Learn the Lyrics to "Voi Che Sapete Che Cosa E Amor"

Lynelle Kenned as Cherubino performs in Mozart's opera, Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro) at the Cape Town Opera on October 16,2014 in Cape Town, South Africa.
Lynelle Kenned as Cherubino performs in Mozart's opera, Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro) at the Cape Town Opera on October 16,2014 in Cape Town, South Africa. John Snelling/Getty Images

The aria "Voi Che Sapete Che Cosa E Amor" is from "The Marriage of Figaro," one of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's most famous operas. This comic opera was first performed in Vienna in 1786, and continues the story of "The Barber of Seville."

Mozart the Composer

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Jan. 27, 1756—Dec.5, 1791) was already a well-known composer by the time he met the Italian librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte in 1785.

Together, they adapted the storyline of "The Barber of Seville," a popular opera of the era, to create "The Marriage of Figaro." When it premiered the following year in Vienna, the opera was hailed as a masterpiece.

The success would not go unnoticed. Austrian Emperor Joseph II, who named Mozart his chamber composer in 1787. That same year, Mozart and Da Ponte would premier their next collaboration, "Don Giovanni." The two operas are considered by critics and music historians to be among Mozart's finest works, and they are produced by opera companies on a regular basis. 

The Plot of "Figaro"

"The Marriage of Figaro" (in Italian, "Le Nozze di Figaro") is a four-part comic opera. The plot revolves around Susanna and Figaro, two servants who work in the castle of Count Almaviva, and their quest to be married. At the beginning of the first act, the lovers are planning their nuptials. Meanwhile, the Count schemes to woo Susanna with the help of Don Basilio, Susanna's music teacher, even though Almaviva is already married.

Basilio is eager to foil Figaro's plans because Figaro had once thwarted Basilio's plans to wed Rosina, who later married the Count. He goes off to plot against Figaro, while Cherubino, a young page, confesses to Suzanna that he is infatuated with the Countess. When the Count appears, Suzanna hides Cherubino, who witnesses the Count try and seduce Susanna.

 

In the second act, Figaro offers to help the Countess expose the Count's philandering ways. Figaro proposes disguising Cherubino as Susanna in order to expose the Count. Countess Rosina agrees to the plan and dresses Cherubino as a woman as Susanna helps. But they are interrupted by the arrival of the Count and must quickly hide. Although they manage to escape, the Count's suspicions have been aroused.

In the third act, Susanna confronts the Count, who responds by warning her that she is about to lose Figaro as her lover. At that moment, Judge Don Curzio enters with Marcellina and Bartolo. Curzio insists that Figaro must marry Marcellina or repay a loan owed to her. But Figaro claims he is exempt because he is of noble birth, revealing a birthmark that proves him to be the son of Marcellina and Bartolo. The family reunited, Bartolo proposes marrying Marcellina, and the two leave with Figaro and Susanna to plan a double wedding. The Count, meanwhile, continues to plot revenge against Figaro.

In the final act, Figaro is told that the Count and Susanna have been having an affair, so he hides in the garden to await their arrival. He watches as the Count appears with "Susanna" (the Countess in disguise) and Cherubino, who begins flirting with her.

Susanna, meanwhile, shows up dressed as the Countess. Figaro emerges from hiding and pretends to woo her as the rest of the cast appears. The disguised Countess and Susanna reveal themselves. While Figaro and Susanna reconcile, the Count begs the Countess to forgive him, which she does.

Cherubino's Aria

"Voi Che Sapete Che Cosa E Amor" is sung in the second act by Cherubino, who is traditionally played by a woman with a soprano voice. In the song, Cherubino is lamenting his amorous habits even as he pines for the Countess' love. The original lyrics are in Italian as follows:

Voi che sapete che cosa e amor,
Donne, vedete, s'io l'ho nel cor,
Donne, vedete, s'io l'ho nel cor.
Quello ch'io provo, vi ridiro,
E per me nuovo capir nol so.
Sento un affetto pien di desir,
Ch'ora e diletto, ch'ora e martir.
Gelo e poi sento l'alma avvampar,
E in un momento torno a gelar.
Ricerco un bene fuori di me,
Non so chi il tiene, non so cos' e.
Sospiro e gemo senza voler,
Palpito e tremo senza saper,
Non trovo pace notte ne di,
Ma pur mi piace languir cosi.
Voi, che sapete che cosa e amor
Donne, vedete, s'io l'ho nel cor,
Donne, vedete, s'io l'ho nel cor,
Donne, vedete, s'io l'ho nel cor.

English translation:

You who know what love is,
Women, see whether it's in my heart,
Women, see whether it's in my heart.
What I am experiencing I will tell you,
It is new to me and I do not understand it.
I have a feeling full of desire,
That now, is both pleasure and suffering.
At first frost, then I feel the soul burning,
And in a moment I'm freezing again.
Seek a blessing outside myself,
I do not know how to hold it, I do not know what it is.
I sigh and moan without meaning to,
Throb and tremble without knowing,
I find no peace both night or day,
But even still, I like to languish.
You who know what love is,
Women, see whether it's in my heart,
Women, see whether it's in my heart,
Women, see whether it's in my heart.

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