"Donde Lieta Usci" Lyrics and Text Translation

actress portraying Mimi in the opera "La Boheme"

John Snelling / Getty Images 

Puccini's famed opera "La Boheme" tells the story of a group of misfit bohemians in Paris during the mid 19th century. In the aria "Donde Lieta Usci," lovers Mimi and Rodolfo agree to part because he fears he is too poor to care for her in her ill health.

History of "La Boheme"

This now-classic opera was not an immediate hit on its 1896 premiere, partly due to its unconventional subject matter: its plot was an indictment of living conditions among Paris' less affluent communities, but also a celebration of its artists. 

With a libretto loosely based on Henri Murger's "Scenes de la vie de la Boheme," Puccini's opera premiered in Turin in 1896. 

"La Boheme" has been reinterpreted and adapted several times. It was the basis for Jonathan Larson's 1996 musical "Rent," which moved the characters and setting to 20th-century New York City but kept the themes of financial struggle among the artistic class.

Overview of "La Boheme"

Rodolfo, a playwright, falls in love with his neighbor Mimi, who is suffering from tuberculosis. Rodolfo's friend Marcello, a painter, is trying to win back his ex-girlfriend Musetta; other main characters include Colline, a philosopher, and Schaunard, a musician. 

In the opening scene, Marcello and Rodolfo are burning a copy of Rodolfo's manuscript to keep warm, and are trying to figure out how to raise enough money to pay the rent (or avoid the landlord). 

The "La Boheme" Aria "Donde Lieta Usci"

In Act 3 of "La Boheme," Mimi learns the true reason why Rodolfo has been acting very irritable towards her. Her persistent cough and his dire financial straits have convinced Rodolfo that she would be better off without him.

The two lovers agree that it would be best for them to separate once the warmer months of spring arrive. In this aria, Mimi bids Rodolfo a fond but tearful farewell. Sadly, Mimi eventually succumbs to her tuberculosis and dies in Rodolfo's arms. But before that sad ending, they sing of their love for each other

Italian Lyrics

Donde lieta uscì
al tuo grido d'amore,
torna sola Mimi
al solitario nido.
Ritorna un'altra volta
a intesser finti fior.
Addio, senza rancor.
Ascolta, ascolta.
Le poche robe aduna
che lasciai sparse.
Nel mio cassetto
stan chiusi quel cerchietto d'or
e il libro di preghiere.
Involgi tutto quanto in un grembiale
e manderò il portiere...
Bada, sotto il guanciale
c'è la cuffietta rosa.
Se vuoi serbarla a ricordo d'amor!
Addio, senza rancor.

English Translation

Once happily leaving
to your cry of love,
Mimi returns only
to the solitary nest.
I return again
to make flowers and bouquets.
Goodbye, no hard feelings.
Listen, listen.
The few things I’ve accumulated
I’ve left behind.
In my drawer
is a small band of gold
and the prayer book.
Wrap them in an apron
and I will send the concierge…
Look, under the pillow
there is a pink bonnet.
If you want to keep it in memory of our love, you may.
Goodbye, no hard feelings.