Mozart and the Classical Era
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) is one of the greatest composers in the history of Western music, and “the music Christ,” as Tchaikovsky called him. He created more than six hundred works in different genres: symphonies, piano concertos, violin sonatas, operas, and many other pieces. His music, being quintessence of the classic music, combined a graceful melody with excellent contrapuntal skills.
One of his favorite genres was opera, mostly written in Italian. He made some improvements such as more usage of the orchestra and ensembles in opera seria. His opera buffa played a great role because this genre was the reflection of the Enlightenment ideas, and it was more vivid than opera seria. That can be seen in The Marriage of Figaro (1786) which portrayed a servant to be cleverer than masters. Also, he created German singspiel operas. Their common number is over eighteen. Mozart used the power of music to show people’s emotions and feelings; he revealed the human soul through the music. Due to Mozart’s opera, the characters become more true-life, full of human and complex emotions. The usage of accent and speech inflections, tempo and rhythm as well as distinguished melody allowed him to describe the human qualities.
The libretto for The Marriage of Figaro that had Beaumarchais’ story as source was written by Lorenzo Da Ponte. The lower classes become the main heroes; and the story is a reflection of class revolt against aristocracy when Figaro and Susanna should do all their best to avoid Count lascivious intensions. Aristocracy is showed as lubricious and unstable in The Marriage of Figaro. The female characters reveal different sides of woman nature and feelings in various situations. Intricacies and chain of misunderstandings that clarify in the end, every dramatic moment, which gave vitality to the opera, are emphasized by using different means such as changes of tempo and rhythm. In general, his music in this opera reflects search for universal truth, justice, and freedom.