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WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART (1756-1791)


MITRIDATE, RE DI PONTO, K.87 (74a)
Libretto by Vittorio Amedeo Cigna-Santi (1725-1785) after Racine

MITRIDATE King of Pontus BARRY BANKS tenor

ASPASIA betrothed to Mitridate MIAH PERSSON soprano

SIFARE Mitridate’s younger son SOPHIE BEVAN soprano

FARNACE Mitridate’s elder son LAWRENCE ZAZZO countertenor

ISMENE daughter of the King of Parthia KLARA EK soprano

MARZIO a Roman tribune ROBERT MURRAY tenor

ARBATE governor of Nymphaea ANNA DEVIN soprano

THE ORCHESTRA OF CLASSICAL OPERA


Leader: Matthew Truscott
Continuo: Steven Devine (harpsichord), Andrew Skidmore (cello),
Cecelia Bruggemeyer (double bass)
Horn solo: Gavin Edwards

IAN PAGE conductor

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MITRIDATE, RE DI PONTO, K. 87 (74A)
CD 1 ACT ONE (70’50)
Ouverture Page
1 Allegro 2’03 30
2 Andante grazioso 1’48 30
3 Presto 1’23 30

ATTO PRIMO
Scena I
4 Recitativo: “Vieni, Signor” (Arbate, Sifare) 1’49 30

Scena II
5 Recitativo: “Se a me s’unisce Arbate” (Sifare, Aspasia) 2’40 32
6 No. 1, Aria: “Al destin, che la minaccia” (Aspasia) 6’04 34

Scena III
7 Recitativo accompagnato: “Qual tumulto nell’alma” (Sifare) 1’06 34
8 No. 2, Aria: “Soffre il mio cor con pace” (Sifare) 7’35 34

Scena IV
9 Recitativo: “Sin a quando, o Regina” (Farnace, Aspasia) 1’22 35

Scena V
10 Recitativo: “Ferma, o germano” (Sifare, Farnace, Aspasia) 0’48 36

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Scena VI Page
11 Recitativo: ”All’ire freno, Principi, olà” (Arbate, Sifare, Farnace) 0’33 37
12 No. 3, Aria: “L’odio nel cor frenate” (Arbate) 3’42 38

Scena VII
13 Recitativo: ”Principe, che facemmo!” (Farnace, Sifare, Aspasia) 0’13 38
14 No. 4, Aria: “Nel sen mi palpita” (Aspasia) 2’22 39

Scena VIII
15 Recitativo: ”Un tale addio, germano” (Farnace, Sifare) 1’10 39
16 No. 5, Aria: ”Parto: Nel gran cimento” (Sifare) 3’57 40

Scena IX
17 Recitativo: ”Eccovi in un momento sconvolti” (Farnace, Marzio) 1’01 40
18 No. 6, Aria: ”Venga pur, minacci e frema” (Farnace) 7’14 41

Scena X
19 No. 7, Marcia: Maestoso 2’45 42
20 No. 8, Cavata: ”Se di lauri il crine adorno” (Mitridate) 4’42 42
21 Recitativo: ”Tu mi revedi, Arbate” (Mitridate, Ismene, Arbate) 0’56 42

Scena XI
22 Recitativo: ”Su la temuta destra” (Sifare, Mitridate, Farnace, Ismene) 2’06 43
23 No. 9, Aria: ”In faccia all’oggetto” (Ismene) 5’45 45

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Scena XII Page
24 Recitativo: ”Teme Ismene a ragion” (Mitridate, Arbate) 2’29 45

Scena XIII
25 Recitativo accompagnato: ”Respira alfin, respira” (Mitridate) 1’51 47
26 No. 10, Aria: “Quel ribelle e quell’ingrato” (Mitridate) 3’10 48

CD 2 ACT TWO (60’59)

ATTO SECONDO
Scena I
1 Recitativo: “Questo è l’amor, Farnace” (Ismene, Farnace) 1’55 50
2 No. 11, Aria: “Va, l’error mio palesa” (Farnace) 2’43 51

Scena II
3 Recitativo: “Perfido, ascolta” (Ismene, Mitridate) 0’54 52

Scena II
4 Recitativo: “Eccomi a’ cenni tuoi” (Aspasia, Mitridate) 2’05 52

Scena IV
5 Recitativo: “(Respiro, oh Dei!)” (Aspasia, Sifare, Mitridate) 0’37 54
6 No. 12, Aria: “Tu che fedel mi sei” (Mitridate) 3’50 55

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Scena V Page
7 Recitativo: “Che dirò? Che ascoltai?” (Sifare, Aspasia) 1’14 55

Scena VI
8 Recitativo: “Alla tua fede il padre, Sifare, applaude” (Arbate) 0’32 56

Scena VII
9 Recitativo: “Oh giorno di dolore!” (Aspasia, Sifare) 1’58 56
10 Recitativo accompagnato: “Non più, Regina” (Sifare, Aspasia) 2’26 58
11 No. 13, Aria: “Lungi da te, mio bene” (Sifare) 7’35 59
[Gavin Edwards, solo horn]

