"Quel Guardo, Il Cavaliere" Lyrics and English Translation

Norina's aria from Donizetti's Opera, Don Pasquale

​Illustration of Gaetano Donizetti (1797 - 1848)

Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Sung towards the end of the first act of Donizetti's opera, Don Pasquale, Norina is reading a passage about love from a novel. She is approached by Dr. Malatesta who is crafting a plan to fool Don Pasquale into bending to the will of a woman. Norina sings this delightful aria describing her know-how to make a man do as she pleases. This is considered one of the most famous arias, along with Caro Nome from Verdi's Rigoletto, Flower Duet from Delibes' Lakme, Sempre Libera from Verdi's La Traviata, and Vissi D'Arte from Puccini's Tosca.

Italian Lyrics

"Quel guardo,
il cavaliere in mezzo al cor trafisse,
Piegò i lginocchio e disse:
Son vostro cavalier.
E tanto era in quel guardo
Sapor di paradiso,
Che il cavalier Riccardo,
Tutto d'amor conquiso,
Giurò che ad altra mai,
Non volgeria il pensier."
Ah, ah!
So anch'io la virtu magica
D'un guardo a tempo e loco,
So anch'io come si bruciano
I cori a lento foco,
D'un breve sorrisetto
Conosco anch'io l'effetto,
Di menzognera lagrima,
D'un subito languor,
Conosco i mille modi
Dell'amorose frodi,
I vezzi e l'arti facili
Per adescare un cor.
Ho testa bizzarra,
son pronta vivace,
Brillare mi piace scherzar:
Se monto in furore
Di rado sto al segno,
Ma in riso lo sdegno fo presto a cangiar,
Ho testa bizzarra,
Ma core eccellente, ah!

English Translation

That look,
pierced the knight in the middle of the heart,
He folded his body, bent at his knees and said
I am your knight.
And so it was in that look
a taste of paradise,
That the knight Richard,
Conquered by love,
Swore that never to another,
Woman would he ever think about."
Ah, ah!
I too know the magical power
of a look at the right time and place,
I know how the heart burns
in slow fires,
of a brief smile
I know the effect,
Of lying tears,
On a sudden languor,
I know a thousand ways
love can fraud,
The charms and arts are easy
To fool the heart.
I have a bizarre mind
I possess a ready wit,
I like joking:
If I get furious
I'm rarely able to remain calm,
But my disdain can soon turn to laughter,
I have a bizarre mind
But an excellent heart, ah!