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from Act I of the Italian opera La Bohème by Giacomo Puccini
Libretto: Giuseppe Giacosa

Role: Rodolfo, a poet
Voice Part: tenor       Fach: lyric tenor
Setting: Christmas Eve in a room in an attic
Synopsis: After both of their candles go out, Rodolfo and a young woman who has come to his room in order to relight her candle are in the darkness together. Pretending to look for her key which she had lost in the room, Rodolfo instead finds her hand and sings to her of his dreams and ambitions. He also tells her that he has fallen in love with her.
Range: Tessitura:
not enterednot entered
Translations/Aria Texts:
Translation into English by Peter J. Nasou (added 1998-01-29)
Che gelida manina, Rodolfo's aria from La Bohème

Che gelida manina,			What a frozen little hand,
se la lasci riscaldar.			let me warm it for you.
Cercar che giova?			What’s the use of looking?
Al buio non si trova.			We won't find it in the dark.
Ma per fortuna				But luckily
é una notte di luna,			it’s a moonlit night,
e qui la luna				and the moon
l’abbiamo vicina.			is near us here.
Aspetti, signorina,			Wait, mademoiselle,
le dirò con due parole			I will tell you in two words
chi son, e che faccio,			who I am, what I do,
come vivo.  Vuole?			and how I live.  May I?
Chi son?  Sono un poeta.		Who am I?  I am a poet.
Che cosa faccio?  Scrivo.		What do I do?  I write.
E come vivo?  Vivo.			And how do I live?  I live.
In povertà mia lieta			In my carefree poverty
scialo da gran signore			I squander rhymes
rime ed inni d’amore.			and love songs like a lord.
Per sogni e per chimere			When it comes to dreams and visions
e per castelli in aria,			and castles in the air,
l’anima ho milionaria.			I’ve the soul of a millionaire.
Talor dal mio forziere			From time to time two thieves
ruban tutti i gioelli			steal all the jewels
due ladri, gli occhi belli.		out of my safe, two pretty eyes.
V’entrar con voi pur ora,		They came in with you just now,
ed i miei sogni usati			and my customary dreams
e i bei sogni miei,			my lovely dreams,
tosto si dileguar!			melted at once into thin air!
Ma il furto non m’accora,		But the theft doesn’t anger me,
poiché, poiché v’ha preso stanza	for their place has been
la speranza!				taken by hope!
Or che mi conoscete,			Now that you know all about me,
parlate voi, deh!  Parlate.  Chi siete?	you tell me who you are.
Vi piaccia dir!				Please do!

Translation by Peter J. Nasou (
Sheet Music/Scores:
The Ultimate Tenor Aria Album (Version 2.0). Published by CD Sheet Music. Available at and
Celebri Arie di Opere - Volume 4. Published by Ricordi. Available at
Adler, Kurt. Operatic Anthology, Volume 3 - Tenor. Published by G. Schirmer. Available at and
Enrico Caruso - Voices of the Opera Series. Published by Ricordi. Available at and
Anthology of Italian Opera - Tenor. Published by Ricordi. Available at and
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