mio, da qui.
Zerlina:
Vorrei e non vorrei,
Mi trema un poco il cor,
Felice, è ver, sarei,
Ma può burlarmi ancor!
Don Giovanni:
Vieni, mio bel diletto!
Zerlina:
Mi fa pietà Masetto.
Don Giovanni:
Io cangierò tua sorte.
Zerlina:
Presto... non son più forte.
Don Giovanni:
Andiam!
Zerlina:
Andiam!
Duet:
Andiam, andiam, mio bene,
a ristorar le pene
D’un innocente amor.

"La ci darem la mano" English Translation

Don Giovanni:
There I'll give you my hand,
There you'll say yes:
See, it is not far,
my love, let's leave from here.
Zerlina:
Should I or shouldn't I,
my heart trembles at the thought,
it's true, I would be happy,
I can still have fun!
Don Giovanni:
Come, my beloved beautiful!
Zerlina:
It makes me pity Masetto.
Don Giovanni:
I will change your fate.
Zerlina:
Soon ... I am no longer strong enough to resist.
Don Giovanni:
Let us go!
Zerlina:
Let us go!
Duet:
Come, come, my darling,
to restore our pleasure
of an innocent love.

History of Don Giovanni

Mozart chose Lorenzo Da Ponte as his librettist for Don Giovanni.  Da Ponte also wrote the libretti for Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro (1786) and Cosi fan tutte (1790).

The opera was commissioned in 1787, and by October 28, 1787, Mozart had completed it.  Don Giovanni is based on the legends of Don Juan; the content likely chosen to honor Prague's long-held tradition on Don Juan operas. It was registered as an opera buffa (comedy opera) but contains melodramatic and supernatural elements as well. A day after its completion, Mozart conducted the premiere performance in Prague's Teatro di Praga, and much to his delight, the opera was a fantastic success. According to the statistics compiled by Operabase, a company to which over 700 opera houses report their performances, Mozart's Don Giovanni was the 10th most performed opera in the world.