MUS-M 502: Mozart Operas, Fall 2022

Indiana University Jacobs School of Music

Daniel R. Melamed       dmelamed (at)


Tue    23 Aug    Introduction
Thu    25 Aug    Die Entführung aus dem Serail:  Libretto, genesis, quartet

Tue   30 Aug     Die Entführung aus dem Serail: Turkish music
Thu      1 Sep    Die Entführung aus dem Serail: Arias


Tue      6 Sep     Die Entführung aus dem Serail: Film

Thu      8 Sep    A. Salieri, Der Rauchfangkehrer

Tue    13 Sep    Le nozze di Figaro: Libretto/versification
Thu    15 Sep    Le nozze di Figaro: Arias/characters/singers             First paper due


           16, 17, 23, 24 September  IU Opera Theater: Don Giovanni 


Tue    20 Sep    Le nozze di Figaro: Arias (cont.)
Thu    22 Sep    Le nozze di Figaro: Analysis (Nos. 7 and 18)


Tue    27 Sep    Le nozze di Figaro: Finales        
Thu    29 Sep    Le nozze di Figaro: Sources/genesis/variants


Tue      4 Oct    Le nozze di Figaro: Film                                             Rewrite of first paper due

Thu      6 Oct    V. Martin y Soler, Una cosa rara  


Tue    11 Oct    G. Gazzaniga, Don Giovanni
Thu    13 Oct
    Don Giovanni: Genesis/type     


Tue    18 Oct    Don Giovanni: Arias      
Thu    20 Oct
   Don Giovanni: Arias (cont.)



Tue    25 Oct    Don Giovanni: Topics 
Thu    27 Oct    Don Giovanni: Versions

Tue     1 Nov    Don Giovanni:  Film
Thu     3 Nov    Così fan tutte: Topics 

Tue      8 Nov   Der Stein der Weisen: Introduction                         Second paper due  
Thu    10 Nov   Der Stein der Weisen: Ensembles and finales

Tue   15 Nov    Die Zauberflöte: Overview, arias
Thu   17 Nov    Die Zauberflöte: The problem of analysis


Tue   29 Nov    Die Zauberflöte: Finales                                                      
Thu     1 Dec    Die Zauberflöte on the stage                                                             

Tue     6 Dec    Die Zauberflöte: Film                                                Third paper due
Thu     8 Dec    Die Zauberflöte: Meaning


Instructor: Prof. Daniel R. Melamed, dmelamed (AT)
Office: M325C. Office hours by appointment (e-mail to arrange)
Course Web page:  or

Meetings. Tuesday and Thursday, 9.45-11.00 AM.

Aims and methods: We will examine several of Mozart's mature operas paired with related works by other composers. Our focus will be on textual and musical analysis, and on the conventions of drama, text, and music behind Mozart's works.

This is largely an analysis course. We will spend much of our time in class and most of our time in the paper assignments on the close textual and musical analysis of Mozart's operas.

Prerequisites. Proficiency requirements in music history (M501) and written music theory (T508).

Requirements. Reading, listening, score study; class attendance and participation; three short analytical papers.

Materials and assignments. Scores, recordings, and readings are online. Daily assignments are on the course Web page; please check each time for changes and revisions. Note that many resources reside on Canvas but it is not necessary to log on there--everything is linked from the course page. Please have texts and diagrams available in class. Questions in the assignments are for study; you do not need to write them up.

Attendance. Every student is expected at each class meeting; exceptions are only for illness or personal emergency. Please inform the instructor in advance if you are forced to miss a class. You should come equipped with materials (scores, posted handouts) and fully prepared to take part in discussions. There's no point in being in the course otherwise.

Grading. The course grade will be based on the written assignments and on active, frequent and well-informed class participation.


Written assignments: A—carefully prepared, edited, and proofread; substantively insightful.
                                  B—fundamentally appropriate but with problems in presentation or substance.
                                  C—poor presentation or substance

Class participation:    A—frequent, insightful, respectful of others
                                   B—insightful but less frequent
                                   C—infrequent, poorly prepared

Disability and Religious Observance. These will be accommodated according to University guidelines ( and Please speak with the instructor in advance of your need.

