The fumbling green-thumb Serse of Georg Handel's 1738 opera may not bear much resemblance to the historic Khashayah Shah (Xerxes) of Persia, but he sure has a timeless aria every tuneful person wants to sing! 'Ombra mai fu' is marked larghetto on the score, though is commonly known as Serse's Largo... perhaps because of our common wish for all good things in life to linger on for a bit longer, especially when singers with big lungs are singing it.
The original Serse was the Italian castrato Caffarelli. There are, thankfully, no castrato around to sing the part today, however, so Serse is usually sung by an operatic mezzo-soprano instead. We are lucky to have many of these wonderful low-voiced ladies around, so here's a little quiz. Can you identify the voices singing Serse's love tune to his plane tree in this video clip?