“O Sole Mio” from three great tenors

Three versions of the famous Neapolitan song “O Sole Mio”: Enrico Caruso, Jussi Björling, and Luciano Pavarotti.

“O sole mio” is a globally known Neapolitan song written in 1898. Its lyrics were written by Giovanni Capurro and the melody was composed by Eduardo di Capua. There are other versions of “‘O sole mio” but it is usually sung in the original Neapolitan language. ‘O sole mio is the Neapolitan equivalent of standard Italian Il sole mio and translates literally as “my sunshine“.

Enrico Caruso version

Enrico Caruso
Enrico Caruso

Enrico Caruso (February 25, 1873 – August 2, 1921) was an Italian tenor. He sang to great acclaim at the major opera houses of Europe and the Americas, appearing in a wide variety of roles from the Italian and French repertoires that ranged from the lyric to the dramatic. Caruso also made approximately 290 commercially released recordings from 1902 to 1920. All of these recordings, which span most of his stage career, are available today on CDs and as digital downloads.

Caruso’s 1904 recording of “Vesti la giubba” from Leoncavallo’s opera Pagliacci was the first sound recording to sell a million copies.

Jussi Björling version

Jussi Björling
Jussi Björling

Johan Jonatan “Jussi” Björling (5 February 1911 – 9 September 1960) was a Swedish tenor. One of the leading operatic singers of the 20th century, Björling appeared for many years at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City and less frequently at the major European opera houses, including the Royal Opera House in London and La Scala in Milan.

Luciano Pavarotti version

Luciano Pavarotti
Luciano Pavarotti

Luciano Pavarotti (12 October 1935 – 6 September 2007) was an Italian operatic tenor who also crossed over into popular music, eventually becoming one of the most commercially successful tenors of all time. He made numerous recordings of complete operas and individual arias, gaining worldwide fame for the brilliance and beauty of his tone-especially into the upper register-and eventually established himself as one of the finest tenors of the 20th century.

O Sole Mio Lyrics

Neapolitan lyrics

Che bella cosa è na jurnata ‘e sole,
n’aria serena dopo na tempesta!
Pe’ ll’aria fresca para già na festa…
Che bella cosa na jurnata ‘e sole.

Ma n’atu sole cchiù bello, oi ne’,
‘o sole mio sta nfronte a te!
‘o sole, ‘o sole mio, sta nfronte a te,
sta nfronte a te!

Quanno fa notte e ‘o sole se ne scenne,
me vane quasi ‘na malincunia;
sotta ‘a fenesta toia restarria
quanno fa notte e ‘o sole se ne scenne.

Ma n’atu sole cchiù bello, oi ne’,
‘o sole mio sta nfronte a te!
‘o sole, ‘o sole mio, sta nfronte a te,
sta nfronte a te!

English translation

What a beautiful thing is a sunny day!
The air is serene after a storm,
The air is so fresh that it already feels like a celebration.
What a beautiful thing is a sunny day!

But another sun that’s brighter still,
It’s my own sun that’s upon your face!
The sun, my own sun, it’s upon your face!
It’s upon your face!

When night comes and the sun has gone down,
I almost start feeling melancholy;
I’d stay below your window
When night comes and the sun has gone down.

But another sun that’s brighter still,
It’s my own sun that’s upon your face!
The sun, my own sun, it’s upon your face!
It’s upon your face!

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