Academic conduct. You may consult and collaborate with classmates in preparing daily assignments. You may discuss paper topics and analyses with others, but all written work must be entirely your own. Every use of the work of others must be fully documented. If you violate the standards of academic conduct you will fail the course.

Guidelines for writing analytical papers




Mozart's stage works
Die Entführung aus dem Serail, No. 21



Die Entführung aus dem Serail


Original libretto

Libretto (set numbers in proper verse forms--modern transcription with selective translations)

Libretto with translation





Additional resources:


NMA: Score  Critical report

Libretto 1781 (Bretzner)


Recordings:  Harnoncourt    Gardiner    Jacobs    [and many others on MCO and Naxos]


Die Entführung aus dem Serail:  Libretto, genesis, quartet

  1. Read the following as an introduction to the background and genesis of Die Entführung aus dem Serail:  

    Thomas Bauman. Die Entführung aus dem Serail. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987. Chapter 1 and chapter 2.

    Thomas Bauman, "Coming of Age in Vienna." In Daniel Heartz, Mozart's Operas. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990. Pp. 64-87.

  2. Read the libretto carefully. What material is presented in musical numbers, and what in spoken dialogue? Where are important plot elements related? What different kinds of characters are there in the drama, and what are their dramatic functions? How does the text in musical numbers differ from that in spoken dialogue?

    Bretzner and Stephanie compared

  3. Listen to the opera, and make yourself a 1-page outline of the dramatic scenes and musical numbers, listing the movement type (aria, quartet, romance, etc.) and the character(s) involved. Add the keys of the various numbers to your outline. NB There is one movement missing from the MW/Dover score, available here (from the NMA).
  4. Study in detail the text and music of No. 16, the quartet that ends Act II. In your preparation, make a detailed diagram of the structure of the piece and of its dramatic, harmonic, and thematic plan. What dramatic function does the quartet serve? What goes on during it? What issues in the drama are emphasized? What units does it divide into? What is the larger musical structure of the quartet? What determines and articulates this structure? How closely related are the dramatic and musical structures? What features of the number can you attribute to musical considerations? Dramatic considerations? Poetic requirements? How do individual characters keep their identities in the ensemble? When are their identities sacrificed? Why? Where does Mozart take advantage of opera's ability to present more than one thought, emotion, or reaction at once? How does he do so? How does he keep them all intelligible?

    Outline of No. 16

Die Entführung aus dem Serail: Turkish music

  1. Read the following on Turkish topics and musical style:

Daniel Wilson. "Turks on the eighteenth-century operatic stage and european political, military, and cultural history." Eighteenth-Century Life 9.2 (1985): 79-92.

Thomas Bauman. Die Entführung aus dem Serail. Chapter 3 and chapter 5, pp. 62-71. 

  1. Identify the Turkish numbers in Die Entführung aus dem Serail. In what dramatic situations does Mozart use the style? For which characters? What features of orchestration distinguish the style? Of melody? Of harmony? Of texture?
  2. Listen to the Turkish sections in the pieces listed below. What musical features do they share with the numbers in Die Entführung aus dem Serail? What meaning does the style carry in these pieces? Is that meaning important in the opera?

Mozart, Violin Concerto K.219, mvt. 3
Mozart, Piano Sonata K.331/300i, mvt. 3
Beethoven, Symphony No. 9, mvt 4 [c. 8:12]

  1. How Turkish is Die Entführung aus dem Serail? How much of its plot, cast, staging, and music depend on Orientalisms? Most modern audiences do not know what Turkish style meant in the late 18th century. Does that matter?


