March 28, 2019

What opera songs give you goosebumps?


Hi Roger! I hear a lot about the transformative power of opera. The idea that certain songs in opera, even if you can't understand the language, can make you cry and give you chills. So my question is, can you suggest some amazing songs/arias that will make the goosebumps on my arms pop up?


It would be my pleasure, needless to say! Here, in no particular order of preference, are pieces that provoke a very memorable response. Whether you want to be moved, exhilarated, charmed, or uplifted, you'll find what you need here.

"Depuis le jour" from Charpentier's Louise

"Chi il bel sogno di Doretta" from Puccini’s La rondine

"Mild und leise" from Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde

"Ah, mes amis" from Donizetti’s La fille du régiment

"La mamma morta" from Giordano’s Andrea Chénier

“La dolcissima effigie” from Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur

“Ja vas lyublyu” (Yeletsky's aria) from Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spades

“Flower Song" from Bizet’s Carmen


by Georges Bizet

Recording by EMI – Bumbry, Vickers, Miljakovic, Hamari, cond. Frühbeck de Burgos. Courtesy Warner Classics.

"Flower Song"

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"L'amour est une vertu rare" from Massenet’s Thaïs

"Recondita armonia" from Puccini’s Tosca

"Tu che le vanità" from Verdi’s Don Carlo

Prologue from Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci

"Zweite Brautnacht!" from Strauss’s Die ägyptische Helena

"Parto, parto" from Mozart’s La clemenza di Tito

"Casta diva" from Bellini’s Norma


by Vincenzo Bellini

Recording by EMI – Callas, Ludwig, Corelli, cond. Serafin. Courtesy Warner Classics.

"Casta diva"

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"Zazà, piccola zingara" from Leoncavallo’s Zazà

“Un dì all’azzurro spazio” from Giordano’s Andrea Chénier

"Pourquoi me reveiller" from Massenet’s Werther

"Ebben! ne andro lontana" from Catalani’s La Wally

"D'amor sull'ali rosee" from Verdi’s Il trovatore

"Spargi d'amaro pianto" from Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor

Lucia di Lammermoor

by Gaetano Donizetti

Recording by Erato – Damrau, Calleja, Tézier, Testé, cond. Lopez Cobos. Courtesy Warner Classics.

"Spargi d'amaro pianto”

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Igor's monologue from Borodin’s Prince Igor

"Non so le tetre immagini" from Verdi’s Il corsaro

"Mon coeur s'ouvre à ta voix" from Saint-Saëns’s Samson et Dalila

"O don fatale" from Verdi’s Don Carlo

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Photo: Cory Weaver