'Vilja Lied' Lyrics, English Translation, and Recommended Recordings

Hanna's Aria from The Merry Widow (Die Lustige Witwe) by Franz Lehár

Dame Joan Sutherland performs the role of Hanna in Franz Lehár's famous opera, The Merry Widow.
Dame Joan Sutherland performs the role of Hanna in Franz Lehár's famous opera, The Merry Widow. Photo by Ron Scherl/Redferns/Getty Images

Sung in the second act of Franz Lehár's opera, "Die Lustige Witwe" ("The Merry Widow"), Hanna, the wealthy (and merry) widow, hosts an extravagant party in full style of the Pontevedrian culture while they are in Paris. Hanna is unaware that the Baron is trying to arrange a marriage for her. (The Baron's country is on the verge of bankruptcy, and he fears that if Hanna marries a man from another country, she will take her large fortune valued at over $20 million with her and move to his homeland.) As the opera progresses, Hanna becomes aware of what is going on, but continues to play along; she finds it to be incredibly entertaining.

As a most gracious host, Hanna entertains her guests and sings this aria about a forest fairy who enchants hunters. 

German Lyrics

Nun lasst uns aber wie daheim
Jetzt singen unsern Ringelreim
Von einer Fee, die wie bekannt
Daheim die Vilja wird genannt!

Es lebt eine Vilja, ein Waldmägdelein,
Ein Jäger erschaut sie im Felsengestein!
Dem Burschen, dem wurde
So eigen zu Sinn,
Er schaute und schaut
auf das Waldmägdlein hin.
Und ein niegekannter Schauder
Fasst den jungen Jägersmann,
Sehnsuchtsvoll fing er still zu seufzen an!
Vilja, o Vilja, Du Waldmägdelein,
Fass mich und lass mich
Dein Trautliebster sein!
Vilja, O Vilja, was tust Du mir an?
Bang fleht ein liebkranker Mann!

Das Waldmägdelein streckte
die Hand nach ihm aus
Und zog ihn hinein in ihr felsiges Haus.
Dem Burschen die Sinne vergangen fast sind
So liebt und so küsst gar kein irdisches Kind.
Als sie sich dann satt geküsst
Verschwand sie zu derselben Frist!
Einmal hat noch der Arme sie gegrüsst:
Vilja, o Vilja, Du Waldmägdelein,
Fass mich und lass mich
Dein Trautliebster sein!


Vilja, O Vilja, was tust Du mir an?
Bang fleht ein liebkranker Mann!

English Translation

But now let's do as we do at home
Let's sing our ring dance rhyme
About a fairy known whom
at home we call Vilja!

Once lived a Vilja, a maid of the woods,
And hunter spotted her in rocky outcroppings!
The young boy, who was
Affected curiously by her presense,
He looked and looked
at the wood-maiden.


And a shudder the boy had never known
Took hold of him,
Longingly he began quietly to sigh!
Vilja, oh Vilja, you maid of the woods,
Take me and let me
be your dearest true love!
Vilja, O Vilja what are you doing to me?
Begs a lovesick man!

The maid of the woods stretched
her hand to him
And pulled him into her rocky home.
The boy nearly lost all his sense
And so she loved him and kissed him as no earthly child.
When she kissed him to his content
She disappeared in an instant!
The hunter waved goodbye only once before she vanished:
Vilja, oh Vilja, you maid of the woods,
Take me and let me
be your dearest true love!
Vilja, O Vilja what are you doing to me?
Begs a lovesick man!

Recommended Listening

Here are the best performances of Hanna's "Vilja-Lied" aria. Each of these leading women are a joy to listen to; each voice is special and unique, so it is hard to say who takes the cake. Happy listening!