Barcarolle, or better, “Belle nuit, o nuit d’amour” is a famous melody from the operetta “Tales of Hoffman”, written by Jacques Offenbach in 1864.


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It is considered the most beautiful “Barcarolle” ever composed in the history of music.

It is a moderate 6/8 allegretto.

The “Barcarolle” is so called because it identifies a particular song / aria whose music recalls the typical rowing of Venetian gondolas.

Offenbach died on October 5, 1880, before finishing this operetta which was performed for the first time at the Opera Comique in Paris in 1881. 

This piece is sung at the opening of the third act of the Operetta, and opens the Venetian part of this Operetta set in various European cities.

The text of this aria tells of the poet Hoffman who, during a gondola ride along the Grand Canal, sings, together with Juliet, a Venetian courtesan, the famous Barcarolle: evocation of a night of pleasure.

This song has often been used as background music in several films.

The “Barcarolle” is part of the classical repertoire performed in lyrical recitals and has been sung, even if only as a study piece, by all opera singers.


This aria was originally written for the opera Die Rheinnixen (Fairies of the Rhine), with the title “Song of the Elves”.

Video: Belle nuit, o nuit d’amour – Barcarolle –

Un abbraccio/ a big Hug

Marcus Dardi


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