Scena VIII
12 Recitativo accompagnato: ”Grazie ai Numi partì” (Aspasia) 1’28 59
13 No. 14, Aria: “Nel grave tormento” (Aspasia) 4’11 60

Scena IX
14 Recitativo: “Qui, dove la vendetta si prepara” 0’54 60
(Mitridate, Ismene, Arbate)

Scena X
15 Recitativo: “Sedete, o Prenci” (Mitridate, Sifare, Farnace) 2’36 61

Scena XI
16 Recitativo: “Signor, son io” (Marzio, Mitridate, Sifare) 0’48 63

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Scena XII Page
17 Recitativo: “Inclita Ismene” (Mitridate, Ismene) 0’18 64
18 No. 15, Aria: “So quanto a te dispiace” (Ismene) 5’43 65

Scena XIII
19 Recitativo: “Ah, giacchè son tradito” (Farnace) 0’35 65
20 No. 16, Aria: “Son reo; l’error confesso” (Farnace) 2’48 66

Scena XIV
21 Recitativo: “E crederai, Signor” (Sifare, Mitridate, Aspasia) 4’04 66
22 No. 17, Aria: “Già di pietà mi spoglio” (Mitridate) 2’14 70

Scena XV
23 Recitativo: “Sifare, per pietà stringi l’acciaro” (Aspasia, Sifare) 1’22 71
24 Recitativo accompagnato: “Io sposa di quel mostro” (Aspasia, Sifare) 1’38 72
25 No. 18, Duetto: “Se viver non degg’io” (Sifare, Aspasia) 6’21 73

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Scena XII Page CD 3 ACT THREE (45’20)
17 Recitativo: “Inclita Ismene” (Mitridate, Ismene) 0’18 64
18 No. 15, Aria: “So quanto a te dispiace” (Ismene) 5’43 65 ATTO TERZO
Scena I Page
Scena XIII
1 Recitativo: “Pera omai chi m’oltraggia” (Mitridate, Aspasia, Ismene) 1’55 75
19 Recitativo: “Ah, giacchè son tradito” (Farnace) 0’35 65
2 No. 19, Aria: “Tu sai per chi m’accese” (Ismene) 4’33 76
20 No. 16, Aria: “Son reo; l’error confesso” (Farnace) 2’48 66
Scena II
Scena XIV
3 Recitativo: “Re crudel, Re spietato” (Aspasia, Mitridate) 2’02 77
21 Recitativo: “E crederai, Signor” (Sifare, Mitridate, Aspasia) 4’04 66
22 No. 17, Aria: “Già di pietà mi spoglio” (Mitridate) 2’14 70 Scena III
4 Recitativo: “Mio Re, t’affretta” (Arbate, Mitridate) 0’40 78
Scena XV
5 No. 20, Aria: “Vado incontro al fato estremo” (Mitridate) 2’56 79
23 Recitativo: “Sifare, per pietà stringi l’acciaro” (Aspasia, Sifare) 1’22 71
24 Recitativo accompagnato: “Io sposa di quel mostro” (Aspasia, Sifare) 1’38 72 Scena IV
25 No. 18, Duetto: “Se viver non degg’io” (Sifare, Aspasia) 6’21 73 6 Recitativo: “Lagrime intempestive” (Aspasia) 0’29 79
7 Recitativo accompagnato: ”Ah ben ne fui presaga!” (Aspasia) 1’20 79
8 No. 21, Cavatina: “Pallid’ ombre, che scorgete” (Aspasia) 3’54 80
9 Recitativo accompagnato: “Bevasi... Ahimè” (Aspasia) 1’24 80

Scena V
10 Recitativo: “Che fai, Regina?” (Sifare, Aspasia) 1’09 80

Scena VI
11 Recitativo: “Che mi val questa vita” (Sifare) 0’40 82
12 No. 22, Aria: “Se il rigor d’ingrata sorte” (Sifare) 2’42 82
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Scena VII Page
13 Recitativo: “Sorte crudel, stelle inimiche” (Farnace) 0’45 83

Scena VIII
14 Recitativo: “Teco i patti, o Farnace” (Marzio, Farnace) 1’41 83
15 No. 23, Aria: “Se di regnar sei vago” (Marzio) 4’13 85

Scena IX
16 Recitativo accompagnato: “Vadasi... Oh ciel” (Farnace) 1’04 85

17 No. 24, Aria: “Già dagli occhi il velo è tolto” (Farnace) 8’31 86

Scena X
18 Recitativo: “Figlio, amico, non più” (Mitridate, Sifare) 1’30 86

Scena XI
19 Recitativo: “Ah vieni, o dolce dell’amor mio” 1’23 87
(Mitridate, Aspasia, Sifare)

