Ombra mai fu, SERSE, G.F. Handel – Unterseher, arr.

Unison treble chorus (or solo), piano

This famous aria is the perfect piece for your developing treble choir (or a soloist) to explore concepts of tone, color, line, and introduces them to Baroque ornamentation.

Recording *Coming Soon*

Purchase OMBRA MAI FU from Reg’s web site


In Handel’s opera, the main character, Xerxes, emperor of Persia, sings of his love of the shade from a large, leafy tree, such a relief after the blazing heat of the desert. The verse is sung twice, first with just the basic melody, then with Baroque ornamentation.


This piece is a great introduction to singing in Italian, the use of Baroque ornamentation, and concepts of clear, round vowels and long notes with dynamic shape and phrasing. Teach the plain melody in the first section first, and let that become very secure before introducing the ornamented version. Choirs are used to the same notes with new words, but not as much with the same words and modified notes!


Ombra mai fu di vegetabile cara ed amabile soave piu.

Never was there any shade from such a beloved and dear tree more gentle and soothing.


This entry was posted in Children's chorus, Choral, High school, High voice, Middle school, Moderate, SA & SSAA chorus, Secular, Solo Vocal and tagged by Reginald Unterseher. Bookmark the permalink.

About Reginald Unterseher

Reginald Unterseher is Music Director and Composer-in-Residence at Shalom United Church of Christ, Richland, Washington. His works are published by Oxford University Press, Walton Music, and through NW Choral Publishing at He is the Washington State Music Teacher’s Association’s “Composer of the Year” for 2013. Mr. Unterseher’s compositions are regularly performed throughout the world and have been featured at ACDA and MENC conventions in the US as well as at Carnegie Hall in New York City. He currently serves as Repertoire & Standards Chair for Men’s Choirs for the Northwest Division of the American Choral Director’s Association, and is in demand as a choral and vocal adjudicator and clinician. Mr. Untereseher is a past Artistic Director of Consort Columbia (now Mid-Columbia Mastersingers), founder and past Chorus Master of Washington East Opera, and an active member of Male Ensemble Northwest.