Mozart &
Material Culture


Recitative and rondo soprano ‘Mia Speranza adorate—Ah, non sai, qual pena’ for soprano, two violins, two violas, basso and oboe. Composed for Aloysia Lange and dated 8 January 1783. Mozart’s inscription on the autograph, now at the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, reads: ‘per la Sigra Lange. Recitativo con Rondo. Di Wolfgango Amadeo Mozart in Vienna li 8 di gennaio 1783.’ The text derives from Pasquale Anfossi’s Zemira, act II, scene 5, first given at S. Benedetto, Venice, during the 1782/3 carnival season:

Mia speranza adorata! My adored hope!
Ah! troppo è a noi l’ira del ciel funesta; Ah! the wrath of heaven is too dire to us!
L’ultima volta è questa, This is the last time
Ch’io ti stringo al mio seno. that I shall hold you to my breast!
Anima mia, Io più non ti vedrò. My soul, I shall see you no more.
Deh, tu l’assisti, tu per me la consola. You there, help her, console her for me.
Addio, Zemira, Ricordati di me! Farewell, Zemira, remember me!
Senti . . . che vedo? . . . Hear me… what’s this? . . .
Tu piangi, o mio tesoro! You are weeping, my darling!
Oh, quanto accresce quel pianto il mio martir! Oh, how those tears increase my suffering!
Chi prova mai Stato peggior del mio Who ever found himself in worse straits than I?
Addio per sempre, amata sposa, addio! Farewell for ever, for ever, dear wife, farewell!
Ah non sai qual pena sia Il doverti, Ah! You do not know what anguish it is
oh Dio! lasciar! oh, God! To have to leave you!
Ma quel pianto, anima mia But those tears, my dearest,
Fa più grave il mio penar. make my suffering harder.
Deh, mi lascia, oh fier momento! If only the terrible moment would pass!
Cara sposa, ah, ch’io mi sento Dear wife! Ah, but I feel
Per l’affanno il cor mancar! my heart fail me with grief.
A quai barbare vicende What a barbarous torment
Mi serbaste, avversi Dei, you have prepared me for, hostile gods!
Dite voi, se i casi miei Tell me, if my circumstances
Non son degni di pietà. are unworthy of pity.

416 autograph berlin.jpeg

W. A. Mozart, ‘Mia Speranza adorate—Ah, non sai, qual pena’ K416, first page of the autograph score (Berlin, Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin]

Mozart mentions K416 in a letter to his father of 8 January 1783: ‘. . . I have to finish a rondo this evening for my sister-in-law Lange, which she is to sing on Saturday [11 January] at a big concert in the Mehlgrube.’ Lange also sang the aria at Mozart’s 23 March 1783 Burgtheater concert.