Opera - Arias

CD 23 of 24

Although the text/music battle would wage back and forth over the years, operas still demanded a libretto, no matter what importance was given to it; and during most of the eighteenth century, there were essentially two types of libretto required: one for opera seria, the other opera buffa. Seria concerned itself with historical and mythological subject matters, while buffa dealt with the everyday.

Near the end of the eighteenth century Mozart revolutionized opera by synthesizing these various styles. Along with the librettist Lorenzo da Ponte (1749 – 1838), he created a trio of smash hits; Le nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro, 1786), Don Giovanni (1787) and Cosí fan tutte (Thus Do All Women, 1790).

Le nozze di Figaro had originally been a banned play, its suggestion of a lower servant rivalling a Count being the justification for the ban. Cherubino, a male character sung by a female – known as a travesti role – is in love with all women. Figaro sings “Non più andrai”  (No more, you amorous  butterfly – CD 23, Track 15), to Cherubini, informing Cherubino  that his impending life in the army will be quite different to the one he is accustomed to.  

Don Giovanni is the perfect blend of the serious and the comic. While the plot centres on Giovanni’s murder of the Commendatore and his possible redemption from that sin, a comedic episode is provided by Giovanni’s servant Leporello, in “Madamina, il catalogo è questo” (the famous Catalogue Aria – CD 23, Track 1) in which he recalls Giovanni’s 2,065 bedroom conquests (1,003 of them in Spain alone!). The opera gets down to very serious business when Giovanni is offered one last chance to repent by no less than the Commendatore himself who has re-appeared as a statue. Giovanni, refusing the offer, is dragged to Hell and is damned for eternity (CD 24, Track 8).

Cosí fan tutte is a re-telling of the story of the distrustful husband tempting his wife while disguised as “the other man”. Mozart and da Ponte put a new spin on this old tale, doubling the parts, creating two sets of tempting lovers. The plot centres on Don Alfonso betting the two leading men that their lovers would not be faithful if temptation proved too strong. “Soave sia il vento” (Gentle is the wind, CD 24 Track 3) has the two women and Don Alfonso waving good-bye to the departing men, setting the plot in motion.   

Der Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute) was written to a libretto by Emanuel Schikaneder (1751 – 1812) and premièred two and half months before Mozart’s death. Mozart and Schikaneder use opera buffa, as heard in Papageno’s “Der Vogelfänger ich bin ja” (A bird-catcher, that I am, CD 23, Track 9) and opera seria, sung by the Queen of the Night in her aria “Der Hölle Rache” (The Vengeance of Hell, CD 23, Track 12).


Recommended Tracks

Recommended Tracks

Gioacchino Rossini (1792 - 1868):
Il barbiere di Siviglia | No.2 Cavatina: "Largo al factotum"
Various Artists
Giacomo Puccini (1858 - 1924):
Turandot | Nessun dorma!
Various Artists
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 - 1791):
Die Zauberflöte, K.620 | Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen (Königin der Nacht)
Various Artists


(Please find our recommended audio excerpts for this CD on the bottom of the "Overview" page.)

      1. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 - 1791)
        Don Giovanni, K.527
        1. Prague Version 1787
          1. Act 1
            1. 1.
              "Madamina, il catalogo è questo"
              Ildebrando D'Arcangelo, Orchestra del Teatro Regio di Torino, Gianandrea Noseda
      2. Giacomo Puccini (1858 - 1924)
        La Bohème
        1. Act 1
          1. 2.
            "Che gelida manina"
            Jerry Hadley, Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Leonard Bernstein
      3. Gioacchino Rossini (1792 - 1868)
        Il barbiere di Siviglia
        1. Ed. Alberto Zedda (1928-)
          1. Act 1
            1. 3.
              No.2 Cavatina: "Largo al factotum"
              Hermann Prey, London Symphony Orchestra, Claudio Abbado
      4. Georges Bizet (1838 - 1875)
        1. Act 1
          1. 4.
            Chanson et Duo: "Près des remparts de Séville"
            Teresa Berganza, Plácido Domingo, London Symphony Orchestra, Claudio Abbado
      5. Giuseppe Verdi (1813 - 1901)
        La traviata
        1. Act 1
          1. 5.
            Sempre libera
            Ileana Cotrubas, Plácido Domingo, Bavarian State Orchestra, Carlos Kleiber
      6. Giacomo Puccini (1858 - 1924)
        1. Act 3
          1. 6.
            Nessun dorma!
            Roberto Alagna, Mark Elder, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Terry Edwards, Roberto Alagna, London Voices, Mark Elder, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London Voices
      7. Richard Wagner (1813 - 1883)
        Tristan und Isolde
        1. Act 3
          1. 7.
            "Mild und leise wie er lächelt" (Isoldes Liebestod) (Isolde)
            Birgit Nilsson, Orchester der Bayreuther Festspiele, Karl Böhm
      8. Giacomo Puccini (1858 - 1924)
        1. Act 2
          1. 8.
            "Vissi d'arte, vissi d'amore"
            Mirella Freni, Samuel Ramey, Philharmonia Orchestra, Giuseppe Sinopoli
      9. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 - 1791)
        Die Zauberflöte, K.620
        1. Act 1
          1. 9.
            Der Vogelfänger bin ich ja (Papageno)
            Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Berliner Philharmoniker, Karl Böhm
      10. Gioacchino Rossini (1792 - 1868)
        Il barbiere di Siviglia
        1. Ed. Alberto Zedda (1928-)
          1. Act 1
            1. 10.
              Una voce poco fa
              Teresa Berganza, London Symphony Orchestra, Claudio Abbado
      11. Ruggiero Leoncavallo (1857 - 1919)
        1. Act 1
          1. 11.
            "Recitar!" - "Vesti la giubba"
            Carlo Bergonzi, Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala di Milano, Herbert von Karajan
      12. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 - 1791)
        Die Zauberflöte, K.620
        1. Act 2
          1. 12.
            Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen (Königin der Nacht)
            Roberta Peters, Berliner Philharmoniker, Karl Böhm
      13. Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840 - 1893)
        Eugene Onegin, Op.24
        1. Act 3
          1. 13.
            "Lyubvi vsye vozrasti pokorni"
            Paata Burchuladze, Staatskapelle Dresden, James Levine
      14. Gaetano Donizetti (1797 - 1848)
        L'elisir d'amore
        1. Act 2
          1. 14.
            "Una furtiva lagrima"
            Gösta Winbergh, Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Gabriele Ferro
      15. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 - 1791)
        Le nozze di Figaro, K.492
        1. Act 1
          1. 15.
            "Non più andrai"
            Bryn Terfel, English Baroque Soloists, John Eliot Gardiner
      16. Henry Purcell (1659 - 1695)
        Dido and Aeneas, Z.626
        1. Act 3
          1. 16.
            "Thy hand, Belinda...When I am laid in earth"
            Anne Sofie von Otter, The English Concert, Trevor Pinnock
    Playing Time 01:10:35