Scena XII
20 Recitativo: “Reo non si chiami, o Sire” (Ismene, Mitridate) 1’23 88
21 No. 25, Coro: “Non si ceda al Campidoglio” 0’53 89
(Aspasia, Sifare, Farnace, Ismene, Arbate)

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Scena VII Page CD 4 THE ORIGINAL VERSIONS (47’09)
13 Recitativo: “Sorte crudel, stelle inimiche” (Farnace) 0’45 83 Page
1 No. 1, Aria: ”Al destin che la minaccia” (Aspasia) 8’06 34
Scena VIII
14 Recitativo: “Teco i patti, o Farnace” (Marzio, Farnace) 1’41 83 2 No. 8, Cavata: ”Se di lauri il crine adorno” (Mitridate) 3’55 42
15 No. 23, Aria: “Se di regnar sei vago” (Marzio) 4’13 85 Completion of original sketch by Stanley Sadie/Ian Page)

Scena IX 3 No. 9, Aria: ”In faccia all’oggetto” (Ismene) 4’36 45


16 Recitativo accompagnato: “Vadasi... Oh ciel” (Farnace) 1’04 85
4 No. 13, Aria: “Lungi da te, mio bene” (Sifare) 9’38 59
17 No. 24, Aria: “Già dagli occhi il velo è tolto” (Farnace) 8’31 86
5 No. 14, Aria: “Nel grave tormento” (Aspasia) 5’14 60
Scena X Completion by Stanley Sadie
18 Recitativo: “Figlio, amico, non più” (Mitridate, Sifare) 1’30 86
6 No. 16, Aria: “Son reo; l’error confesso” (Farnace) 5’04 66
Scena XI
7 No. 18, Duetto: “Se viver non degg’io” (Sifare, Aspasia) 7’54 73
19 Recitativo: “Ah vieni, o dolce dell’amor mio” 1’23 87
(Mitridate, Aspasia, Sifare) 8 No. 20, Aria: “Vado incontro al fato estremo” (Mitridate) 2’37 79

Scena XII
20 Recitativo: “Reo non si chiami, o Sire” (Ismene, Mitridate) 1’23 88
21 No. 25, Coro: “Non si ceda al Campidoglio” 0’53 89
(Aspasia, Sifare, Farnace, Ismene, Arbate)

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The Orchestra of Classical Opera
Violin 1 Double bass
Matthew Truscott (leader) Cecelia Bruggemeyer (continuo)
Colin Scobie Timothy Amherst
Andrew Roberts Kate Aldridge
Claire Sansom Flute
Julia Kuhn Katy Bircher
George Clifford Georgia Browne
Dan Edgar
Oboe
Leonie Curtin
Mark Baigent
Violin 2 Rachel Chaplin
Jill Samuel
Bassoon
William Thorp
Philip Turbett
Marianna Szucs
Sally Jackson
Nia Lewis
Camilla Scarlett Horn
Naomi Burrell Gavin Edwards
Davina Clarke Joe Walters
Claire Penkey
Viola
David Bentley
Alfonso Leal del Ojo
Simone Jandl Trumpet
Oliver Wilson Simon Debruslais
Marina Ascherson Katie Hodges
Cello Timpani
Andrew Skidmore (continuo) Ben Hoffnung
Timothy Smedley Harpsichord
Sally Woods Steven Devine (continuo)
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Viva il Maestrino! – an introduction to Mitridate
Mitridate, re di Ponto was premièred at the Teatro Regio Ducale in Milan on 26 December
1770. It marked the culmination of Mozart’s first trip to Italy, and represented the first
great operatic success for a composer still a month short of his fifteenth birthday. The
work received an initial run of twenty-two performances – sure proof of its success – and
news quickly spread of the child’s astonishing work.

But the preparations for the opera had been far from smooth. The idea of Milan’s opera
season opening with a work by a fourteen-year-old German attracted widespread
suspicion – even more on account of his nationality, it seems, than his age – and many
of the original cast insisted that Mozart rewrite their arias to their own specifications
and wishes. He was too young and inexperienced to stand his ground (a decade later
he was quite able to defend himself against similar intrigues when writing Idomeneo),
and so he complied with their demands. Mozart’s eight jettisoned numbers (seven arias
and a duet) have all survived, though, and this is the first recording of Mitridate to include
all of these original settings as well as the final versions.

Background
Between December 1769 and January 1773 Mozart travelled to Italy three times. On
each occasion he was accompanied by his father Leopold, and each visit culminated
in the completion and first performance of a new opera for the Teatro Regio Ducale in
Milan – Mitridate, re di Ponto in 1770, Ascanio in Alba in 1771, and finally Lucio
Silla in 1772. These trips were also of considerable educational importance, for as
well as meeting some of the foremost composers of the day, including Hasse, Piccinni
and Jommelli, Mozart was also able to attend a large number of operas, including
works by such composers as Paisiello, Guglielmi, Valentini and Pugnani.

