Female Characters in Mozart's Operas Term Paper

Female Characters in Mozart's Operas
Looks at the female characters in Mozart operas, specifically in "Le Nozze di Figaro" and "Cosi Fan Tutte".
# 147400 | 3,480 words | 14 sources | MLA | 2008 | US

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This paper explains that, the female characters in two of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Lorenzo Da Ponte's operatic collaborations, "Le Nozze di Figaro" and Cosi Fan Tutte", typify and go beyond the Enlightenment views of women, which did not conform with the usual gender prototypes in opera. Next, the author compares the music and dialogue as they relate to the changes in the characters Fiordiligi and Despina in "Cosi" and in Susanna and the Countess in "Figaro". The paper concludes that, although the two operas have similar characters, similar buffa-style stories written for a similar audience and both premiered in Vienna, "Figaro" has been considerably more successful, which is probably because of its more positive and progressive treatment of its female characters.

Footnotes and examples of the referred libretto are included in the paper.

Table of Contents:
Women and the Age of Reason
Characters in Context
Comparisons of Music and Dialogue

From the Paper:

"Despina, the cunning and charming servant to the sisters, is never allowed to be the equal of another character (male or female). In ensemble numbers, she is frequently the comic relief. She dresses up as a doctor and a notary and disguises her voice. Despina pretends to be more than she is in both scenes, and she does an admirable job with the parody. However, I believe this clowning only accentuates her lack of depth as a character because she lacks any emotionally meaningful music in the opera. Even Don Alfonso, the old cynic, has moments of humanity (though he is unchanged by the end of the opera), but Despina is never more than the clever servant."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Bellhouse, Mary. "Crimes and Pardons: Bourgeois Justice, Gendered Virtue, and the Criminalized Other in Eighteenth-Century France." Signs. vol. 4, no. 24 (1999): 959-1010. JSTOR. [Online.]
  • Branscombe , Peter. "Cosi in Context." The Musical Times 1661, no. 122 (1981): 461-464. JSTOR. [Online.]
  • Broder, Nathan. "The Marriage of Figaro" (program notes on pp. iv-x) Le nozze di Figaro (score). Milwaukee: G. Schirmer, 1951.
  • Brown-Montesano, Kristi. Understanding the Women of Mozart's Operas. Berkley: University of California Press, 2007.
  • Ford, Charles. Cosi? Sexual Politics in Mozart's Operas. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1991.

Cite this Term Paper:

APA Format

Female Characters in Mozart's Operas (2011, March 29) Retrieved September 24, 2023, from https://www.academon.com/term-paper/female-characters-in-mozart-operas-147400/

MLA Format

"Female Characters in Mozart's Operas" 29 March 2011. Web. 24 September. 2023. <https://www.academon.com/term-paper/female-characters-in-mozart-operas-147400/>