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Despina


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(Mozart: Così fan tutte). Sop. Maid to Fiordiligi and Dorabella. Is bribed by Alfonso to help him prove to their fiancés, Guglielmo and Ferrando, that the sisters can be unfaithful. When the two ‘Albanians’ (Guglielmo and Ferrando in disguise) pretend to take poison to gain the sisters’ pity, the Dr Mesmer who ‘cures’ them with a magnet is the disguised Despina. And when the girls decide to marry these Albanian lovers, Despina, disguised as the notary Beccavivi, provides the marriage contract which they all sign. Arias: In uomini, in soldati (‘In men, in soldiers’); Una donna a quindici anni (‘A woman who's reached the age of 15’). Although designated in the score as a soprano, this role is often sung by mezzos. Among notable interpreters (sop./mez.) are Elisabeth Schumann, Roberta Peters, Emmy Loose, Graziella Sciutti, Hanni Steffek, Lucia Popp, Nan Merriman, Ileana Cotrubas, Reri Grist, Teresa Stratas, Marie McLaughlin, Lillian Watson, Ann Murray, and Cecilia Bartoli. Created (1790) by Dorothea Bussani (whose husband created Don Alfonso).

Subjects: Opera.


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