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After his ‘Grand Tour’ of 1763-6, which incorporated extended stays in Paris and
London, and two visits to Vienna, the second of which saw the composition of La finta
semplice and Bastien und Bastienne, Mozart was already a seasoned traveller; indeed,
during the ten formative years between the ages of seven and seventeen he was to
spend less than three years in total at home in Salzburg. While the second and third
visits to Italy were of relatively short duration, the first trip was an extensive tour lasting
for more than fifteen months, and included triumphant performances in Verona, Mantua,
Milan, Bologna, Florence, Rome and Naples.

Italy was still very much the centre of the operatic world, and a composer’s education
was not considered complete until he had spent time there; Handel, Gluck and Johann
Christian Bach had all studied opera in Italy in their youth, and Archbishop Schrattenbach,
the Mozarts’ employer in Salzburg, had already sent several of his court musicians there
to further their studies, so that they might then be better equipped to increase the quality
of Salzburg’s musical life. Schrattenbach was quick to recognise Mozart’s potential to
enhance the reputation of Salzburg abroad, and in November 1769 he made the
departing father and son an extravagant gift of 600 florins and bestowed on the thirteen-
year-old Wolfgang the title of ‘Konzertmeister’. The post was to be unpaid until such
time as the young composer returned to his duties in Salzburg, but the appointment was
a politic move not only to increase Mozart’s reputation in Italy but also to retain his
loyalty and allegiance to Salzburg.

The commission
Wolfgang and his father arrived in Italy just before Christmas 1769, passing through
Rovereto, Verona, Mantua and Cremona before arriving in Milan on 23 January 1770.
At the time Italy was not a unified nation but a series of separate states, many of which
were under Austrian rule, and although Milan was governed by Empress Maria Theresa’s
son, Archduke Ferdinand, much of the power effectively rested with her viceroy in
Northern Italy, Count Firmian. He was a respected patron of the arts, and as the director
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of the Teatro Regio Ducale, it was he who suggested that the young Wolfgang be invited
to write the opening opera of Milan’s 1770-71 season. To offer such an important
commission to such a young and inexperienced composer was bound to prompt suspicion
and distrust, though, and so Firmian, by way of audition, set up a public concert for the
young prodigy on 12 March; one hundred and fifty nobles were gathered for the
occasion, and Mozart was required to compose three new arias to texts from Metastasio’s
Demofoonte to prove his credentials.

He clearly passed with flying colours, for three days later he and his father left Milan
with the new contract safely secured. Over the next seven months they spent time in
Bologna, where Wolfgang studied composition and counterpoint with the great
pedagogue Padre Martini, in Florence, where Mozart’s father was mesmerised by the
beauty of the city and its surroundings, in Rome, where Wolfgang reportedly wrote out
Allegri’s Miserere from memory after hearing a performance in the Sistine Chapel, and
in Naples, from where they visited Pompeii, which had only started to be excavated
as recently as 1755. Meanwhile Pope Clement XIV made Wolfgang a ‘Knight of the
Golden Order’, a higher rank than that which had previously been awarded to Gluck.

The libretto
Leopold wrote from Rome in June 1770 that Mozart’s new opera for Milan was to be
a setting of Metastasio’s La Nitteti, but a few weeks later, on 27 July, Mozart received
official notification that he was to set Mitridate, re di Ponto, based on a superb tragedy
by Racine. The libretto, adapted by Vittorio Cigna-Santi from an Italian translation of
the original French play, had already been set by the composer Quirino Gasparini for
performance in Turin in 1767, and this provided a degree of security for the authorities
– presumably they had in the back of their minds that if Mozart’s setting proved insufficiently
accomplished they could always replace it with Gasparini’s Mitridate, a perfectly
respectable work which had not been heard before in Milan.

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The title character is based on the real-life King Mithridates VI (c.120-63 BC), also
known as Mithridates Eupator or Mithridates the Great, who was famed for his military
defiance of the Romans (he engaged in three extensive wars against them, lasting for
a total of almost twenty years) and for his cultivation of an antidote to poison. According
to Pliny the Elder’s account he could speak the languages of all the twenty-two nations
that he governed, and his son Pharnaces led a rebellion that caused his eventual demise.
Racine, though, was far less concerned with historical accuracy than the emotional
tensions and conflicts between a father and two sons who all love the same woman.

Cigna-Santi’s adaption removes two minor characters from Racine’s cast, but adds the
roles of Ismene and Marzio. It also introduces Farnace’s final transformation, thereby
ensuring the happy ending that was virtually obligatory for opera seria (Racine’s Pharnaces
had remained unrepentant at the end of the play, fleeing with the defeated Romans).

Composition and first performance


If Leopold Mozart’s letters are to be believed Wolfgang did not start work on Mitridate
until 29 September, when he and his father were in Bologna, and after he returned to
Milan on 18 October he wrote home to his mother: “I cannot write much for my fingers
ache badly from composing no end of recitative.” This reflects the standard procedure
of the time, whereby the composer wrote all of the recitatives, followed by any choruses
and ensembles, before embarking on the arias; these were made to measure, like a
good suit, once the composer had met and started working with the singers.

