EURO ST 10 Lecture Notes - Lecture 80: Coloratura, Aria
Course CodeEURO ST 10
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Europe Studies 10
Course Code: 24000
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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