About this work
This aria was written in 1783 as an insertion aria for Il curioso indiscreto,
an opera by Anfossi, along with No, che non sei capace and Per pieta
The aria is one of Mozart's most delicate and effective, especially in its
stunning use of the voice in conjunction with various instruments. The very
delicate orchestral introduction sets the tone of the piece, and the various
obbligatos with the voice and instruments can be stunning. It seems quite
likely that the opera composers of the Romantic era who used similar devices
(e.g. Lucia's Mad Scene in Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor) had been
influenced by this aria.
Clorinda, who is in love with the Count, who is promised to Emilia, sings
that she wishes she could explain to him why she appears not to return his
love. In the fast-paced second part of the aria, she urges him to leave
her, telling him to go to Emilia. The whole piece is quite moving as well
as being lovely, and an excellent display piece for vocal agility and grace.