Friday, November 20, 2009

Spotlight on Deh vieni, non tardar

The soprano aria "Deh vieni, non tardar" is truly one of the the most sung aria in auditions for YAPS and beyond...which makes it required learning (in my books) for young sopranos wishing to have a career in opera!

Sung by Susanna in Act IV of Mozart's opera Le Nozze di Figaro, Suzanna is disguised as her mistress the Countess in order to trick the Count (who is acting like a bad, bad man!) and get back at him for wanting to be unfaithful to his wife the Countess. While Susanna is singing this aria, Figaro is hiding because he suspects Susanna to be unfaithful to him. Susanna knows that Figaro is there because his mother, Marcellina, tipped her off that he was raging mad over her lack of fidelity. So....Susanna decides to let him suffer a bit longer by singing "this at last is the moment...I have longingly awaited...soon he will come here and embrace me..." Of course at the end of the aria Cherubino enters looking for Barbarina and mistakes the Countess for Susanna and all hell breaks loose! Read the whole synopsis to see what happens!


To pull this aria off is no small task! The recitative needs attention to phrasing and diction of course but, you also have to decide how far to take the "hoax". Is Susanna really singing sincerely to Figaro or is there more needling going on? I always like to say to my singers that regardless of how you want to play this, this is the first time Susanna has had her own moment in the whole opera and is just so darned relieved to be alone with Figaro (albeit dressed as her mistress) that she takes this opportunity to really relax and just BE.

The aria itself dips into the low register for a soprano (E3) which needs some chest voice but it also ascends to a high A5 by the last page after sitting around the passaggio so one needs flexibility and real spin to keep the sound going.

Have a listen to a few examples:

Lucia Popp from the 1980 production at the Palais Garnier with Sir George Solti conducting. Listen to how slow Solti takes the tempo (the aria is almost 6 minutes long!) and how Popp just SPINS out those lines!

Now fast forward to 1991 in Salzburg with Dawn Upshaw...a little faster, a singer with a totally different colour of voice and vibrato...and check out the Figaro - totally crushed!

And finally the 2006 Salzburg production with Anna Netrebko...obviously a "concept" production that one needs to see the whole thing to get it (not sure about the dancing angel). Whatever you think of Netrebko, she sang sing anything...and check out the change of tempos over the generations of singers and conductors!

For more information...

Aria Database for a translation

The Wiki entry on Nozze di Figaro

Opera Today articles on various Figaro topics

Download the orginal 1784 Beaumarchais work and other study topics on the opera

1 comment:

Frank Watson said...

I was delighted to hear this aria towards the end of the film "Becoming Jane", from my favourite Mozart opera. I think Lucia Popp sings this the best.
D. Mary Hornby

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