Verdi’s greatest arias

6 September 2019
Man in cape and hat with wolf mask with red eyes and moustache points with cane offstage.

Verdi was the ultimate musical salesman. No-one works a scene or an emotion harder than him. With Rigoletto, which was described by the composer as ‘his best opera’, gracing our main stage this Season, we’ve decided to look at Verdi’s vast output of work and compile a list of our favourite Verdi arias. 

1. Sempre libera from La traviata

This is one of Verdi’s most dazzling showpieces for soprano, which has been borrowed by Nissan to promote their cars. Full of personality and spirit, Sempre libera roughly translates as 'always free' and is sung by Violetta as she determines to continue her fun-loving way of living. Its boisterous exuberance is infectious.

2. La donna è mobile from Rigoletto 

An audience favourite; it was originally rehearsed in tight secrecy ahead of its premiere in 1851. Translated as ‘women are fickle’, listen out for that quintessential boom-chuck-chuck Verdi rhythm. These days you'll be able to hear it on the football field and on the computer game Grand Theft Auto. It has also been used by Doritos in two Super Bowl ads and has been used to express the art of cooking in Leggo’s tomato sauce advert.

3. Si Un Jour from La forza del destino 

Although the original music is from the opera La forza del destino (The Force of Destiny), Si Un Jour is widely recognised for its use in the film Jean de Florette which brought it to a huge audience for the first time (oh - and that Stella Artois ad!). However, you won’t find the exact music (or words) in the manuscript as it was inspired by and is based upon the opera’s Overture.

4. Ecco l'Orrido Campo from Un ballo in maschera

Amelia’s aria opens the second act of the opera with emotions running high for she loves Riccardo, who is her husband Renato’s right-hand-man, and is depending on a ‘magical’ herb to give her all of the answers. This aria is absolutely marvellous, incredibly intense and absurdly difficult. 

5. Libiamo ne’ lieti calici from La traviata 

One of Verdi’s most catchy numbers; Brindisi, as it’s more commonly known, has been used by various brands, including Heineken, to promote their products. We can’t help but hum along...

With music as good as this, it’s no wonder that brands looking to promote their products often turn to opera’s master-composer to provide their soundtrack.

If you enjoyed our top five, why not join us for Rigoletto at Wales Millennium Centre; Theatre Royal Plymouth; Venue Cymru; Birmingham Hippodrome; New Theatre Oxford; Mayflower Theatre this Autumn Season