The great American tenor of Italian origin, Mario Lanza sings “Mamma Mia, Che Vò Sapé?”, a beautiful Neapolitan song written by the Italian composer Emanuele Nutile (1862-1932) in 1900, with lyrics by his fellow Neapolitan Ferdinando Russo (November 25, 1866 – January 30, 1927). Video from the 1949 Technicolor American musical romance film “That Midnight Kiss” starring Mario Lanza (in his first leading role) and the American soprano Kathryn Grayson.

Mario Lanza sings Mamma Mia, Che Vò Sapé?

Mamma mia, che vo’ sapè

“Mamma mia, che vo’ sapè” is a classic Neapolitan song that embodies the rich cultural heritage and musical tradition of Naples, Italy. Composed by Emanuele Nutile with lyrics by Ferdinando Russo, this song is a quintessential example of the Neapolitan song genre, which gained immense popularity in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Emanuele Nutile was an Italian composer known for his contributions to the Neapolitan music scene, while Ferdinando Russo was a renowned journalist and poet, contributing significantly to the lyrics of many Neapolitan songs.

The title “Mamma mia, che vo’ sapè” translates to “Mom, what do you want to know?” in English, capturing the conversational and often melodramatic essence of Neapolitan songs. These compositions frequently delve into themes of love, longing, humor, and sometimes melancholy, reflecting the everyday life and emotions of the people in Naples. The blend of beautiful melodies, intricate harmonies, and expressive lyrics in “Mamma mia, che vo’ sapè” is a testament to the skill of its creators and the depth of the Neapolitan musical tradition.

Neapolitan songs like “Mamma mia, che vo’ sapè” are celebrated not only in Italy but around the world, thanks to the global diaspora of Italian immigrants who took their music with them. This genre has influenced various forms of music and has been performed by countless artists over the years, from classical operatic singers to contemporary pop stars. The enduring appeal of these songs lies in their ability to convey universal emotions through the specific cultural lens of Naples, making them relatable to a wide audience.

Emanuele Nutile’s work, including “Mamma mia, che vo’ sapè,” is an important part of the canon of Neapolitan music, showcasing the rich artistic heritage of Italy. These songs continue to be celebrated in concerts, festivals, and recordings, preserving the legacy of Neapolitan music for future generations.

Mamma mia, che vo’ sapè Lyrics

Mamma Mia, Che Vò Sapé?

Quanno ‘a notte se ne scenne
p’abbruciá chist’uocchie stanche,
quann’io veglio e tu mme manche,
sento ‘a smánia ‘e te vasá

E te chiammo, e schiara juorno,
ma è pe’ ll’ate stu chiarore.
Tengo ‘a notte dint”o core
e nun pòzzo arrepusá.

Ah, nun mme fá murí!
Tu, che ne vuó’ da me?
Mamma mia mme vène a dí pecché
chesta smánia nun mme vò’ lassá.

Ah, nun mme fá murí!
Tu che ne vuó’ da me?
Mamma mia che vò sapé?
Mamma mia ch’ha da appurá?
Nun mme fido d”a vasá.

Ah! Ah!
Mamma mia ch’ha da appurá?
Ah! Ah!
Mamma mia ch’ha da appurá?

English translation: What Do You Want to Know, Mama?

When night falls
(and comes) to burn these weary eyes of mine
When I stay up and miss you
I feel the need to kiss you.

And I call for you, and (then) day becomes bright
But this brightness is for others (not for me)
I hold the night inside my heart
And I can’t repose

Ah, don’t make me die!
You, what do you want from me?
Mama asks me why
this longing can’t leave me (in peace)

Ah, Don’t make me die!
What do you want from me?
What do you want to know, Mama?
What do you want to clarify, Mama?
I don’t have the heart to kiss her

Ah! Ah!
What do you want to clarify, Mama?
Ah! Ah!
What do you want to clarify, Mama?


M. Özgür Nevres

Published by M. Özgür Nevres

I am Özgür Nevres, a software engineer, a former road racing cyclist, and also an amateur musician. I opened to share my favorite music. I also take care of stray cats & dogs. This website's all income goes directly to our furry friends. Please consider supporting me on Patreon, so I can help more animals!

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