Die Entführung aus dem Serail: Arias

  1. Read the following on arias in Die Entführung aus dem Serail:

            Thomas Bauman, Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Chapter 5, pp. 75-82.
  2. Examine the text of each aria in the opera. What is the poetic organization of each? Are the aria texts for each character distinctive?
  3. Outline the musical layout of each aria: text repetition (at the level of sections and verses, not individual words and phrases), tonal plan, etc. What aria types can you identify? What distinguishes the types? Do they agree with Baumann's?
  4. What emerges when you look at the arias (and types ) associated with particular characters? How closely connected are characters and certain aria types? Why? With what effect?
  5. Where are there recitatives connected with the arias? What kind of texts to they have? Whose decision was it to have recits in these places? Which characters sing recits? Why?
  6. Where is there evidence that Mozart tampered with or rearranged aria texts?
  7. How do you account for "Martern aller Arten?" Why is this piece in the opera? What problems does it present? As a director, what would you do with the opening ritornello?

Arias by type
Arias by character
Aria diagrams

Die Entführung aus dem Serail: Film

Nederlandse Oper, 2008. [online] (most reliable with a VPN connection, or try going through IUCAT)

Alternative link if the one above doesn't work fully (requires a VPN connection off campus): online.

Come prepared to discuss this performance of the opera in light of the topics we have discussed. Which issues are important to this production? Which are played down or ignored? Do the costumes, staging, and acting serve the libretto and music well? How is the Turkish topic handled?

A. Salieri, Der Rauchfangkehrer

Score [in the composer's hand; facsimile M1500.S19 R2]
Original libretto
Libretto transcription
Synopsis from New Grove (J. Rice)
Arias by character 
Original cast 


Complete, in English: Pinchgut Opera

Overture (Thomas Fey)
Aria "Wenn dem Adler das Gefieder" (Patrice Michaels)
Recit/Aria "Basta vincesti / Ah, non lasciarmi" (Diana Damrau)

Scores: No. 11    No. 29         Texts and translations

A. Salieri, Der Rauchfangkehrer

  1. Please read as background

    John A. Rice. Antonio Salieri and Viennese Opera. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998. Pp. 295-306.

    Thomas Bauman. Introduction to Antonio Salieri. Der Rauchfangkehrer. New York: Garland, 1986.

  2. Examine the list of characters and their musical numbers. What types (characters and arias) can you identify? How do they relate to those in Die Entführung? What sorts of aria does each character sing?
  3. From your reading and study of the libretto, what is the stance of this piece on the problem of German vs. Italian opera? How does this fit into the history of the issue at the Vienna court?

Le nozze di Figaro


Libretto Vienna 1786

Libretto (set numbers in proper verse forms, modern transcription)

Libretto with translation

MW score   pdf on Canvas    IU online copy   

NMA: Score  Critical report

Recordings:         Böhm    Jacobs    Östman




Le nozze di Figaro: Libretto/versification

  1. Read the libretto carefully. From it and your score, make a table of dramatic scenes, settings, and musical numbers. What is the dramatic and musical organization of the whole opera? Of each act?

  2. Read the following on Italian versification in general, and on Le nozze di Figaro in particular:

    Robert Anthony Moreen. "Integration of text forms and musical forms in Verdi's early operas." Ph.D. diss. Princeton, 1975. Pp. 9-22.

    Tim Carter. "Verse and Music in Le nozze di Figaro." In W. A. Mozart. Le nozze di Figaro. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987. Pp. 75-87.
  3. Analyze the libretto of Le nozze di Figaro from the point of view of prosody. Can you identify the verse forms (line lengths, number of stanzas) of each of the numbers? What patterns do you find? [This might be easier after our class on this topic.]

Please print and bring to class this summary of the principles of Italian versification

On the background and genesis of Le nozze di Figaro you can optionally read:

Daniel Heartz. "From Beaumarchais to Da Ponte: The Metamorphosis of Figaro." In Mozart's Operas. Chapter 6.
Daniel Heartz. "Setting the Stage for Figaro." In Mozart's Operas. Chapter 7.
Daniel Heartz. "Constructing Le nozze di Figaro." In Mozart's Operas. Chapter 8.

Le nozze di Figaro: Arias/characters/singers


We will look at arias from Figaro, drawing on tools we have developed--poetic analysis, character type, aria types and organization. You can prepare by examining the arias from the work along the lines we have been discussing.


