The World's most beautiful music: Trio "Soave sia il vento"

>> Monday, April 21, 2008

The last of the three Mozart/Da Ponte collaborations is Cosi fan Tutte, ("Thus do they all"), commissioned in 1789 by Emperor Joseph II, who died shortly before it's premiere in the Emperor's theater, (the Burgtheater), in Vienna on 26 January 1790. Mozart had only a little under two years to live after its premiere.

Mozart and Da Ponte took as a theme "fiancée swapping" which dates back to the 13th century, with notable earlier versions being those of Boccaccio's Decameron and Shakespeare's play Cymbeline. Elements from Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew are also present. Furthermore, it incorporates elements of the myth of Procris as found in Ovid's Metamorphoses.

This trio is from the first Act and features Don Alfonso, (bass), Fiordiligi, (mezzo soprano), and Dorabella, (soprano). In a coffee shop, Ferrando and Guglielmo (two officers) claim that their fiancées (Dorabella and Fiordiligi, respectively) will be eternally faithful. Don Alfonso joins the discussion and lays a wager with the two officers, claiming he can prove in a day's time that these two women (like all women) are fickle. The wager is accepted: the two officers will pretend to have been called off to war; soon thereafter they shall return in disguise and attempt to seduce each other's lover. The scene shifts to the two women (they are sisters) who are praising their men. Alfonso arrives to announce the bad news: the officers have been called off to war. Ferrando and Guglielmo arrive, brokenhearted, and bid farewell (quintet: Sento, o Dio, che questo piedo è restio—"I feel, oh God, that my foot is reluctant"). As the boat with the men sails off to sea, Alfonso and the sisters wish them safe travel (trio: Soave sia il vento—"May the wind be gentle").

This particular trio is one of the finest examples of Mozart's incredible vocal ensemble work and is one of my very favorites.


Kathy Handyside April 21, 2008 at 9:27 PM  

Ah yes! YES! This is one my absolute favorites! It always calms me down and makes me feel serene.

Thanks, Nettl!


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