Mozart Showdown: Vorrei Spiegarvi O Dio, K418

>> Saturday, June 6, 2009

Vorrei Spiegarvi O Dio, K418 was composed in 1783 for Mozart's sister-in-law and former sweetheart, Aloysia Weber Lange, as an insertion aria for Il curioso indiscreto, an opera by Anfossi, along with No, che non sei capace and Per pieta non ricercate. The aria is one of Mozart's most delicate and effective, especially in its stunning use of the voice in conjunction with various instruments. The very delicate orchestral introduction sets the tone of the piece, and the various obbligatos with the voice and instruments can be stunning. It seems quite likely that the opera composers of the Romantic era who used similar devices(e.g. Lucia's Mad Scene in Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor) were influenced by this aria.

Clorinda, who is in love with the Count, who is promised to Emilia, sings that she wishes she could explain to him why she appears not to return his love. In the fast-paced second part of the aria, she urges him to leave her, telling him to go to Emilia. The whole piece is quite moving as well as being lovely, and an excellent display piece for vocal agility and grace.

It is sung here by three great Mozart divas. You choose your favorite and tell us why you chose her.

Sumi Jo

Natalie Dessay

Kathleen Battle


Derrick June 6, 2009 at 10:34 AM  

Hi Lynette,

I am biased towards Dessay, having seen the Met's HD broadcast of La Sonambula a little while ago. She was superb. But Battle's slightly darker voice suited it well too. Decisions, decisions!

W. A. Mozart June 7, 2009 at 6:15 AM  

Mlle. Battle sounds most like Madame Lange (neé Aloysia Weber), but her high E is shrill. Mlle. Jo presents quite a pleasant performance, but her voice is just a touch dark for this aria. Mlle. Dessay has a lovely voice, but I am not too fond of her vibrato in this particular piece. Her high E is perfect, however. Therefore, I cast my vote in favor of Mlle. Battle. This aria requires a young voice that has a natural, round tone. If Mlle. Battle had not gone for volume in order to hit the E, her interpretation would have been flawless.


Lynette June 7, 2009 at 7:15 AM  

I had a difficult time narrowing it down to the final three on this one. There was a recording by Judith Blegen, that had she not had a couple of execution problems, I think I would have posted instead, perhaps, of Natalie Dessay. Blegen's voice had the youth and lightness that this aria requires, and her high E was flawless. BUT in my humble opinion, the two execution errors, (which were problems in her breathing), were enough to take her out of the running altogether.

That said, I'm going to place my vote with Sumi Jo for I feel that her overall performance, (despite the fact that her voice may be a bit dark for this aria), is flawless.

This one was a fun one!

Lynette June 7, 2009 at 7:31 AM  

I meant to add a thank-you to Herr Mozart for offering his thoughts. It's always an honor, Herr Mozart.

Lynette June 7, 2009 at 7:43 AM  

Gawd! I just re-read my post! Do I sound like a voice teacher or what?


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