Arias by character

Le nozze di Figaro: Analysis (Nos. 7 and 18)             

  1. Study carefully the text and music of Nos. 7 and 18. Make a detailed outline of each.

  2. Then read the following analyses:

            Tim Carter. "Opera buffa and the Classical Style: The Act I trio." In W. A. Mozart. Le nozze di Figaro. Pp. 88-104. [on No. 7]

    Charles Rosen. The Classical style: Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven. Pp. 288-296. [on No.  18]

  3. What musical and dramatic questions do these analyses answer? What problems remain? How convincing do you find the analyses? What premises about musical form underlie them? What other ways are there to read these numbers?


Le nozze di Figaro: Finales

  1. Read the following for ideas about analyzing opera buffa finales:

John Platoff. "Musical and Dramatic Structure in the Opera Buffa Finale."  Journal of Musicology 7 (1989): 191-230.

  1. Read this famous statement by Lorenzo Da Ponte on the construction of finales.
  2. Study the text and music of No. 15, the Act II finale. Make an outline that reflects dramatic, musical, and poetic structure. (On the prosody, you might want to compare your results with Table 3, p. 86, in Carter.) To what extent do Da Ponte's text and Mozart's setting of this finale reflect the ideas set out by Da Ponte?
  3. Read the following on the Act II finale:

John Platoff. "Tonal organization in 'buffo' finales and the Act II finale of 'Le Nozze di Figaro.'" Music and Letters 72 (1991): 387-403.

Do you believe in the traditional harmonic analysis of this finale? Why or why not? Why is it so appealing?

Outline of No. 15


Le nozze di Figaro: Film version


Gardiner, Théâtre du Châtelet     DVD 5464741


Come prepared to discuss this performance of the opera in light of the topics we have discussed.

Le nozze di Figaro: Sources/genesis/variants     

  1. Study the following two replacement arias by Mozart for a 1789 production, composed for Adriana del Bene:

        "Un moto di gioia" K. 579 [replaces No. 12 "Venite, inginocchiatevi]  Score (NMA)    Recording: Sylvia McNair
        "Al desio, di chi t'adora" K 577 [replaces No. 27 "Deh vieni"]             Score (NMA)    Recording: Cecilia Bartoli

    Texts of K. 577 and K. 599

  2. Read this essay on the substitution.

    Roger Parker. "Ersatz Ditties: Adriana Ferrarese’s Susanna." In Remaking the song: operatic visions and revisions from Handel to Berio. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006. Pp. 42-66.  ML1700 .P32

    Where do you stand?

  3. Read the following essays on the order of numbers in Act III:

    Robert Moberly and Christopher Raeburn. "Mozart's 'Figaro': The Plan of Act III.Music & Letters 46 (1965): 134-136.

    Alan Tyson. "Le nozze di Figaro: Lessons from the Autograph Score." Musical Times 122 (1981): 456-461.

    What kind of argument does each writer make? What kinds of evidence are used to support it? What analytical and interpretive evidence can be brought to bear on the problem? Who is right? Why? Does it matter? What would you do as the director of this opera?

    John Eliot Gardiner on the ordering of the Chatelet production (from liner notes)

V. Martin y Soler, Una cosa rara


Text and translation

Recording:  J. Savall


Scores are available in the library [M1500.M368 C7 I5, M1503 .M377 C67, and M1500.M368 C7], but I suggest you prepare from the libretto and recording.


Synopsis (New Grove, by D. Link)

Outline of musical numbers

Arias by character

Original cast


V. Martin y Soler: Una cosa rara


1. For introduction and orientation, please read the following review essay:

John Platoff. "A new history for Martín's Una cosa rara." Journal of Musicology 12 (1994): 85-115.

2. Study the libretto of the opera, and listen to the recording. Come prepared to discuss the opera from some of the perspectives we have taken of Mozart's operas: the cast, character types, aria types and distribution, construction of the finales, etc.



