An aria (Italian for air; plural: arie or arias in common usage) in music was originally any expressive melody, usually, but not always, performed by a singer. The term is now used almost exclusively to describe a self-contained piece for one voice usually with orchestral accompaniment. Perhaps the most common context for arias is opera, although there are many arias that form movements of oratorios and cantatas. Composers also wrote concert arias, which are not part of any larger work, such as "Ah perfido" by Beethoven, and a number of concert arias by Mozart, such as "Conservati fedele".

The aria first appeared in the 14th century when it signified a manner or style of singing or playing. Aria could also mean a melodic scheme (motif) or pattern for singing a poetic pattern, such as a sonnet. It was also attached to instrumental music, though this is no longer the case. Over time, arias evolved from simple melodies into a structured form. In the 17th century, the aria was written in ternary form (A–B–A); these arias were known as da capo arias. The aria later "invaded" the opera repertoire with its many sub-species (Aria cantabile, Aria agitata, Aria di bravura, and so on). By the mid-19th century, many operas became a sequence of arias, reducing the space left for recitative, while other operas (for instance those by Wagner) were entirely through-composed, with no section being readily identifiable as a self-contained aria.

An arietta is a short aria.

Notable arias

Voice type Aria Opera Composer
soprano O mio babbino caro Gianni Schicchi Giacomo Puccini
Sì, mi chiamano Mimì La bohème Giacomo Puccini
Vissi d'arte Tosca Giacomo Puccini
Der Hölle Rache The Magic Flute Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Song to the Moon Rusalka Antonín Dvořák
Summertime Porgy and Bess George Gershwin
Glitter and Be Gay Candide Leonard Bernstein
Sempre libera La traviata Giuseppe Verdi
Sous le dôme épais Lakmé Léo Delibes
mezzo-soprano Habanera Carmen Georges Bizet
Mon cœur s'ouvre à ta voix Samson and Delilah Camille Saint-Saëns
Voi, che sapete The Marriage of Figaro Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Ombra mai fu Serse George Frideric Handel
contralto Ah, Tanya, Tanya Eugene Onegin Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Weiche, Wotan, weiche Das Rheingold Richard Wagner
Lullaby The Consul Gian Carlo Menotti
tenor Celeste Aida Aida Giuseppe Verdi
Che Gelida Manina La Boheme Giacomo Puccini
Ch'ella mì creda libero La fanciulla del West Giacomo Puccini
E lucevan le stelle Tosca Giacomo Puccini
La donna è mobile Rigoletto Giuseppe Verdi
Nessun dorma Turandot Giacomo Puccini
Una furtiva lagrima L'elisir d'amore Gaetano Donizetti
Vesti la giubba Pagliacci Ruggero Leoncavallo
baritone Largo al factotum The Barber of Seville Gioachino Rossini
Votre toast (Toreador song) Carmen Georges Bizet
Der Vogelfänger bin ich ja The Magic Flute Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Die Frist ist um The Flying Dutchman Richard Wagner
Tutto e deserto... Il balen del suo sorriso Il trovatore Giuseppe Verdi
bass Non più andrai The Marriage of Figaro Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
O Isis und Osiris The Magic Flute Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Madamina, il catalogo è questo Don Giovanni Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Hier sitz ich zur Wacht Götterdämmerung Richard Wagner

See also

External links

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