At the peak of his powers during the 1780s, Mozart’s ability to weave a mesmerizing spell of music remains pretty much unrivaled in music history. There are hints of something darker and wilder lurking behind this music, but those doors would remain closed for the time being. Ever the businessman, Mozart was concerned about alienating his audience—in other words, leading them down a musical path where they would not follow him. So instead, we got this—Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, a truly perfect opera.
This is Figaro’s great aria, sung by the bass Luca Pisaroni. His Figaro is one of the best on the world stage today.
W. A. Mozart, Le Nozze di Figaro, “Non più andrai, farfallone amoroso“:
Of course, every one of us has heard this opera before. It figures in one of the most memorable scenes from The Shawshank Redemption, which effectively sums up why Mozart retains his immense popularity today, nearly 300 years after his birth.
I have no idea to this day what those two Italian ladies were singing about. Truth is, I don’t want to know. Some things are best left unsaid. I like to think they were singing about something so beautiful it can’t be expressed in words and makes your heart ache because of it. I tell you those voices soared higher and farther than anybody in a grey place dares to dream. It was like some beautiful bird flapped into our drab little cage and made these walls dissolve away. For the briefest moment every last man in Shawshank felt free.Red
I don’t think anyone has better described the effect that great music has on the human soul. Get busy living, Red, wherever you are.