Examine these three pairs of comparable numbers from the two operas. [Questions courtesy of Prof. John Platoff]

i. The Lilla/Lubino love duet, “Pace, caro mio sposo” and the Figaro/Susanna duet in the Act 4 finale, “Pace, pace, mio dolce tesoro”

The Lilla/Lubino duet was an enormously successful number, almost bafflingly so (read the discussion in Platoff, “A new history”). Compare it to a similar "kiss and make up" piece for Susanna and Figaro. Several features of the two duets are similar, while other differences will also be noticeable. Do these seem like basically equivalent pieces? Do they serve the same dramatic purposes in their respective operas? Why or why not? What features might make either duet more interesting or appealing to an audience?

ii. Lilla's "Dolce me parve un dì" and Susanna’s "Deh vieni non tardar"

These pieces are similar in that both are sung by the female romantic lead (in both cases played by Nancy Storace) and both are soliloquies (though as we know, Susanna is aware that Figaro is listening to her). How are the two numbers stylistically similar? What important differences do you note? Which one do you think would have been more effective or pleasing to the Viennese audience, and why? (Again, be sure to read the discussion of these two pieces in Platoff, “A new history”. Do you agree with the conclusions offered there? Why or why not?)

iii. Lubino's “Vo’ dall’infami viscere” and Figaro's "Aprite un pò quegl’occhi"

These are both examples of comic rage arias, which are quite common in opera buffa. As with the other pairs, what similarities and differences do you notice? Platoff, “A new history,” pp. 105-06, points out a brief melodic similarity in these two pieces. Do you think it is significant or coincidental, and why? Might this be an example of “influence” or of “quotation”? What sorts of evidence might be used in trying to answer this question?

Texts and translations of the three numbers from Una cosa rara.

G. Gazzaniga, Don Giovanni



Libretto in proper verse forms




Recording: Weil [Includes only the set numbers, not the simple recitative]   Handt


Film version: Gazzaniga, Don Giovanni Tenorio  [Miroslav Kopp, Andrea Bolton, et al.] [DVD .G2916 A.1-3]



Arias by character


G. Gazzaniga, Don Giovanni


1. Study the libretto and sort out the various characters. From whose perspective is this famous story told? With what emphasis (serious/tragic, comic)?

2. Listen to the set numbers.. How are arias distributed? What kinds are they? What relative emphasis is given to serious characters and styles vs. comic?

3. Examine the Introduzione No. 1. How does the music support the balance of the serious and the comic here?

4. Study the Finale No. 14. To what extent does it draw on techniques we have seen in other finales? How is the serious/comic balance handled?


5. Watch the video recording on reserve; it will be essential to our discussion, especially as we try to figure out what kind of piece this is.


Don Giovanni


Original libretto--Prague
Original libretto--Vienna
Text and translation
Text of set numbers in proper verse forms

Recordings:    Östman      Jacobs    Solti    Gardiner    Böhm



Arias by character


Don Giovanni: Genesis/type


1. On the genesis and musical type of Don Giovanni please read

Daniel Heartz. "Goldoni, Don Giovanni, and the dramma giocoso." In Mozart's Operas. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990. Pp. 194-205.

2. Study the libretto, and ask yourself the same questions about the balance of the serious and the comic as for the Gazzaniga setting. What is the balance among characters, within serious scenes, etc.?



3. Examine particularly the text and music of the Introduzione No. 1, focusing on the serious/comic balance. How does it compare to its model by Bertati and Gazzaniga?



Don Giovanni: Arias


1. Please read

John Platoff. "Catalogue arias and the 'catalogue aria.'" In Wolfgang Amade Mozart: Essays on his life and music, edited by Stanley Sadie, 296-311. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996.

Study Mozart and Gazzaniga's settings of the arias in question.

2. Please read

Benjamin Perl. "Mozart in Turkey." Cambridge Opera Journal 12 (2001): 219-35.

Study Don Giovanni's aria and other music, and consider Perl's idea that the character is, in some sense, "Turkish."

3. Examine all the arias by character, drawing on what we have learned about character types, aria types, and singers.



Don Giovanni: Topics

1. For background on the analysis of "topics" in 18th-century music, please read

Leonard Ratner. Classic Music: Expression, Form, and Style. New York: Schirmer Books, 1980. Pp. 1-30.

