Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Contessa, Perdono!

Can I be obnoxious for just a moment and make you watch the last scene of The Marriage of Figaro?

I know, you probably think opera's for snooty-patooties, but this will change your mind.

This is what I watch when I am feeling sad, or need a reminder that my heart can beat fast, and life is worth living.

 Count Almaviva has been trying his best, for the past 3 hours, to lure the Countess's maid, Susanna, into the sack. So Susanna, the Countess, and Susanna's brand new husband, Figaro, set out to trap the Count. The Countess dresses up in Susanna's clothes and hooks up with Almaviva in the pine grove at night. Almaviva thinks he is romancing Susanna (I know, I know. Willing suspension of disbelief) and mayhem ensues.

At one point the Count pulls a variety of characters out of the garden house, all of whom beg him for forgiveness. To all of them he says, No!

In the end, the Count is shamed into begging the Countess's pardon. Contessa, Perdono. The most beautiful phrase in Western music.

And the Countess replies, I am kinder than you, and I say...yes. There is the tiniest pause before the yes, as if to make him sweat a little. And boy is he sweating. Watch the expression on his face when she reveals herself!

I saw this production of Figaro, with Kathleen Battle, Ruggiero Raimondi, Frederica Von Stade, Thomas Allen and Carol Vaness, at the Met in 1985. It was a life changing experience.

Watch, listen, and let Mozart amaze you.


  1. Oh, yes. This production is available on DVD. Let me know if you don't have the whole thing and I'll try to find some way to get it to you.

    1. Thank you, Erika! I have looked in the past and not found it. No need to get it to me -- I'll just buy it. Time to look again on the Met website or Amazon...

      So glad you dropped by! Thanks again,

  2. Ah, tutti contenti saremo cosi.

    I first saw this performed at Furman University in South Carolina in 1981 or so. The last performance of the opera by our university troupe was scheduled for a Sunday matinee performance. There was a heavy snowfall the night before.

    While all the student opera troupe and orchestra were on university already, or could be gathered rapidly with 4 wheel drive vehicles, the audience was a problem. By the time for the curtain to rise, only about 50 persons were in the audience.

    The show, as they say, went on. The performance was magnificent and the standing ovation at the end was well deserved.

    And as the years pass, I come to appreciate 'Pui docile io sono, e dico di si" more and more.

    1. Mike, what a great story! And how cool to see a university production of Figaro (in a South Carolina snowstorm, nonetheless!). Yes, that "e dico di si" is quite a thing, isn't it? My almost-16-year-old daughter is singing opera...she had the chance to perform the "Prendero quel Brunettino" scene from Cosi this summer, as Fiordiligi. Unbelievable that I had a kid with a voice, and a Mozartian one at that! So glad you found me here -- hope to see you again sometime!.