The online opera guide to Mozart’s aria VOI CHE SAPETE

Read Interesting facts and hear great YouTube Videos about the famous Aria “VOI CHE SAPETE”.



If you want to read and hear more about the opera LE NOZZE DI FIGARO, click on the link to the opera portrait


The Aria – Synopsis and background


Synopsis: Cherubino is the personal page of the count. He has displeased him and has to start military service on his order. He says goodbye to the countess with moving words.


Cherubino is a pant role for a young soprano or mezzosoprano. Cherubino is the count’s page and at an age when feelings awaken. The aria is a sung declaration of love by an adolescent to all women.

Mozart composed this touching scene in a naïve, almost childish tone. The aria opens with a graceful melody. The orchestra accompanies the singer with enchanting strings in pizzicato, imitating a guitar that Susanna plays and Cherubino sings the song he created for the Countess. Cherubino begins his aria with courtly elegance:

Aria, voi che sapete


With “Sento” and “affetto” the music becomes more intense. The words “avvampar” and “gelar” are urgent and give the person of Cherubino a supernatural shine. Particularly striking is the passage “Sospiro gemo”, which expresses his (sexual) desire. Mozart repeats this phrase twice, each of them slightly higher than before until the threshold of pain:

Voi che sapete


Soon Cherubino cools down and finds his way back to the more gallant opening theme of “voi che sapete” (you who know), which has taken on a different meaning after listening to his words.



The Aria – the text of VOI CHE SAPETE


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,

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.




Written for a “lyrical soprano”

The role of Cherubino is written for a lyrical mezzosoprano. The lyrical mezzosoprano must have a voice with a warm timbre and must be able to convince with a  bell-like sound in the high register. This should be colourful and must not sound forced. The middle register must be rich.



Famous interpretations of VOI CHE SAPETE


The Slovakian singer Lucia Popp became famous in her early years for her “Queen of the night”, then enlarged her repertoire. She managed to develop warmth in her voice, that the famous English critic Steane once compared her voice to that of an oboe. Listen to this great aria sung by Lucia Popp.

 Voi che sapete (1)  –  Popp


A more playful interpretation by Cecilia Bartoli:

Voi che sapete (2) –  Bartoli


And magically/hypnotic by Maria Ewing:

Voi che sapete (3) –  Ewing


Francesca Cossotto in breathless hurry.

 Voi che sapete (4) –  Cossotto


Elina Garanca.

Voi che sapete (5)  –  Garanca


And last, a version by Hilde Güden from the famous Vienna Ensemble from the fifties.

Voi che sapete (6)  –  Güden / Kleiber


A tip from a website visitor: “Missing is the great version by Christine Schäfer from the 2006 Salzburg performance under Harnoncourt In which it is shown that even a pure, precise, not too strong soprano voice can perform the aria wonderfully.”

Voi che sapete (7) – Schäfer


A BONUS Version with wonderful paintings of Vienna.

Voi che sapete




Peter Lutz, opera-inside, the online opera guide to the Aria “VOI CHE SAPETE” from the opera Le nozze di Figaro.




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