The role of Mitridate was to be sung by the tenor Guglielmo d’Ettore, who had created
the title role in Gasparini’s setting three years earlier, and that of Aspasia by the acclaimed
soprano Antonia Bernasconi; the roles of Sifare and Farnace, Mitridate’s two sons, were
taken by two castrati, Pietro Benedetti and Giuseppe Cicognani. Ismene and Marzio
were sung by Anna Francesca Varese and Gasparo Bassano respectively, and the
Arbate was a third castrato, Pietro Muschietti (being an opera seria, this was the first
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of Mozart’s stage works to employ castrati). As was the custom of the day, the singers
assembled in Milan gradually (the less well-known singers first, because their time was
less expensive, although Bernasconi was already in Milan and so started working with
Mozart earlier).

The process was not without its trials, however. Understandably excited to have earned
such an important commission, it seems that Mozart had already written several of the
arias before getting together with the cast, and the singers – no doubt wary of his
inexperience and eager to assert their own authority – insisted on various rewrites.
Guglielmo d’Ettore proved particularly troublesome and hard to please – four different
sketches survive for Mitridate’s opening aria, “Se di lauri il crine adorno”, each quite
different from the final version. He seems to have been suffering at the time from severe
vocal limitations, which Mozart’s music needed to conceal or avoid, and indeed he
was to die the following year at a mere thirty-one years of age. He also rejected Mozart’s
setting of Mitridate’s final aria, “Vado incontro al fato estremo”, replacing it with
Gasparini’s version, and the collaboration was clearly not a happy one for the young
composer; Leopold Mozart, when writing to his son several years later, offered him the
following advice: “You must not allow any envious persons to get the better of you or
upset you. It happens everywhere – think only of Italy, of your first opera there, of
d’Ettore”.

But d’Ettore was not the only cast member who proved problematic. An anonymous
enemy, perhaps part of the inevitable faction that believed a German had no place
writing operas for Italy, soon tried to persuade the prima donna Bernasconi to insert
Gasparini’s arias into the new score, and all five of the singers who had more than one
aria required rewrites. Wolfgang seems to have been a model of patience, and
Bernasconi was entirely won over by the music he wrote for her, but as the first performance
approached he and his father continued to fear cries of “troppo tedesco” (“too German”).

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In the event, however, the opera’s première was a major triumph, and a thrilled Leopold
wrote home: “God be praised, the first performance of the opera took place on the
26th and won general applause; and two things that have never happened before in
Milan occurred. Firstly, contrary to all the customs of a first night, an aria of the prima
donna was encored . . . and secondly, after almost all the arias there was extraordinary
applause and cries of ‘Viva il Maestro! Viva il Maestrino!’”.

The music
Throughout his operatic career Mozart displayed an unerring ability to create music of
a scale and ambition commensurate with the occasion for which it was written. The
Teatro Regio Ducale was a large and magnificent venue, and the opening of the opera
season a prestigious social occasion. Despite all the tribulations, the cast was of a
considerably higher quality than any he had previously worked with, as was the libretto,
thanks mainly to the noble beauty and searing intensity of Racine’s original play. The
orchestra too was larger than any he had so far written for – Leopold Mozart specified
fifty-six players for the première of Mitridate – and this is reflected in the breadth and
dynamism of the orchestral writing.

The vocal writing is of course full of the brilliance and virtuosity which was de rigeur for
Milanese audiences, particularly in the opening arias and duet for Aspasia and Sifare,
but the most remarkable and memorable elements of the score are the arias which mark
the emotional peaks of the story, such as Sifare’s poignant “Lungi da te, mio bene”,
Aspasia’s soulful “Pallid’ ombre” and Farnace’s final, redemptive “Già dagli occhi il
velo è tolto”. In these the fourteen-year-old composer already transcends the very models
he is trying to emulate, and taps into a depth and resonance of human experience which
is staggering in one so young.

Ian Page

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The original arias
No other opera by Mozart has as many different versions, sketches, fragments and
variants of the individual numbers as Mitridate. In total, seven arias and a duet survive
in original versions which were jettisoned or adapted before the first performance, and
of these, six survive complete (or, in the case of “Lungi da te”, almost complete). It was
perhaps inevitable that the original cast should have been suspicious of a fourteen-year-
old foreigner who had never before written an opera seria, but their reasons for demanding
these rewrites often seem to reflect practical considerations and, in some cases, their
own vanity rather than any qualitative judgement on the music.

No. 1, “Al destin che la minaccia” (Aspasia)


Mozart’s original setting of this aria is in G major, the key in which the preceding
recitative ends. It successfully combines Aspasia’s high-status dignity and plaintive
vulnerability, but it is perhaps understandable that Antonia Bernasconi – already an
established prima donna who three years earlier had created the title role in Gluck’s
Alceste – might want a more festively virtuosic vehicle for the opening aria of the opera.
By writing the final setting in C major Mozart was able to add a pair of trumpets, which
bring a more regal splendour to the sound-world, and Bernasconi must surely have been
satisfied with the results.

