"In Uomini, in Soldati" Lyrics and Text Translation

The story of Despina's aria from Mozart's opera "Cosi Fan Tutte"

Artists of The Royal Opera House in its production of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutte in London, England
Artists of The Royal Opera House in its production of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutte in London, England.

Robbie Jack / Getty Images 

Mozart's opera "Cosi Fan Tutte," (whose title roughly translates to "Women Are Like That") is a two-act opera buffa written in Italian. The aria "In Uomini, in Soldati" is performed by Despina near the end of Act I and is one of the best-known pieces from "Cosi Fan Tutte."

In this opera, philosopher Don Alfonso decides to test whether the fiancees of two men, Ferrando and Guglielmo will remain committed to them if tempted. The women (who also happen to be sisters) Fiordiligi and Dorabella are tricked into thinking the men are going off to war.

But Ferrando and Guglielmo, wearing disguises, try to seduce the women. Don Alfonso enlists the help of their maid, Despina, who portrays a doctor and a notary in her attempts to push the sisters to be unfaithful to their fiances.

History of 'Cosi Fan Tutte'

According to the lore around this opera, Mozart wrote "Cosi Fan Tutte" for Emperor Joseph II, but this is disputed by Mozart scholars. Lorenzo da Ponte, who also wrote the libretto for "The Marriage of Figaro," and "Don Giovanni," wrote the libretto for "Cosi" as well. 

The opera is set in Naples in the 18th century. Its first performance was in Vienna in 1790. It was well-received initially despite its somewhat scandalous fiance-swapping plot, but later in the 19th and 20th centuries was regarded as risque.

Mozart only saw "Cosi Fan Tutte" performed a handful of times before his death in 1791.

The Aria 'In Uomini in Soldati'

Despina sings this delightful and humorous aria when the sisters Fiordiligi and Dorabella learn that their fiances are being sent off to war (which is only part of the ruse). The sisters become anguished at that thought of being without their men, but Despina pipes up that basically all men are pigs and cannot be trusted. She's already in on the plot to try to sway the sisters' loyalty.

Italian Lyrics to 'In Uomini in Soldati' 

In uomini, in soldati, sperare fedelta?
Non vi fate sentir, per carita!
Di pasta simile son tutti quanti,
Le fronde mobili, l'aure incostanti
Han piu degli uomini stabilita!
Mentite lagrime, fallaci sguardi
Voci ingannevoli, vezzi bugiardi
Son le primarie lor qualita!
In noi non amano che il lor diletto,
Poi ci dispregiano, neganci affetto,
Ne val da barbari chieder pieta!
Paghiam o femmine, d'ugual moneta
Questa malefica razza indiscreta.
Amiam per comodo, per vanita!

English Translation of 'In Uomini in Soldati'

In men, in soldiers, you hope for loyalty?
Do not be heard, even for charity!
Cut from the same cloth, every one of them,
The leaves, furniture, and fickle breezes
are more stable than men!
False tears, deceptive looks,
Misleading voices, charming lies
Are their primary qualities!
In that we dislike their pleasure,
Then they despise us, and deny us affection,
It is futile to ask the barbarians for pity!
Let us females, pay them back with equal money
This evil indiscreet race.
Let's love for convenience, for vanity!