Wonderful Mozart duets: S’io non moro a questi accenti
As “doomed lovers” Mozart duets go, I’m very fond of this one (recit included). Perhaps because it comes at such a dramatic moment in the opera (Idamante has decided to face Nessie and possibly die since (he thinks) Ilia doesn’t love him anyway; his impassioned recit convinces Ilia to reveal her own love for him, so now Idamante is about to pass out from an unexpected infusion of happiness).
I kept thinking about Idamante. He’s constantly and inexplicably (for all he knows) being rejected by those he loves most for over two acts. That’s really shitty, especially considering he always tries to do the right thing. In Il padre adorato he wonders what he’s done to deserve such brutal treatment from the father he longed for since his childhood. He proves himself an open minded and generous regent when he frees Ilia’s people yet she keeps a cold distance (not that she should simply love him for that but she’s beyong unfriendly).
As the opera rolls on I’m anxious for him to get a break and finally this duet arrives at the beginning of Act III. Whew. Of course it needs to be cut short by the arrival of Idomeneo and that busybody Elettra. Even so – or perhaps moreso – what a little gem of hope and gentle giddiness! The tune meanders in what it feels to me like the push and pull intrinsic to the moment two (shy) people who love each other open up to their feelings. Oh, young love 😉