Fiordiligi: A Woman of Feeling

Jessica Waldoff

in Recognition in Mozart's Operas

Published in print May 2006 | ISBN: 9780195151978
Published online May 2008 | e-ISBN: 9780199870387 | DOI:
Fiordiligi: A Woman of Feeling

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This chapter considers Fiordiligi's conflicted status as a sentimental heroine. She is a woman of feeling whose affectionate sensibility and natural sympathy for the suffering of others makes her vulnerable to men, placing her virtue “in distress”, but she is also a woman whose moral constancy is eventually overcome by the immediacy of her feelings for another. Fiordiligi's struggle brings into question one of the central tenets of the sentimental culture: that feeling makes its own virtue. Several moments crucial to this characterization are treated, including the trio “È la fede delle femmine”, the sisters' first duet No. 4, the arias “Come scoglio” and “Per pietà”, and the duet with Ferrando “Fra gli amplessi”. The climactic recognition scenes in which feeling triumphs over constancy cannot be easily reconciled with the dénouement that restores both sisters to their original partners.

Keywords: Così fan tutte; sentimental heroine; virtue in distress; sensibility; constancy; parody

Chapter.  14415 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Opera

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