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Popoli di Tessaglia!

"Popoli di Tessaglia! – Io non chiedo, eterni Dei" (K. 316/300b) is a recitative and aria for soprano and orchestra that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart wrote for Aloysia Weber. It is famous for including two occurrences of a G6, i.e. the G above high C, or 1568 Hz by modern concert pitch – according to the Guinness Book of Records, the highest musical note ever scored for the human voice. (However, an A6 is scored in Ignaz Umlauf's Das Irrlicht, also sung by Aloysia Weber.)[1]

Contents

HistoryEdit

Mozart completed this recitative and aria in Munich on 8 January 1779, as an insertion aria for the opera Alceste by Christoph Willibald Gluck. It was written specifically to showcase the superlative vocal skills of Mozart's future sister-in-law, Aloysia Weber, who was only 18 at the time. However, sopranos who are able to cope with the aria's demands have been few and far between, and hence the aria is usually omitted from performances of Alceste. It has been therefore redesignated a concert aria, to be presented in concerts by such rare singers as are able to deliver its fiendishly difficult coloratura.

MusicEdit

The aria is scored for solo oboe, solo bassoon, 2 horns in C, and strings. The opening recitative is 47 bars long and is in C minor with a time signature of  , with the detailed tempo direction Andantino sostenuto e languido. The following aria is 192 bars long and in C major. The aria is divided into two parts: the first part with a time signature of 2
4
and tempo Andantino sostenuto e cantabile, ends in bar 85; the second part then begins, and the tempo then accelerates to Allegro assai   to the words of the final four lines. The aria has a vocal range of two octaves and a major second (or 2500 cents), from F4 to G6; the latter note occurs only twice (in bars 165 and 172 of the aria):

 

LibrettoEdit

The text of the aria is from the opera Alceste, and was written by Ranieri de' Calzabigi. It is inserted at act 1, scene 2.

Popoli di Tessaglia,
ah mai più giusto fu il vostro pianto;
a voi non men che a questi
innocenti fanciulli Admeto è padre.
Io perdo il caro sposo, e voi l'amato re.
La nostra sola speranza, il nostro amor
c'invola questo caso crudel,
né so chi prima in sì grave sciagura
a compianger m'appigli
del regno, di me stessa, o de' miei figli.
La pietà degli dei sola
ci resta d'implorare, d'ottener.
Verrò compagna alle vostre preghiere,
a' vostri sacrifizi avanti all'are
una misera madre, due bambini infelici,
tutto un popolo in pianto presenterò così.
Forse con questo spettacolo funesto,
in cui dolente gli affetti,
i voti suoi dichiara un regno,
placato alfin sarà del ciel lo sdegno.
  
Io non chiedo, eterni dei
tutto il ciel per me sereno.
Ma il mio duol consoli almeno,
qualche raggio di pietà.
Non comprende mali miei
né il terror che m’empie il petto,
chi di moglie il vivo affetto,
chi di madre il cor non ha.

ReferencesEdit

Notes

  1. ^ Macy 2008, p. 267

Sources

  • Macy, Laura Williams, ed. (2008). The Grove Book of Opera Singers. ISBN 978-019-533765-5.

External linksEdit