Saturday, September 11, 2010

Queen of the Night

It's hard to leave Bergman's Magic Flute without talking about the Queen of the Night aria, so here it is... while I still can get to it easily...

In act 2 of Mozart's Magic Flute, a particularly demanding aria, the Queen of the Night's "Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen" ("The vengeance of Hell boils in my heart") reaches a high F6 note which is rarely found in opera. Mozart wrote this with his sister-in-law Josepha Hofer in mind, who premiered the role of the Queen of the Night and apparently she had no problem to reach the high notes. Guinness lists the highest demanding note in the classical repertoire as G6 (and Mozart does get there in his 'Popoli di Tessaglia'.) The Queen of the Night aria only gets to F6 at 1,397 Hz (about 88 Hz lower than G6.)

This movie is in Swedish and I did not bother with the subtitle. But if you must, here is what the Queen of the Night said in her aria, addressing her daughter princess Pamina, ordering her to kill her Dad Sarastro (Wow! This is so melodramatic:)

"Revenge and hate are raging in my bosom, with desperation, I am torn apart. You now must kill Sarastro to avenge me. Yes, kill him to avenge me or be disowned forever in my heart. Disowned by me forever you shall be....

You shall be disowned by me. Forever you shall be disowned by me.

Second verse...

You shall be plagued forever, cursed and renounced forever. I ruthlessly shall sever every bond between us both. I'll curse you forever. I shall sever every bond between us both. If by your hand Sarastro does not perish. God of vengeance, hear a mother's oath."
Queen of the Night

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