Chapter

Survival Class

Kristi Brown-Montesano

in Understanding the Women of Mozart's Operas

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 2007 | ISBN: 9780520248021
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520932968 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520248021.003.0010
Survival Class

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In many ways, Despina is the typical maidservant of buffa convention: shrewd, flippant, sensual, and opportunistic. In the context of Mozart's operas, however, she stands apart from her much-admired predecessors Susanna and Blonde. In the absence of genuine female friendship and esteem, Despina's cleverness is easily yoked to a man with money in his pocket. However, her self-professed weakness for gold blinds her to Don Alfonso's ulterior motives, leading her and the sisters into his net of humiliation. At the end of the opera, Despina expresses embarrassment at having been fooled by the men; but, in the same breath, she promises to even the score by bamboozling many herself.

Keywords: opera buffa; Mozart's operas; Don Alfonso; Despina

Chapter.  6882 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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