The best versions of Ah! Mes Amis from Gaetano Donizetti‘s La Fille du Regiment. Juan Diego Flórez sings in Vienna (2007), and Luciano Pavarotti version is from 17 February 1972, at New York’s Metropolitan Opera.

La fille du régiment (The Daughter of the Regiment) is an opéra comique in two acts by Donizetti. It was written while the composer was living in Paris, with a French libretto by Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges and Jean-François Bayard.

Juan Diego Flórez sings the famous tenor aria from Donizetti’s La Fille du Regiment performed recently in Vienna (2007).

The aria “Ah! Mes Amis” is the ultimate test for tenors. No other aria makes the cast, conductor and audience sweat more.

This is any leggero tenor’s right-of-passage to bel canto. It’s an action-packed, high-flying gauntlet with nine high C’s (and an optional 10th)! To sing this convincingly, the tenor must make every high C ring true with a robust, chesty sound and clear intonation. Making things even more difficult, the aria comes relatively fast in the first act giving the tenor less time to warm up and get comfortable. There are a couple of hundred tenors that attempt it live and only but a handful that actually does it well.

In order to gain the 21st Regiment’s approval of his and Marie’s marriage, Tonio needs to prove his worthiness first and, thus, he joins their ranks. But before he does so, he gives a convincing proclamation of love and faithfulness by going above and beyond the call of duty with “Ah, mes amis… pour mon ame!” Some of the greatest tenors of all time like Pavarotti and Juan Diego Florez have put entire opera houses in a frenzied uproar with this acrobatic beast of an aria (see notes 1)

This is the aria was Pavarotti’s major breakthrough in the United States came on 17 February 1972: in a production of La fille du régiment at New York’s Metropolitan Opera, in which he drove the crowd into a frenzy with his nine effortless high Cs in the signature aria. He achieved a record seventeen curtain calls. You can listen to that performance by clicking the video below. The Metropolitan Opera orchestra conducted by Richard Bonynge.

Luciano Pavarotti’s first ever performance of La fille du regiment at the Met. The audience goes wild, quite rightly too. This performance took place on the 17th of February 1972.

And another version from Pavarotti (a different recording, which is cleaner)

Pavarotti sings Legendary High C ‘s in Ah! Mes Amis from Gaetano Donizetti’s La Fille du Regiment.

Some say “Flórez is more than capable as he hits the notes with ease”. Others say “Pavarotti’s voice was more pleasant and bigger. Juan Diego Flórez is a lighter and a bit higher tenor, so his voice is naturally brighter, thinner, not so big.”

Which one is your favorite? Flórez or Pavarotti?

Ah! Mes Amis Lyrics (Libretto)

Ah! mes amis, quel jour de fête! / Ah, my friends, what a day of celebration!
Je vais marcher sous vos drapeaux. / I will march under your flags.
L’amour qui m’a tourné la tête / Love, which has turned my head,
Désormais, désormais, me rend un héros. / from now on makes me a hero.
Ah! quel bonheur oui mes amis / Ah, what happiness, yes my friends,
Je vais marcher sous vos drapeaux. / I will march under your flags.
Oui, celle pour qui je respire, / Yes, she for whom I breathe,
A mes voeux a daigné sourire / has deigned to smile upon my wishes.
Et ce doux espoir de bonheur / And this sweet hope of happiness
Trouble ma raison et mon coeur! / has shaken my mind and my heart.
Ah! mes amis, quel jour de fête! / Ah, my friends, what a day for celebrating!
Je vais marcher sous vos drapeaux. / I shall march under your flags.
Pour mon âme, quel destin! / For my soul, what destiny!
J’ai sa flamme et j’ai sa main! / I have her love and I have her hand!
Jour prospère! Me voici, / Day of prosperity! here i am,
Militaire et mari! / Soldier and husband!
(CHORUS: Mais elle t’aime?) / (CHORUS: But does she love you?)
J’en fait serment! / I swear it!
(CHORUS: Tu dis vrai?) / (CHORUS: Do you speak true?)

Full Lyrics (French)

Ah! mes amis, quel jour de fête!
Je vais marcher sous vos drapeaux.
L’amour, qui m’a tourné la tête.
Désormais me rend un héros,
Ah! quel bonheur, oui, mes amis,
Je vais marcher sous vos drapeaux!
Qui, celle pour qui je respire,
A mes voeux a daigné sourire
Et ce doux espoir de bonheur
Trouble ma raison et man coeur! Ah!

Le camarade est amoureux!
(Les soldats rient)

Et c’est vous seuls que j’espère.

Quoi! c’est notre enfant que tu veux!

Écoutez-moi, écoutez-moi.
Messieurs son père, écoutez-moi,
Car je sais qu’il dépend de vous
De me rendre ici son époux.

Notre fille qui nous est chère
N’est pas, n’est pas pour un ennemi.
Non! Il lui faut un meilleur parti,
Telle est la volonté d’un père.

Vous refusez?

Complètement.D’ailleurs, elle est promise…

… a notre régiment…

… a notre régiment…

(Avec force)
Mais j’en suis, puisqu’en cet instant
Je viens de m’engager, pour cela seulement!

Tant pis pour toi!

Messieurs son père…

Tant pis pour toi!

… écoutez-moi!

Tant pis pour toi!

Ma votre fille m’aime!

(Avec surprise)
Se pourrait-il! quoi! notre enfant!

Elle m’aime, vous dis-je, j’en fais serment!

Eh! quoi… notre Marie…

Elle m’aime, j’en fais serment!

Que dire, que faire?
Puisqu’il a su plaire, Il faut, en bon père
Ici, consentir. Mais pourtant j’enrage,
Car c’est grand dommage
De l’unir avec
Un pareil blanc-bec!
Oui, c’est un grand dommage!

Eh! bien?

Si tu dis vrai, son père en ce moment
Te promet son consentement

Oui, te promet son consentement

Pour mon âme,Quel destin! J’ai sa flamme,
Et j’ai sa main! Jour prospère! Me voici
Militaire et mari!


  1. The Tenors Ultimate Test – Ah, mes amis om
M. Özgür Nevres

Published by M. Özgür Nevres

I am Özgür Nevres, a software engineer, an ex-road racing cyclist, and also an amateur musician. I opened to share my favorite music. I also take care of stray cats & dogs. Please consider supporting me on Patreon.

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