Tuesday, May 17, 2022

The Seduction Aria From Mozart's "Don Giovanni"

 One can while away hours watching performances of Mozart's aria "La Ci Darem La Mano," from "Don Giovanni."

The opera of operas! I have seen "Don Giovanni referred to that way and I cannot say I disagree.

What is fun about "La Ci Darem La Mano" is that it is plain and simple a seduction aria. Don Juan is out to seduce this peasant girl who is getting married. And you really don't need a translation of the words, you can tell darn well what is going on. It is the international language of love, as the old joke goes. And you know the exact moment when she makes her decision that yes, she will go with him. This is the kind of aria only Mozart could write because he knew his stuff. Beethoven, for all his genius, could not have written this. And actually he was kind of shocked by it.

There are a million performances I want to feature. They get like salt peanuts, you cannot stop with just one. It is a simple aria however there are so many ways you can go with it. Invariably, at least if you are going to do it right, it involves a certain amount of manhandling. On occasion I have gotten into it with someone in the comments section about that. Some high-minded person objects to what is going on and it falls to me to point out that I am sorry however it has to be that way.

The above performance is an absolute classic. The good old '80s, you cannot beat them, you know? Beautiful Kathleen Battle in her hot pink, and handsome Thomas Hampson who demonstrates many times on YouTube that he knows what to do with this aria.

The acting is wonderful on both sides. Miss Battle, her face says it all, how she's struggling, and when she finally gives in. A tremendous moment -- she leans back against Hampson. He's so much bigger than she is, and he uses his size to his advantage -- just stands there, sure of victory. I mean who could resist him. His hand gestures throughout are amazing, too. I have never seen a complete "Don Giovanni" with him as the Don and now I have to look one up.

Much praise to both of them for the ending! I will not give it away but my guess is you could not get away with it now. The audience goes wild.

I will have to post other performances. I limit myself today to one because otherwise it would become overwhelming and I would never write the post.

Such fun!

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Beethoven Playing For Mozart


I love this old picture. I remember seeing it when I was a kid and today I ran across it on the Internet.

It shows Beethoven playing for Mozart. You have to click on the picture to see it bigger to get the look on Mozart's face. That artist did a good job! Mozart looks alert and interested but not threatened. He looks kind of cocky, the way he was in real life.

Then all the ladies. Artists love to draw ladies with their pretty hair and dresses. Especially if the artist is a woman. Women love to draw women.

It is fun how there is a crowd present.

Underlying it all is the mystery of whether Beethoven did in fact meet Mozart, or if he did not. He was hoping to study with Mozart. However then his mother died and his plans were undone. And when he got around to pursuing those plans again, Mozart was gone.

There is a chance however that Beethoven did meet Mozart. You have to doubt it, however, because you would think Beethoven would have mentioned it to someone at some point if it had happened. Or Mozart might have mentioned it. Especially Beethoven, though, you would think it would come up.

I have written a lot about this I know, but I think about it a lot... Those two.

In a book about Mozart -- I will have to link to it -- the Englishman Paul Johnson goes into great detail about that. I like how I am not the only one thinking about it. Johnson said that Mozart and Beethoven would go into eternity together, both magnifying the other. He said it better than that. I will have to look it up.

You almost have to think of them together, to compare and contrast. And you can say whatever about Beethoven admiring Handel more, or Cherubini more, or whoever more than he admired Mozart. He did not.

There was no way he admired anyone more than he admired Mozart. You can hear it in his music. There would have been no Beethoven without Mozart. Well, he would have written music, but he would have been different.

So that question is settled. Only one remains...

Did they ever meet?

If they did, it would be like the picture.