'Stride la Vampa' Lyrics and English Text Translation

The gypsy woman Azucena sings this aria from Verdi's "Il Trovatore"

When it premiered in 1853, Giuseppe Verdi's opera, "Il Trovatore" (Italian for "The Troubadour"), was an instant success. The aria "Stride la Vampa" is an aria from the second act, performed by the gypsy woman Azucena. 

History of the Opera 'Il Trovatore'

Based on the 1836 play "El Trovador" by Antonio Garcia Gutierrez, and with a libretto by Salvadore Cammarano, "Il Trovatore" premiered in 1953 at the Teatro Apollo in Rome.

It was not an immediate critical success, but its racy, unconventional plot made it wildly popular with contemporary audiences.

Plot of the Opera 'Il Trovatore'

The opera centers around Azucena and her quest for vengeance against the Count di Luna. It's quite the soap opera: He was responsible for burning Azucena's mother at the stake because the woman bewitched the count's infant brother. Azucena kidnapped the child and apparently killed him, but Count di Luna believes the child may yet be alive and has vowed to find Azucena. 

The story takes place in Spain, during a Civil War. The count is pursuing Leonora, a noblewoman who does not return his affections. The troubadour of the opera's title is actually a rebel leader, Manrico, who serenades Leonora to get the count's attention. 

The count challenges Manrico to a duel, but Manrico is unable to kill the count, despite gaining the advantage.

And in a stunning plot twist: Azucena is revealed as Manrico's mother. Or so he thinks: it turns out he's the infant brother the count believed was dead.

Oh, and remember Leonora, the woman the count is obsessed with? She's fallen in love with Manrico, and takes poison to avoid betraying him with the count.

When the count executes Manrico, Azucena has her revenge: Count di Luna has killed his own brother.

Azucena sings 'Stride la Vampa.'

At the beginning of Act 2, Azucena recalls the fire that killed her mother in the aria "Stride la Vampa" (which translates as "the flames are roaring). She describes her drive to see vengeance on Count di Luna.

Italian Text of  'Stride la Vampa.'

Stride la Vampa!
La folla indomita
corre a quel fuoco
lieta in sembianza;
urli di gioia
intorno echeggiano:
cinta di sgherri
donna s' avanza!
Sinistra splende
sui volti orribili
la tetra fiamma
che s'alza al ciel!
Stride la vampa!
giunge la vittima
nerovestita,
discinta e scalza!
Grido feroce
di mortr levasi;
l' eco il ripete
di balza in balza!
Sinistra splende
sui volti orribili
la tetra fiamma
che s'alza al ciel!

English Translation of 'Stride la Vampa'

The fire roars!
The restless mob
runs to the fire
with happy faces;
shouts of joy
echo around;
surrounded by killers
a woman is brought forth!
Evil shines
upon horrible faces
beside the gloomy flame
that rises to the sky!
The fire roars!
The victim arrives
dressed in black,
disheveled, barefoot!
A fierce shout
of death arises;
the echo repeats
from hill to hill!
Evil shines
upon horrible faces
beside the gloomy flame
that rises to the sky!