When was 'Nessun Dorma' written?

Puccini started writing the opera Turandot in 1920, after being inspired by the 18th-century play Turandot by Count Carlo Gozz. however he died before finishing so the opera was completed by Franco Alfano.


'Nessun Dorma' is a famous aria from Turandot's final act. The lyrics were written by Giuseppe Adami and Renato Simoni and the aria is sung by the character Calaf, aka the Unknown Prince. Calaf falls in love with the cold Princess Turandot, who sets him three riddles. Calaf, to her dismay, gets them correct, unlike her other suiters. In a bid to finally win her hand Calaf sets her a new challenge – to discover his real name before dawn. If she fails, she has to marry him.

The aria was made famous by Pavarotti in the 1990s after he performed it at the 1990 World Cup, when it captivated a global audience.

What does 'Nessun Dorma' mean?

'Nessun Dorm' means 'Let no one sleep' and is the first line of the aria when it is sung in the original Italian.

What are lyrics to 'Nessun Dorma' in English?

None shall sleep,
None shall sleep!
Even you, oh Princess,
In your cold room,
Watch the stars,
That tremble with love
And with hope.
But my secret is hidden within me,
My name no one shall know,
No... no...
On your mouth, I will tell it,
When the light shines.
And my kiss will dissolve the silence that makes you mine!
(No one will know his name and we must, alas, die.)
Vanish, o night!
Set, stars! Set, stars!
At dawn, I will win!
I will win!
I will win!

What are the Italian lyrics for ‘Nessun Dorma’?

Nessun dorma! Nessun dorma!
Tu pure, o Principessa
Nella tua fredda stanza
Guardi le stelle che tremano
D'amore e di speranza!
Ma il mio mistero è chiuso in me
Il nome mio nessun saprà!
No, no, sulla tua bocca lo dirò
Quando la luce splenderà!
Ed il mio bacio scioglierà
Il silenzio che ti fa mia!
ll nome suo nessun saprà
E noi dovrem, ahimè! Morir! Morir!
Dilegua, o notte! Tramontate, stelle!
Tramontate, stelle! All'alba vincerò!
Vincerò! Vincerò!

We named Puccini one of the greatest opera composers ever

Find out more about Puccini and his works here

Read our reviews of the latest Puccini recordings here

Read our reviews of the latest opera recordings here

You can find lyrics to more famous songs here


Top image by Getty Images