O mio babbino caro (“Oh My Beloved Father”) is soprano aria from the opera Gianni Schicchi (1918) by the Italian composer, Giacomo Puccini. Gianni Schicchi (Puccini’s only comic opera) forms the last part of Il trittico (The Triptych) – three one-act operas with contrasting themes, originally written to be presented together. Whilst at its première (at New York’s Metropolitan Opera) the audience applauded the first two parts (Il tabarro and Suor Angelica) politely Gianni Schicchi was “received with uproarious delight”. The undoubted “pearl of the evening”, said Evening Sun critic W.J.Henderson, was O mio babbino caro – which, despite a public notice forbidding encores, was repeated through popular insistence!
The aria is sung in the opera by Lauretta after tensions between her father Schicchi and the family of Rinuccio, the boy she loves. It provides an interlude expressing lyrical simplicity and single-hearted love in contrast with the atmosphere of hypocrisy, jealousy, double-dealing, and feuding in medieval Florence.
O mio babbino caro provides the only set-piece in the through-composed opera. It is one of Puccini’s best known arias and is frequently performed in concerts and as an encore. It has also been used in a number of films – perhaps most notably in the 1985 Merchant Ivory Film A Room with a View.