Mozart’s deceptively simple arias
I’m talking about Non piu andrai, Voi che sapete, Notte e giorno faticar, that kinda thing. I understand some people look down on these simple songs because, well, they are simple songs.
Sophisticated public: Oh, dear, where’s the complexity, Herr Mozart?
Wolfie: What can I say, life is straight forward sometimes.
Why is Figaro singing Non piu andrai? He’s making fun of Cherubino. That’s it. How about if Wolfie wrote something really complicated and “deep” to illustrate this moment? That would have been ridiculous.
And Voi che sapete, what’s it all about? Cherubino, a 15 year old, wrote a simple song in which he’s asking them ladies to clarify his confused amorous feelings. We could have done with some really complex music here as well, eh?
In Notte e giorno faticar Leporello is moaning about his lot in life. That’s existential all right, but Leporello is not exactly an intellectual. He’s also a resourceful kinda chap, who won’t be moaning for long. In fact he likes his job all right, he’s just momentarily cranky.
So light-hearted teasing, a hormonal teenager’s feelings and crankiness (with a shade of social commentary).
Sophisticated public: But, Herr Mozart, these characters aren’t serious. Where are the lofty sentiments?
Wolfie: I write about real people.
Sophisticated public: Pah, real people!