2. On the application of topical analysis and "rhythmic gesture" to Mozart's operas, please read

Wye Jamison Allanbrook. Rhythmic gesture in Mozart: Le nozze di Figaro & Don Giovanni. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1983. Chapter 1, Chapter 2 and Chapters 7 & 8. [NB: This is long--leave time.]

3. Study the exposition of Mozart's piano sonata K 332/1, analyzed by Allanbrook. Score here.



4. Consider the music of the various characters in Don Giovanni in light of Allanbrook's approach.


Don Giovanni: Versions

1. Examine the numbers added for the 1788 Vienna production of Don Giovanni (the aria No. 10a "Dalla sua pace," the duet no. 21a "Per queste tue manine" and the recit and aria No. 21b "In quali eccesi/Mi tradi." Where are these added, for whom, why, and with what effect on the story, the roles and the musical construction of the piece?


2. On the closing scenes, please read

Michael E. Robinson. "The alternative endings of Mozart's Don Giovanni." In Opera buffa in Mozart's Vienna, edited by Mary Hunter and James Webster, 261-85. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997.

Study the organization of the Act II finale. What role does the final scene play in the overall structure?


How is this work supposed to end? What difference does it make? Does this depend on what kind of piece Don Giovanni is? Does it determine what kind of piece the opera is?

Don Giovanni: Film

[dir. Peter Sellars  Decca (2005)]

Videodisc ADB0702 [Reserve]
VHS M1500.M84 D5423 1991 pt. 1 and pt. 2 [Reserve]
Program notes [from the stage production]

Così fan tutte

Text and translation
  Just the set numbers

Score [online]

Recordings:   Östman    Gardiner

Arias by character

Così fan tutte: Musical and poetic materials

1. For background on the work's genesis, please read

Bruce Alan Brown. W. A. Mozart. Così fan tutte. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995. Chapter 2, chapter 4, chapter 5.

2. For one interpretive perspective of the opera, please read

Edmund J. Goehring. "Despina, Cupid and the Pastoral Mode of 'Così fan tutte.'" Cambridge Opera Journal 7 (1995): 107-33.

Study the numbers that Goehring discusses. What view of the piece emerges?

Der Stein der Weisen

Text and translation
Synopsis (in the introduction to the score)

Score: M2 .R286 v. 76 [in Music Reference]

Recording: Pearlman


Der Stein der Weisen:  Introduction

1. For background, please read the introduction to the score by David Buch. I suggest that for now you skip the section called "Der Stein der Weisen and Die Zauberflöte."



2. Listen to the opera and examine its text. What kinds of musical numbers are there? How do they relate to the types we have been seeing in operas for the Burgtheater? Who are the characters, and how are they defined musically?         

Der Stein der Weisen: Ensembles and finales

Study the two finales and the ensemble numbers. To what extent do models from opera buffa explain what goes on in this work?

Die Zauberflöte

Original libretto
English translation
Texts in verse forms (musical numbers only)

MW score: pdf on Canvas    IU online copy

Recordings:     Östman    Gardiner         


Die Zauberflöte: Overview, arias

1. Read the libretto carefully. What are the points of similarity with Der Stein der Weisen in characters, setting, plot, and other elements?


2. Examine the arias for the various characters. Who are they? What sort of pieces do they sing?

Die Zauberflöte: The problem of analysis

Analytical approaches to Die Zauberflöte are part of a shallow and longstanding tradition. Please read critically the following overview as a (problematic) example:

Erik Smith. "The Music." In W. A. Mozart. Die Zauberflöte, ed. Peter Branscombe, 111-41. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991.

What do you think of this analysis?

Die Zauberflöte: Finales

Study the two finales. Do they behave like Italian opera buffa finales? In what ways? Can we analyze them as wholes, or do we need to examine them a unit at a time?  How does Mozart use musical topics to orient the viewer/listener as scenes change?

Die Zauberflöte: Film

Bergman 1979 DVD 9247011


Come prepared to discuss this performance of the opera in light of the topics we have discussed.

Die Zauberflöte: Meaning

Please read

Thomas Bauman. "At the north gate: instrumental music in Die Zauberflöte." In Daniel Heartz, Mozart's Operas. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990. Pp. 277-97.