(after Via Resti Servita)
Now what would opera be without a good ol’-fashioned catfight? For better or worse, the catfight is such a stock and trade of opera that I’m not sure this catfight even would make most opera lovers’ lists of the Top Five.
It’s amazing how the sweetness of Mozart’s music can disguise such nastiness, it’s almost as though the music is lying to us. But Mozart’s music never lies, it just spins the truth.
(Count chases Cherubino through the audience, who then hides on the stage.)
This character was just chased onstage because the Count discovered him in a compromising situation with the gardner’s daughter. In the time that elapses between the singing, he will have snatched a ribbon out of Susanna’s hand because he was told it belonged to the Countess, and he therefore insists on keeping it forever. He is the third image of ourselves whom we’ll meet. If Figaro and Susanna are us, and if Bartolo and Marcellina are our future selves, then Cherubino is who we were.
(Pianist plays opening to Piano Concerto no. 9 "Jeunhomme")
Like all of us when we were teenagers, he’s as innocent to life and love as the morning. Yet since he’s like all teenagers, there’s a wild animal lurking inside him. The music Mozart creates for Cherubino is perhaps of a spirituality that is unmatched even in this opera, and yet what Cherubino sings contains unmistakable references to wet dreams, masturbation, and in the dialogue we had to cut, there’s even an allusion to fantasizing about an orgy. Not for no reason is this aria the music that was employed in The Godfather while Sonny Corleone screwed Connie’s Maid of Honor. Cherubino is still too young to know that his thoughts are filthy beyond belief. When you hear Cherubino, you remember who you were when love was new and before it ever disappointed you.