The Marriage of Figaro is one of Mozart's greatest operas. It's hilarious, complicated, and moving, all at the same time, and you'll find yourself laughing and tearing up throughout.
One of the most interesting characters in The Marriage of Figaro is the Countess, a woman who has been cheated on by her husband countless times. This aria, "Porgi, amor," is her introduction to the audience. It's usually staged with her lying in bed, morose and depressed that her love is being taken for granted. Here's the translation of the aria:
O Love, give me some remedy
For my sorrow, for my sighs!
Either give me back my darling
Or at least let me die.
That's the whole thing! She expresses her deep sadness in just those four short lines. How does that work? Mozart fills in all the gaps for us. When she asks to die, he moves the vocal line up in stepwise motion until it sounds like a cry for help. She is in pain, and we as the audience are given the opportunity to understand her motivation before she cooks up her plan.
Because that's what she does! She and her servants work together to trick the Count into seducing her while he thinks she's another woman. Then, when he realizes his mistake, she hopes he'll recognize how unfair he has been.
So what's the lesson? What do we take from this?
First, feel your emotions. When something bad happens to you, let yourself grieve and mourn. It's okay to feel bad when you're heart is broken.
But then be proactive. Figure out what your next steps are, what you're looking for, and how you want to proceed. Then make it happen. I do want to clarify that I'm not trying to tell you that if you're partner cheats on you, you should just take action and try to fix everything. I'm looking at this aria from a modern-day perspective. And what I am trying to say is when you're dealing with heartbreak, take action. Learn from the Countess - get your butt moving and make a plan of attack for whatever it is that comes next.
What do you think the meaning of this aria is? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!
Hey! I'm Abby, the creator of Classically Abby, a commentary, opera, beauty, and lifestyle brand dedicated to looking at the world from a classic perspective. I'm the first Conservative Influencer and I'm an opera singer with three degrees in performance!