Episode 10: Mozart's Cosi fan tutte: 'Soave sia il vento'

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Cosi fan tutte K. 588: 'Soave sia il vento'
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, soprano; Christa Ludwig, mezzo; Walter Berry, baritone
Philharmonia Orchestra
Karl Bohm, conductor
Available on Arkivmusic.com

Ask opera fans to recommend their favorite slow moments in his stage works, and you might get "Dove sono" from The Marriage of Figaro or "Dies bildnis" from The Magic Flute. Good choices, but sooner or later, and probably sooner, those opera fans are going to bring up "Soave sia il vento," from Cosi fan tutte.

The opera is mostly very polite on its surface, although the theme is anything but: Two men disguising themselves and trying to seduce each others' fiancées to win a bet and prove that "cosi fan tutte" – that all women are like that, meaning fickle and unfaithful. Before they disguise themselves, though, the men pretend to sail off to war. And their fiancées send them off, singing, "Soave sia il vento," – "May the seas be calm and the winds gentle." The sincerity of those wishes is made clear in Mozart’s music. You can practically feel the rolling sea and those gentle winds as the music begins. Here are Elisabeth Schwarzkopf and Christa Ludwig.

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  • This recording is provided courtesy of Warner Classics/Erato