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Mezzo-Soprano
Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus: La finta giardiniera
Act 2: Aria, “Dolce d’amor compagna” (Ramiro)

Roger Pines, Dramaturg, Lyric Opera of Chicago
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Aria Talk12/1/2002

Editor's Note: Aria Talk focuses not on the tried-and-true pieces you undoubtedly already know, but on somewhat off-the-beaten-track arias. The hope is that this music will prove a refreshing musical and interpretive change not only for you, the performer, but also for those hearing you in auditions.
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Unless you’re auditioning for the role of Cherubino, it may be time to give his arias a rest, especially if you’ve long since met their vocal challenges. If you’re a trouser-role type but don’t want to subject yourself to the rigors of Sesto’s or Idamante’s arias, Ramiro’s should work well — it’s certainly as beautiful as anything in the other Mozart mezzo roles. Major companies are starting to discover La finta giardiniera and people aren’t going to question your offering Ramiro’s aria. If you have real vocal velvet to bring to it, you’ll enjoy it immensely.

In the “school for lovers”-style plot, Ramiro is a charming young man who desperately loves a haughty Milanese lady, Arminda. She had loved him but she’s now engaged to Count Belfiore. Late in Act 2, she really gives him a hard time, telling him he’s unworthy of her love. “I’m burning with contempt!” she snaps before storming off. He still has hope that her feelings will change and in his aria he makes clear that hope continues to sustain and comfort him.

Throughout this aria you must be able to manage very gentle attacks at the top of the stave, along with fabulous intonation and rock-solid tonal steadiness. There are also tricky triplet passages (don’t worry, they don’t take you up as high as those in “Parto”) and numerous trills. Above all, however, this is about legato. You can’t pick your way through these ravishing phrases, you have to sculpt them, color them and revel in their gracefulness.

Score: Bärenreiter
Recording: Brigitte Fassbaender in complete recording, Philips #4225332; Monica Bacelli in complete recording, Teldec #72309; Anne Sofie von Otter in Mozart/Haydn/Gluck recital, DG #449206
Timing: 6:00 (with shortened prelude and postlude)
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