'Che soave zeffiretto' and the structure of Act III of Le Nozze di Figaro

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‘Che soave zeffiretto’, the letter duettino sung by the Countess and Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro, has achieved iconic status as a perfect example of the transcendental beauty of Mozart’s music. An examination of the extant sources suggests that the composer and his librettist regarded it as a key moment in the opera: the crux of a developing relationship between the two women. A late change of plan over its location led to a reconfiguration of Act 3, resulting in the minor inconsistencies that Robert Moberly and Christopher Raeburn sought to explain in their celebrated double-casting hypothesis. The various versions of the text and a complete continuity draft of the score reveal the meticulous craftsmanship that went into its creation, in particular the development of its comedic potential as a vaudeville.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-136
Number of pages48
JournalJournal of the Royal Musical Association
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 26 Mar 2018


  • Mozart Figaro

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