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Turret opera2

The Turret opera.

The Turret Opera is a piece of music featured at the end of Portal 2, where numerous Aperture Science Sentry Turrets sing the song "Cara Mia Addio," an Italian aria.

"Cara Mia Addio" is an Italian aria, but it is not accompanied by official lyrics. Fans of Portal 2 with an understanding of Italian have both transcribed them in their original tongue and translated them into English. The song was composed by Valve composer Mike Morasky, but the librettist is unknown.[1] Ellen McLain is the vocalist for the song,[2] as she also voiced GLaDOS and the turrets. In an interview, McLain claimed that she "made up the words out of [her] bad Italian [...] on the spot".[3] [4]


The chorus can be seen/heard after Chell awakens in GLaDOS' main control room and is subsequently expelled from the facility via an elevator. The game then cuts to a cinematic ending where Chell first encounters a group of four sentry turrets who, after aiming their lasers at Chell, play a clarinet-like music to the tune of the chorus.

After seeing these turrets, the elevator continues its upward path while passing more turrets and eventually ends up in a large amphitheater-like room full of turrets, all playing music of various tones according to their size and design. The vocal part is sung by a larger turret in the center, who is highlighted by a spotlight. The thicker size of the apparent turret could be a play on the American stereotype that Grand Opera sopranos are typically overweight and related colloquialism that "it ain't over 'til the fat lady sings."[5] The official Portal 2 guide gives further credence to such conjecture, as it refers to the "fat" turret as the "Soprano Turret.".[6]

Also of note is an enormous, crowned, animal king sentry turret in what seems to be jaguar-print camouflage, which can be seen in the back of the amphitheater during the scene. It emits the deeper bass tones of the opera.

The song concludes with Chell emerging onto the surface of the Earth, to find herself in an open wheatfield, with no sign of the Aperture laboratory except a small iron shed, which conceals the elevator. Moments later, the shed re-opens and the Weighted Companion Cube is thrown out after her.


[note 1]

Original (mostly Italian)[]

Cara bella, cara mia bella!
Mia bambina, O Ciel! (Chell!)
Que lástima![note 2]
Que lástima!
O cara mia, addio!


La mia bambina cara...
perché non passi lontana?
'Si lontana da Scienza![note 3]
Cara, cara mia bambina...
Ah, mia bella!
Ah, mia cara!
Ah, mia cara!
Ah, mia bambina!
O cara, cara mia...


Beautiful dear, my darling beauty!
My child, oh heavens (Chell)![note 4]
What a pity!
What a pity!
Oh my dear, fare-thee-well!


My dear child...
Why don't you walk far away?
So far away from Science!
My dear, dear baby...
Ah, my beloved!
Ah, my dear!
Ah, my dear!
Ah, my little girl!
Oh dear, my dear...
  1. The lyrics were partially improvised. "The composer, Mike Morasky was the driving force behind the Turret Opera. He wrote all the music. He requested that I use my legit voice (operatic sound) on some of the takes. He chose the takes to use. He asked me to make up some words. So I did so in my bad Italian."
  2. There has been some confusion about whether this phrase is the Spanish "Que lástima" ("what a pity") or a similar-sounding Italian phrase "Ch'ella stima" ("I esteem her"); at a 2014 Q&A Ellen McLain confirmed that the opera lyrics were not entirely Italian and that "Che'ella stima" was "great" but not what she meant.
  3. As Italian is a Latin-based language, 'Scienza' also means 'knowledge'. This could be a possible reference to how Chell is stepping into the unknown world beyond the boundaries of Aperture.
  4. Note that "ciel" ("sky" or "heaven" in lyrical Italian) is a pun on Chell's name, as it sounds roughly the same.

Notable opera members[]

The Prima Donna Turret[]

Turret wife

A render of the Turret Wife.

The Soprano Turret is also known as the "Opera Turret" by fans and "Turret Wife" in the game files and song title by it. It is first seen in the beginning of chapter 6, but not in full form; several are blown to pieces and can be found on fire. It can then be found in Test Chamber 11, going up in a lift right before Chell enters her own lift. It is next seen in Test Chamber 16, where the Turret Quartet plays the song "Turret Wife Serenade," as titled by volume 1 of the Portal 2 soundtrack. She is last seen in the Single Player campaign Turret Opera. She is also witnessed in the ending credits of the Cooperative Campaign.

The Turret Quartet[]

In the first test where Turrets can be destroyed with Thermal Discouragement Beams (Test Chamber 16 {Use console command changelevel sp_a2_laser_vs_turret to get there quicker}), there is a Turret behind a metal grating. If this Turret is destroyed, the grating will come off, and one can then enter the vent and discover four singing Turrets below, each in a separate compartment, but playing a light music together (distinct from the Turret Opera), with the Soprano Turret, idle, opposite them. The vent also features scribblings done by Doug Rattmann.

The Quartet is seen again in the song at the very end of the game, which they open at the first elevator stop and play the overture, before the song is picked up by the Turret group in the amphitheater.

The Animal King[]

Main article: Animal King

The Animal King turret appears at the very back of the Turret Opera's primary room, serving as the source of bass tones. It has the spots of a Leopard, which may have been the reason why the Turret got its name.

Other Opera Members[]

Besides the immeasurable numbers of Sentry Turrets, you can spot the two varieties of Defective Turrets (sideways and Plateless) also singing on the way up in the elevator to the main opera. Also, a lone Frankenturret is creeping along in the back of the orchestra. An astute eye can even spot the Bird in its nest.



The initial Turret Quartet which begins the opera.

  • Earlier in the game, there is an easter egg where four sentry turrets can be seen playing the Turret Wife Serenade. The "fat" turret ("Turret Wife") is also present in a crate across from them, but does not sing.[8]
  • In Test Chamber 07, where the Preservation of Mass achievement is earned, the song or something similar can be heard in the background ("Love as a Construct").[9] It hums as an accompaniment to the tune played by the Companion Cube.[10]
    • Similarly, the song 'space phase' has part of an 8-bit version of the song in the background.
    • The song can also be heard in the background of the music that emanates from Hard Light bridges, "Hard Sunshine".
  • After GLaDOS retrieves Chell from space, the melody of the opera can faintly be heard as Chell passes out.
  • Ellen McLain, the voice of GlaDOS and the turrets, voiced every turret individually. The recording sessions directly followed McLain's recording of "Want you Gone". After recording many layers of the Opera (Do do, Va va va, etc.), Mike Morasky asked McLain to make up some lyrics, which she did so in her bad Italian she learned in High School. McLain was told that the Opera would serve as the goodbye to Chell and the player.[11]


External links[]