If you missed Wednesday’s post featuring Così fan tutte, you can find it here. Like I mentioned with Great Operatic duets, we will be revisiting Mozart soon.
And buckle up, next week’s theme is bel canto! 💥⚡️🚀
Today we are listening to “L'amerò, sarò costante” from Act II of Il Re Pastore (“The Shepherd King”) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Mozart was 19 years old when he wrote Il Re Pastore and it was commissioned for a visit by the Archduke of Austria. Mozart spent six weeks working on the opera and it was performed only once on April 23, 1775 in Salzburg. While not performed often, this aria is a favorite, and once you hear this pure and simple vocal line, you will know why.
Soprano Anna Moffo is singing here. In this recording, I think she captures the innocence and pure spirit of the character, Aminta, a young shepherd king (the role of Aminta was written for a castrato but it is sung by a soprano).
🎧 Listen here (6 minute listen):
Il Re Pastore is a simple story of a shepherd Aminta who is in love with Elisa.
Alessandro (tenor), king of Macedonia, having just conquered the city of Sidon wants it to be ruled by Aminta, the legitimate heir who became a shepherd after he was removed from the throne. To make things even more complicated (because this is, opera), the monarch chooses Tamiri (soprano) to be his wife. But the shepherd is passionately in love with Elisa.
To remain faithful to Elisa (soprano), Aminta objects to the king’s wishes, refuses the arranged marriage, and decides to stay a shepherd. “L'amerò sarò costante," is sung by Aminta when Elisa pleads with Alessandro to let her marry Aminta.
I'll love her, constant and ever:
Faithful husband, unfaltering lover,
Only for her I'll yearn and sigh.
So precious and pleasing,
My greatest joy and sense of well-being,
My sweetest solace there shall I find.
Idomeneo was the next completed opera that Mozart wrote after Il Re pastore, after a six-year-long break.
The American composer Leonard Bernstein said that Mozart’s works were “bathed in a glitter that could have come only from the 18th century, from that age of light, lightness, and enlightenment … over it all hovers the greater spirit that is Mozart’s—the spirit of compassion, of universal love, even of suffering—a spirit that knows no age, that belongs to all ages.”
Thank you for listening,
Moffo had a brief but notable career at The Met. A colleague of mine saw her in 1970 at The Met and said her career was finished. Then she married record executive Robert Sarno and she made a batch of disastrous recordings that were all wobbles and hoots on display,
Beautifully sung. Lovely.