Ombra mai fu  

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"Ombra mai fu" is an aria from the opera Serse (Xerxes) by George Frideric Handel.

The title, which translates from the Italian as Never has there been a shade, is the first aria of the opera. It is sung by the main character, Serse (or "Xerxes"), in praise of a tree's shade as he sits underneath it. It is commonly known as Handel's "Largo", although the original tempo was larghetto.

The opera was a commercial failure, lasting only five performances in London after its premiere. In the 19th century, however, the aria was rediscovered and became one of Handel's best-known pieces. It has often been arranged for other instruments, including solo organ, solo piano, violin and piano, and groups of strings, often with the full title "Largo from Xerxes." Handel adapted the aria from the setting by Bononcini who, in turn, adapted it from the setting by Francesco Cavalli. All three composers had produced settings of the same opera libretto by Niccolò Minato.


Ombra mai fu
di vegetabile,
cara ed amabile,
soave più.
Never was there made
a shade of a plant
dear and loving,
or more gentle.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Ombra mai fu" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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