"Stride la vampa" from Verdi's opera Il Trovatore is the Gypsy Azucena's description of witnessing her mother being burned to death by an angry mob that suspected her of witchcraft and vows revenge on her killers.
Set in Spain during the Peninsular War. The commander of the Royalist Aragon troops, Count di Luna, is obsessed with Leonora, a young noblewoman in the queen’s service, who does not return his love.
The Count's Captain, Ferrando, recounts the terrible story of a gypsy woman who was burned at the stake years ago for bewitching the count’s infant brother. The gypsy’s daughter then took revenge by kidnapping the boy and throwing him into the flames where her mother had died. The charred skeleton of a baby was discovered there, and di Luna’s father died of grief soon after. The gypsy’s daughter disappeared without a trace, but di Luna has sworn to find her.
Azucena is the woman for whom di Luna has been searching. Her life is scarred by the memory of her mother’s death and the terrible revenge she exacted. Manrico, who has never heard the full story, is determined to finally know the truth. Azucena tells him how she stole the older count’s infant son but, in her manic rage, accidentally murdered her own child instead.