No. 8, “Se di lauri il crine adorno” (Mitridate)


This was the aria that caused Mozart the most problems, mainly due to the cantankerous
demands of the tenor Guglielmo d’Ettore. Four sketches, in three different keys, survive,
of which this F major setting is the most complete. It contains all of the vocal line except
the last couple of bars, the bass line until the end of the ‘B’ section, violin parts for the
four-bar introduction and four short violin cues (of one or two bars’ duration each) between
the vocal phrases.

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From this relatively sparse material the late and much missed Mozart scholar Stanley
Sadie fleshed out an extremely accomplished and idiomatic completion of the aria,
skilfully extending the violins’ triplet figuration from the opening and adding the standard
pairs of oboes and horns to the orchestration. I had the privilege of conducting the first
performance of this completion, and a few years later I incorporated it into a staged
production of the opera. In returning to it for this recording I took the liberty of making
several tiny cosmetic changes, mainly in the accompanying violin figurations and once
or twice in the lapping oboe parts. These changes probably ended up totalling several
dozen in number, but are almost all, I hope and suspect, imperceptible; all of the real
work is Stanley’s, and any credit is due entirely to him.

No. 9, “In faccia all’oggetto” (Ismene)


Mozart’s initial setting of Ismene’s first aria is scored for oboes, horns, trumpets and
strings. The use of trumpets is particularly surprising, given the key of B flat major and
the sense of uneasy disappointment in Ismene’s situation, but they bring a wonderfully
mellow and burnished sound to the aria. The three-in-a-bar metre is also a little unexpected,
but again brings a quirkily wistful quality to the dramatic situation. Mozart’s final version
of the aria is altogether more orthodox, scored for strings only and reverting to a four-
in-a-bar metre. It establishes Ismene’s vocal credentials more impressively, to be sure,
but perhaps at the expense of a more original and insightful characterisation.

No. 13, “Lungi da te, mio bene” (Sifare)


Mozart’s first setting of Sifare’s Act 2 aria, “Lungi da te”, shares many similarities with
the final version. Pietro Benedetti, the original Sifare, was the last cast member to reach
Milan – he had still not arrived by the beginning of December – and his arias would
therefore have been among the last to be written; Mozart’s father wrote that Wolfgang
“prefers awaiting his presence in order to fit the costume to the figure”. If the initial
version of “Lungi da te” was not a perfect fit for Benedetti, it must have already been

22 M O Z A R T / M I T R I D AT E , R E D I P O N T O
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fairly comfortable; a second version inverts the melodic shape and varies numerous
details, but without radically altering the colour or musical landscape of the original,
while the third and final version retains the vocal line of this second version unchanged
but adds an extended horn solo. This haunting addition, evocative of an alphorn calling
from mountain-top to mountain-top, is a very different use of the instrument from that in
Mozart’s subsequent horn concertos, and tellingly underlines the pathos of Sifare’s farewell
to Aspasia as he prepares to go far away from her. The aria effectively becomes a
double concerto, with the two solo lines interlinking like the two parting lovers.

Mozart’s manuscript of the original version breaks off at the end of the ‘B’ section, but
it is a fairly straightforward task to create a completion using Mozart’s existing music
– the corresponding place in the second version successfully achieves the harmonic link
to the reprise, and I have abbreviated this recapitulation to bring it in line with other
comparable arias in the opera.

No. 14, “Nel grave tormento” (Aspasia)


The final version of this aria is in ABAB form, a noble adagio leading into a brilliant
allegro before both parts are repeated. The key is F major, and the orchestra includes
pairs of flutes, oboes and horns. Mozart composed only the first adagio of his original
version, which shares the same key and orchestration; presumably his prima donna was
happy with the fiery allegro sections but felt that a new opening was required.

In creating a complete performing version of the original version, then, and to provide
a context for Mozart’s enticing first draft, Stanley Sadie needed to create an entire
recapitulation of the adagio, this time staying in the home key and modelling it closely
on Mozart’s corresponding treatment of his material in the final version. Again, he did
so with great skill, taste and good judgement.

M O Z A R T / M I T R I D AT E , R E D I P O N T O 23
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No. 16, “Son reo; l’error confesso” (Farnace)
Giuseppe Cicognani, the original Sifare, can have had few complaints about the music
that Mozart wrote for him, and the decision to rewrite this aria was probably Mozart’s
own, founded on a need for greater economy and brevity within the context of the whole
opera. Essentially the final version is a considerably shortened version of the original
setting, sharing the same musical ideas but condensing them into a much more compact
form. The original is perhaps a little repetitive, but is musically more substantial. Again,
its scoring includes two trumpets, which are not used in the revision.

