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from Act II of the French opera Werther by Jules Massenet
Libretto: Edouard Blau

Role: Werther, a poet, about 23 years old
Voice Part: tenor       Fach: lyric tenor
Setting: in front of a church, Frankfurt, Germany, 1780
Synopsis: Charlotte has told Werther that he must stay away from her until Christmas. Werther is saddened and prays for strength to follow her directive but also tells of the happiness he will feel when he sees her again.
Range: Tessitura:
F#/Gb3 - B4F#/Gb3 - F#/Gb4
Translations/Aria Texts:
Translation into English by Lea Frey (added 2000-06-02)
Lorsque l'enfant revient, Werther's aria from Werther

Oui, ce qu’elle m’ordonne 			Yes, what she orders of me
Pour son repos, je le ferai; 			For her peace of mind,  I will do it.
et si la force m’abandonne,  			And if strength abandons me,
Ah!  C’est moi qui pour toujours me reposerai! 	Ah, it  is  I  who  forever will  rest.
Pourquoi trembler devant la mort...		Why tremble before death... 
devant la nôtre?				before our own?
On lève le rideau, 				You raise the curtain, 
puis on passe de l’autre côté!			then you pass to the other side.
Voilà ce qu’on nomme mourir. 			That is what one calls dying.
Offensons-nous le ciel en cessant de souffrir? 	Do we offend heaven by ceasing to suffer?

Lorsque l’enfant revient d’un voyage avant l’heure, 	
	When a child returns from a trip ahead of time,
bien loin de lui garder quelque ressentiment, 		
	far from keeping some resentment toward him,
au seul bruit de ses pas tressaille la demeure, 		
	at the  mere sound of his steps, the house quivers,
et le père joyeux l’embrasse longuement. 		
	And the joyful father embrasses him a  long time.
O Dieu qui m’as créé, serais-tu moins clément?	 
	O God, who created me, would you be less merciful?
Non!  Tu ne saurais pas, dérobé sous tes voiles, 	
	No!  You could not,  hidden under your veils,
rejeter dans la nuit ton fils infortuné!  Ton fils! 	
	Reject in the night your wretched  son!  Your son!
Devinant ton sourire au travers des étoiles, 		
	Guessing your smile through the stars,
Il reviendrait vers toi, d’avance pardonné!		
	He would come back to you, forgiven in advance!
Père!  Père!  Père que je ne connais pas, 		
	Father!  Father!  Father, whom I don’t know,
en qui pourtant j’ai foi, parle à mon coeur,	
	In whom I, nonetheless, have faith, speak to my  heart,
Appelle-moi!   appelle-moi!    appelle-moi! 		
	Call me!  Call me!  Call me!

Translation by Lea Frey (
Sheet Music/Scores:
The Ultimate Tenor Aria Album (Version 2.0). Published by CD Sheet Music. Available at and
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