Jules Massenet wrote an operatic work about "Cleopatra". In act 2, there is an aria sung by the character "Marc Anthony", which translates in English to "Did he speak the truth".

The lyrics in the Massenet score are written:

a-t-il dit vrai ?

However, this may have been hyphenated simply to spread the syllables more effectively across the notes that it is sung to.

What is the correct French spelling for this phrase?

I feel it should be something like:

As t'il dit vrai ?

but I am not entirely sure.

  • Writing "The lyrics in the Massenet score translate this as" confuses the translation and the original. Commented Apr 16, 2019 at 18:56
  • I have fixed that now.
    – Mark
    Commented Apr 17, 2019 at 0:38

2 Answers 2


A-t-il dit vrai? is correct, this is the inversion of il a dit and the hyphens are required.

The -t- in the middle is also required - it's added for euphony.


A-t-il dit vrai ? est correct comme on peut le vérifier ici :


Acte II. Premier tableau – Air de la Lettre (Marc-Antoine)

A-t-il dit vrai ?... ah ! quel réveil affreux !

Je veux tout oublier... j'oublierai cette femme !...

Mais s'il m'avait trompé !...

Cet Ennius déjà est venu en Egypte... m'apporter l'ordre du Sénat...

S'il était de nouveau l'instrument de tous mes ennemis !...

O dieux cruels, pourquoi me torturer ainsi !...

Cléopâtre !...

Il a dit vrai devient pour des raisons d'euphonie : a-t-il dit vrai ?

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