Decoration or dramatic function? : Mozart's use of coloratura in three comic soprano roles




Baron, Kristina Lynn

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Coloratura arias for soprano were popular with Viennese opera audiences in the late eighteenth century. Prima donnas of the Singspiel and opera buffa companies expected composers to write arias that would display their technical skills, even requesting substitute arias to replace less virtuosic ones in revivals of older operas. However, in using coloratura in the comic opera genres, Mozart was not only creating an opportunity for virtuoso display of the singer's talent, but was also using this vocal style as a dramatic and rhetorical device, one that defined a character's social level. depicted her emotions, and advanced her dramatic situation. This thesis investigates how coloratura functions in Mozart's soprano comic roles by examining the arias of three characters from two different operas: Konstanze and Blonde in the Singspiel Die Enifiihrung aus dem Serail, and Susanna in the opera buffa Le nozze di Figaro. An analysis of these arias shows evidence of Mozart's skill in using coloratura while meeting the conflicting demands of diva and drama.



sopranos, Austria, Vienna, history