No. 18, Duet, “Se viver non degg’io” (Aspasia, Sifare)


The original version of this duet is very different from the final version in terms of key – E
flat major as opposed to A major – and structure – the opening adagio is reprised,
unlike in the final version, creating an ABAB structure. Mozart may have realised that
Aspasia’s magnificent Act 3 aria, “Pallid’ ombre” was also in E flat major, or he may
have been made aware of the tradition which Salieri referred to in his memoirs, that
such a love duet should always be in A major. Either way, the original setting is a
wonderful piece, albeit longer and even more difficult than the final version; indeed,
the fiendish challenges of the vocal writing may well have been cause enough for the
singers to insist on a rewrite.

No. 20, “Vado incontro al fato estremo” (Mitridate)


Mozart only wrote one setting of Mitridate’s final aria, but in the event d’Ettore insisted
on singing Gasparini’s setting anyway. Mozart conceded to his wishes – he probably
had little choice by this stage – and as a result the published aria was until very recently
thought to be Mozart’s own. In truth, though, Gasparini’s setting does not suffer too
badly by comparison with Mozart’s, and it serves as a telling reminder that Mozart’s
genius evolved from a musical language that was already highly developed and finely
tuned to the dramatic requirements of opera seria.
Ian Page
24 M O Z A R T / M I T R I D AT E , R E D I P O N T O
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Synopsis
The opera is set in the royal port of Nymphaea, in the Crimea, in c.63 BC. Mitridate
is the King of Pontus, a Hellenic kingdom on the southern shores of the Black Sea, and
has been engaged in battle against the Roman Emperor Pompei. He has left his elder
son Farnace in command of Pontus while his younger son Sifare watches over the
Caucasian outpost of Colchis. News has now spread, though, that Mitridate has been
killed in battle during a heavy defeat by the Romans, and both sons have abandoned
their duties to come to Nymphaea, where Mitridate’s fiancée Aspasia has been awaiting
his return.

Act One
The town square of Nymphaea
Arbate, the city’s governor, welcomes Sifare to Nymphaea. Sifare expresses concern
that Farnace is already there, and confides to Arbate that both brothers are in love with
Aspasia; furthermore, Farnace is suspected of being in league with the Romans. Aspasia
rushes in and asks Sifare to shield her from Farnace’s aggressive advances; Encouraged
that Aspasia has turned to him for support, Sifare declares his love and vows to protect
her.

The Temple of Venus


Aspasia repels Farnace’s lustful pursuit of her, and when he threatens violence Sifare
arrives to defend her. Just as the brothers are about to come to blows, Arbate brings
news that Mitridate is alive and well, and is approaching the city. Farnace fails to
persuade Sifare to unite with him against their father, but they agree to keep quiet about
their rivalry for Aspasia. When Sifare leaves, Farnace conspires with the Roman tribune
Marzio to salvage his plan to assume the throne.

M O Z A R T / M I T R I D AT E , R E D I P O N T O 25
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The port of Nymphaea
Mitridate arrives with his fleet and comes ashore, defeated but proud. To Farnace’s
dismay he has brought with him Ismene, daughter of the King of Parthia and Farnace’s
promised bride; Ismene is disconcerted by Farnace’s cold attitude towards her. Mitridate
orders his two sons to escort Ismene to the royal palace. Meanwhile he explains to
Arbate that he himself had spread the news of his death to test his sons’ loyalty. Arbate
informs him that Farnace has made improper advances to Aspasia, but claims that Sifare
has displayed no feelings towards her. Mitridate is greatly relieved that his favoured
son has seemingly shown himself to be worthy, but vows revenge on Farnace.

Act Two
The royal apartments
Farnace tells Ismene that he no longer loves her, and warns her that if she appeals to
Mitridate she may regret the consequences; by now, though, Mitridate believes that
Sifare would make a more suitable husband for her.

Mitridate tells Aspasia that he wants to marry her immediately. When she hesitates he
accuses her of being in love with Farnace; he summons Sifare to deal with the treachery.
Left alone, Sifare and Aspasia declare their love for each other, but duty and honour
dictate that they must suppress it.

Mitridate’s camp
Mitridate exposes Farnace as a traitor. Farnace confesses his alliance with the Romans,
but betrays Sifare’s love for Aspasia. Mitridate tricks Aspasia into confessing her feelings
for Sifare, and furiously condemns her and both of his sons to death. Sifare and Aspasia
resolve to die together.

26 M O Z A R T / M I T R I D AT E , R E D I P O N T O
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Act Three
The hanging gardens
Ismene begs Mitridate to be merciful. He offers to spare Aspasia if she will return to
him, but she angrily rejects him and prepares to die. Mitridate, meanwhile, receives
news that the Romans are laying siege to the city walls, and he sets off to fight them.
Sifare, who has been rescued by Ismene, now rescues Aspasia and departs to fight by
his father’s side.

