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Lecture 80

EURO ST 10 Lecture Notes - Lecture 80: Coloratura, Aria

European Studies
Course Code
John Smith

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Professor Smith
Europe Studies 10
Course Code: 24000
4 units
2018 Fall Quarter
Back to the question of the oppositional thinking in the opera
Enlightenment values are not just represented positively
They are continually set up in opposition to other values that are negated
An opposition:
The queen of the night and sarastro
Listen to their back to back arias
How does Mozart musically play out the opposition?
Even if you didn’t understand the words, how might you hear the difference?
First, how might you characterize the Queen’s singing?
Note: in the opera, that incredible aria by the queen of the night is followed
immediately by this next one
Note: what Sarastro says about his universal” brotherhood…
We’ll return to his line in the next lecture
Whoever does not appreciate this knowledge, does not deserve to be
considered a human being
Coloratura = high, agile, very ornamental
Bass = low and slow
What “values” might we associate with these styles?
Even if we don’t know the words, she is “hysterical” and irrational, he is calm,
Could Mozart be playing with this opposition and perhaps undermining it in any
After all, isn’t her aria cooler?
Remarkable words at the end of Sarastro’s enlightened” aria: but whoever
doesn’t adopt our values doesn’t deserve to be considered a human being!
But perhaps the Queen of the Night is not just women in general but a specific
Empress Maria Theresa
1717 -1780
Ruled for 40 years
One of the major european monarchs (with frederick the Great and Catherine the
Great of Russia)
Intensely against Freemasonry
Empress Joseph the second
Maria Theresa’s son
Marie Antoinette’s brother
A strong supporter of the Freemasons
Mozart’s patron
...too many notes...”
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