George Handel (1685-1759). Rinaldo. Aria of Almirena
Lascia ch’io pianga, originally Lascia la spina, cogli la rosa, is an Italian-language soprano aria by composer George Frideric Handel that has become a popular concert piece.
Its melody is first found in Act III of Handel’s 1705 opera Almira as a sarabande; the score for this can be seen on page 81 of Vol. 55 of Chrysander. Handel then used the tune for the aria Lascia la spina, cogli la rosa, or Leave the Thorn, Take the Rose, for the character Piacere in Part II of his 1707 oratorio Il trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno (which was much later, in 1737, revised as Il trionfo del Tempo e della Verità). Four years after that, in 1711, Handel used the music again, this time for his London opera Rinaldo and its Act II aria Lascia ch’io pianga, or Leave Me to Weep, sung by the character Almirena. Rinaldo was a triumph, and it is with this work that the aria is chiefly associated.