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!

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