A Comprehensive Online Opera Guide to Mozart’s Aria, PORGI AMOR
Looking for interesting facts and superb YouTube videos about the famous aria, “PORGI AMOR”? You’ve come to the right place! In this article, we’ll explore the highlights of this beautiful piece from the opera Le nozze di Figaro.
Aria Summary and Background
Let’s start with a brief summary: The Countess has been married to Count Almaviva for several years, but he is unfaithful and pursuing their employee, Susanna. Susanna wants to marry Figaro, and the Count wants to reinstate the right of the first night. The Countess is feeling abandoned and unhappy. In the lament “PORGI AMOR,” she expresses her emotions.
“Porgi amor” is undoubtedly one of the opera’s standout moments. This aria is considered one of the most beautiful lyric pieces written for soprano. It begins softly and builds up to a heartbreaking plea “o milascia almen morir” (or let me at least die), repeated three times. The accompaniment features sorrowful and otherworldly clarinet melodies.
The Countess makes her first appearance in this aria. She is alone on stage, and the singer must deliver the opera’s most beautiful air without any warm-up. Some singers have great respect for this aria. Technically, it doesn’t pose many challenges as it is a simple Cavatina and relatively short in duration. However, as with all of Mozart’s works, the simple things are often the most difficult. This aria must be sung with beautiful legato, and sometimes longer phrases need to be sung in one breath.
The orchestral introduction starts with a tender melody played by the strings, which is the theme of the Countess’s aria. Abrupt interjections from the wind instruments add a painful note to the melancholic atmosphere, symbolizing the Countess’s state of despair. The Countess’s voice then enters with the beautiful aria theme. Beautiful ornaments highlight the words “Duolo” (grief) and “Sospir” (sigh).
The piece features repetition, such as the phrase “lascia mi almen morir” being repeated three times. The second repetition includes a lovely ascending scale, giving the music a supernatural brilliance. The aria concludes with a beautiful clarinet motif. Interestingly, Mozart composed this lament in a major key, which gives it a haunting aura and presents the Countess’s noble persona in a painfully beautiful light.
The Text of PORGI AMOR
The role of the Countess is written for a dramatic soprano. The dramatic soprano must have a strong and voluminous voice that can project powerfully without straining. The voice should radiate freshness and vitality. The role demands great endurance and stamina from the singer.
Noteworthy Interpretations of PORGI AMOR
First, let’s listen to the wonderful, melancholic, and unbeatable interpretation by Elisabeth Schwarzkopf. Each word receives a beautiful timbre, and her breathing is imperceptible, illuminating the music with long, exquisite phrases.
[Porgi amor (1) – Schwarzkopf](image link)
Next, we have a more expressive version by Maria Callas, whose voice is instantly recognizable.
[Porgi amor (2) – Callas](image link)
And here’s a concert recording by Angela Gheorgiu.
[Porgi amor (3) – Gheorghiu](image link)
For aficionados, we have an opportunity to listen to a recording by Australian singer Nellie Melba (1861-1931). She became a legend in her lifetime and was considered by many as the greatest voice in the world. Her voice is rich, clear, and powerful. She was even called “the ideal voice of song.” See for yourself in this 1904 recording of “Porgi amor” (Kesting: a masterclass in broad and fluid phrasing). Unfortunately, the recording’s quality is reduced due to noise.
[Porgi amor (4) – Melba](image link)
Peter Lutz, opera-inside, the comprehensive online opera guide for the aria “PORGI AMOR” from the opera Le nozze di Figaro.
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