Ah perfido! Op.65
Ludwig van Beethoven Lyrics

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Ah! perfido, spergiuro,
Barbaro traditor, tu parti?
E son questi gl'ultimi tuoi congedi?
Ove s'intese tirannia più crudel?
Va, scellerato! va, pur fuggi da me,
L'ira de' numi non fuggirai.
Se v'è giustizia in ciel, se v'è pietà,
Congiureranno a gara tutti a punirti!
Ombra seguace, presente, ovunque vai,
Vedrò le mie vendette,
Io già le godo immaginando.
I fulmini ti veggo già balenar d'intorno.
Ah no! Fermate, vindici Dei!
Risparmiate quel cor, ferite il mio!
S'ei non è più qual era, son io qual fui,
Per lui vivea, voglio morir per lui!

Per pietà, non dirmi addio!
Di te priva che farò?
Tu lo sai, bell'idol mio!
Io d'affanno morirò.

Ah crudel! Tu vuoi ch'io mora!
Tu non hai pietà di me?
Perchè rendi a chi t'adora
Così barbara mercè?

Dite voi se in tanto affanno
Non son degna di pietà?

Overall Meaning

The lyrics of Beethoven's "Ah! perfido!" express a deep sense of betrayal and heartbreak. The singer addresses the person who has betrayed them as a "perfidious, swearing, barbarous traitor" who is now leaving. The singer questions if these are truly the final farewells, and wonders where they have experienced a more cruel tyranny. The betrayal and departure of the traitor evoke feelings of anger and a desire for justice and punishment. The singer warns the traitor that even if they try to escape the wrath of the gods, justice and mercy will conspire to punish them.

The singer's anger intensifies as they call the traitor a wretched scoundrel and urge them to flee, knowing that the anger of the gods will not be escaped. The singer imagines and anticipates the revenge they will seek, finding satisfaction in the thought of witnessing the traitor being struck down by divine retribution. The imagery of lightning flashing around the traitor conveys a sense of impending punishment and retribution. The singer pleads with the avenging gods to spare the traitor's heart and strike them down instead, as they were the ones who lived for the traitor and are willing to die for them.

As the song progresses, the tone shifts to one of pleading and desperation. The singer begs the traitor not to say goodbye, expressing fear and uncertainty about what they will do without them. The singer acknowledges the cruel intentions of the traitor and questions why they show no mercy to the one who adores them. The singer asks if, in their great suffering and torment, they are not deserving of pity and compassion, highlighting the depth of their emotional turmoil and despair. The plea for mercy and the feeling of being forsaken by the one they loved intensify the emotional impact of the betrayal and departure.

Written by: Ludwig van Beethoven

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Most interesting comment from YouTube:

Alfredo Loyola

who is she?i do not know her
she has good voice!!a drama
tic or spinto at least,but most
sopranos today,sound very
deficient in the low middle
or the lower section of the
voice,i could not here the
important low note. it
seems most of them are
afraid of the low register
or dont have sufficient
shooling in that part of
the voice. the middle range
and the low register are as
important as the high notes
because is the foundation
of the voice,and if you call
yourself a dramatic or an
spinto soprano,you must
need to have the proper
projection in that part of
the voice particular for
verdi or wagner repertoi

All comments from YouTube:


Ana Maria Labin is marvelous! Best performance of Ah Perfido since Callas.

Christophe Baudeau

Very good rendition, I love the Boston Baroque,thank you for posting this aria...

kedem berger

A very very good live perofmance. Lots of fire and musicianship. Sounds a bit precarious for her voice, even though its a period band. Margiono is probably the best.

Chiara Skerath

Magnifique !


Mon arie de concert préférée. L'éxécution très bonne - a part de trop de vibrato en commencement et quelques instants de ne pas chanter. Cette arie doit quand même être vecu et c'est exactement ca ici. Merci.

Alina Yarovaya

Brava!! Bravi tutti!!!! 💐💐💐


Too light for this piece, she clearly struggles with the low register but otherwise a beautiful voice.

Heejung Park


G.J. Vrijmoeth


John Walker Ramos

She killed this piece! Holy batman

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