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from Act III of the German opera Tristan und Isolde by Richard Wagner
Libretto: Richard Wagner

Role: Isolde, an Irish princess
Voice Part: soprano       Fach: dramatic soprano
Setting: Tristan's castle at Karoel, Brittany, legendary times
Synopsis: After Tristan has died, Isolde looks upon him in a trance. She believes that she sees her beloved coming back to life as she hears a lovely melody around her. The hallucinations become stronger and stronger until, at last, she falls down dead next to Tristan.
Range: Tessitura:
D#/Eb4 - G#/Ab5F#/Gb4 - F#/Gb5
Translations/Aria Texts:
Translation into English by Barbara Pothen (added 1999-10-15)
Mild und leise, Isolde's aria from Tristan und Isolde

Mild und leise				Mildly and gently, 
wie er lächelt, 			how he smiles,
wie das Auge 				how the eye
hold er öffnet --- 			he opens sweetly ---
Seht ihr's, Freunde? 			Do you see it, friends?
Seht ihr's nicht?			Don’t you see it? 
Immer lichter 				Brighter and brighter
wie er leuchtet, 			how he shines,
stern-umstrahlet 			illuminated by stars
hoch sich hebt? 			rises high?
Seht ihr's nicht? 			Don’t you see it?
Wie das Herz ihm 			How his heart
mutig schwillt, 			boldly swells,	
voll und hehr 				fully and nobly
im Busen ihm quillt? 			wells in his breast?
Wie den Lippen, 			How from his lips
wonnig mild, 				delightfully, mildly,
süßer Atem 				sweet breath
sanft entweht --- 			softly wafts ---
Freunde! Seht! 				Friends! Look!
Fühlt und seht ihr's nicht? 		Don’t you feel and see it?
Hör ich nur diese Weise, 		Do I alone hear this melody,
die so wundervoll und leise, 		which wonderfully and softly,
Wonne klagend, 				lamenting delight,
alles sagend, 				telling it all,
mild versöhnend 			mildly reconciling
aus ihm tönend, 			sounds out of him,
in mich dringet, 			invades me,
auf sich schwinget, 			swings upwards,
hold erhallend 				sweetly resonating
um mich klinget? 			rings around me?
Heller schallend, 			Sounding more clearly,
mich umwallend --- 			wafting around me ---
Sind es Wellen				Are these waves 
sanfter Lüfte? 				of soft airs? 
Sind es Wogen 				Are these billows
wonniger Düfte? 			of delightful fragrances?
Wie sie schwellen,			How they swell, 
mich umrauschen, 			how they sough around me,
soll ich atmen, 			shall I breathe,
soll ich lauschen? 			Shall I listen?
Soll ich schlürfen, 			Shall I drink,
untertauchen? 				immerse?
Süß in Düften				Sweetly in fragrances 
mich verhauchen? 			melt away?
In dem wogenden Schwall,		In the billowing  torrent,
in dem tönenden Schall, 		in the resonating sound,
in des Welt-Atems wehendem All ---	in the wafting Universe of the World-Breath --- 
ertrinken, 				drown,
versinken --- 				be engulfed ---
unbewußt ---				unconscious --- 
höchste Lust! 				supreme delight!

Translation by Barbara Pothen 
Translation into English by Paula Hanson (added 1999-10-15)
Mild und leise, Isolde's aria from Tristan und Isolde

Mild und leise, wie er lächelt		Softly and gently, see him smiling
Wie das Auge hold er öffnet,		How the eyes that open fondly,
seht iht, Freunde?			see it Friend?
Seht ihr’s nicht? 			Don’t you see?
Immerlichter, wie er leuchtet		Ever lighter, how he’s shining
Sternumstrahlet hoch sich hebt?		Borne on high amongst the stars?
Seht ihrs nicht?			Don’t you see?
Wie das Herz ihm muthig schwillt	How his heart so bravely swells
Voll und hehr im Busen ihm quillt?	Full and calm it throbs in his breast?
Wie den Lippen, wonnig mild, 		As from lips so joyfully mild,
süsser Athem sanft entweht		sweet the breath that softly stirs
Freunde! Seht! 				Friends! Look! 
Fühlt und seht ihr’s nicht?		Don’t you feel and see it?
Höre ich nur diese Wiese		It is only I that hear this way
Die so wundervoll und leise		So wondrous and gentle
Wonne klagend, Alles sagend,		Joyously sounding, telling all things, 
	 mild versöhnend			reconciling
Aus ihm tönend, in mich dringet, 	Sounding from him, penetrating me,
auf sich schwinget			rising upward swinging on itself
Hold erhallend um mich klinget		Echoes fondly around me ringing
Heller schallend, mich um wallend, 	Ever clearer, wafting round me,
sind es Wellen sanfter Lüfte?		are they waves of gentle breezes?
Sind es Wolken wonniger Düfte?		Are they clouds of gladdening sweet frangrance?
Wie sie schwellen, mich umrauschen, 	As they swell and murmur round me,
soll ich athmen, soll ich lauschen?	shall I breathe them, shall I listen?
Soll ich schlüfgen, untertauchen?	Shall I sip them, plunge beneath them?
Süß in Düften  mich verhauchen?		Breathe my last amid their sweet smell?
In dem wogenden Schwall			In the billowy surge, 
in dem tönenden Schall			in the gush of sound 
In des Weltathems, wehenden All		In the World’s Spirit’s, Infinite All
Ertrinken, versinken, unbewusst		To drown now, sinking, unconscious, void of all thought						
Höchste Lust!				Highest Bliss/Desire!

Translation by Paula Hanson (
Sheet Music/Scores:
The Ultimate Soprano Aria Album (Version 2.0). Published by CD Sheet Music. Available at and
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