Physiology and Pathology in Mozart-Da Ponte's Operas

Federico Gon

Abstract


With the precious collaboration of Lorenzo Da Ponte, Mozart created a label that produced three of the major masterpieces in the history of opera: Le nozze di Figaro (1786), Don Giovanni (1787) and Così fan tutte (1790). These operas illustrate a varied microcosm of features that make up human beings and their passions, such as love, death, the supernatural, honour, fear, frustration, faith friendship, pride, etc Here, we are going to investigate how Da Ponte and Mozart look at the human machine in its physiological and pathological meaning, with particular attention to the relationship between words and music: both the three ages of man (Cherubino-Don Giovanni-Don Alfonso) and the fake illnesses of Figaro, Leporello, Ferrando and Guglielmo are just a few examples of that wider microcosm of the human comedy that this trilogy portrays.

 

Key words: Mozart - Da Ponte - Opera - Physiology - Pathology - Enlightenment 


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