The interior of a tower adjoining the walls of Nymphaea


During the Roman attack Marzio helps Farnace to escape. Left alone, though, Farnace
renounces his previous ambitions, joining the battle and setting fire to the Roman fleet.

A hall adjoining a grand courtyard in the palace of Nymphaea


Mitridate is carried in, having mortally wounded himself rather than surrendering to the
Romans. Before he dies he is reconciled with his sons; he unites Aspasia with Sifare
and forgives Farnace, who is in turn reconciled with Ismene.

M O Z A R T / M I T R I D AT E , R E D I P O N T O 27
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28
Classical Opera
Classical Opera was founded in 1997 by conductor Ian Page to explore the works of
Mozart and his contemporaries, and has emerged as one of the leading exponents in
its field. Performing with its own acclaimed period-instrument orchestra, the company
has attracted considerable critical and public recognition, not only for the high quality
of its performances but also for its imaginative programming and its ability to discover
and nurture outstanding young singers.

Classical Opera has performed regularly at many of London’s leading venues, including
Sadler’s Wells, Wigmore Hall, the Barbican and Kings Place, and has mounted staged
productions of many of Mozart’s operas, including Apollo et Hyacinthus, La finta semplice,
Il re pastore, Zaide, Le nozze di Figaro and Così fan tutte. In 2009 it was invited to
present The Royal Opera’s new production of Thomas Arne’s Artaxerxes, and it has also
given the world première of the ‘original’ version of Mozart’s Mitridate, re di Ponto, the
UK premières of Gluck’s La clemenza di Tito and Telemann’s Orpheus, and concert
performances of Handel’s Il trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno, Arne’s Alfred and
J.C.Bach’s Adriano in Siria.

Classical Opera’s first two recordings – ‘The A-Z of Mozart Opera’ (Sony BMG, 2007)
and ‘Blessed Spirit: a Gluck retrospective’ (Wigmore Hall Live, 2010) – were both
selected for Gramophone magazine’s annual Critic’s Choice, and they were followed
in 2011 by Arne’s Artaxerxes on Linn Records (Opera Choice, BBC Music Magazine;
Disc of the Month, Opera). This CD of Mitridate, re di Ponto is the third release in
Classical Opera’s complete recording cycle of Mozart’s operas, following Apollo et
Hyacinthus (Linn Records, 2012) and Die Schuldigkeit des ersten Gebots (Signum
Classics, 2013).

M O Z A R T / M I T R I D AT E , R E D I P O N T O 29
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Libretto
CD 1
Ouverture Overture
1 Allegro Allegro

2 Andante grazioso Andante grazioso

3 Presto Presto

ATTO PRIMO ACT ONE

Scena I Scene 1
Piazza di Ninfea, con veduta in lontano dalla The town square of Nymphaea, with a view into
porta della città. Sifare con seguito d’uffiziali the distance from the city gate. Sifare with a
e soldati, ed Arbate coi Capi de’ cittadini, uno de’ retinue of officers and soldiers, and Arbate with
quali porta sopra un bacile le chiavi della città. the City Fathers, one of whom is carrying the keys
to the city on a platter.

4 Recitativo Recitative
ARBATE: ARBATE:
Vieni, Signor. Come, my lord.
Più che le mie parole l’omaggio delle schiere, More than any words of mine, the homage of the
Del popolo il concorso, troops, the assembling of the people,
E la dipinta sul volto di ciascun gioia sincera and the sincere joy evident on the face of everyone
Abbastanza ti spiega in questo giorno demonstrate to you on this day
Quanto esulti Ninfea nel tuo ritorno. how much Nymphaea rejoices at your return.

SIFARE: SIFARE:
Questi di vostra fede contrassegni gradisco. I welcome these tokens of your loyalty.
Altri maggiori però ne attesi, However, I expected other, greater ones,
E non dovea ricetto qui Farnace trovar. for Farnace ought not to have found refuge here.

30 M O Z A R T / M I T R I D AT E , R E D I P O N T O
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ARBATE: ARBATE:
Del regno adunque Can jealousy over the throne, then,
Può già la gelosia render nemico already make Sifare
Sifare del german? an enemy of his brother?

SIFARE: SIFARE:
La bella Greca, The beautiful Greek woman
Che del gran Mitridate gli affetti meritò, who earned the affections of the great Mitridate
Di questo seno fu pur anche la fiamma, was also the flame of my heart,
Ed è la prima cagion, benchè innocente, and is the primary, though innocent,
Delle gare fraterne. cause of our brotherly rivalries.

ARBATE: ARBATE:
Oh quanto ti precorse colle brame e coi voti Ah, how much her sorrowful heart pre-empted you
Il dolente suo cor! with its yearnings and prayers!

SIFARE: SIFARE:
Se il ver mi narri, molto a sperar mi resta, If what you say is true, I still have much to hope for,
E tutto io spero, se di Roma fra il servo and I can hope for everything
E fra il nemico osa Arbate appigliarsi if Arbate dares to support the better side
Al partito miglior. between the servant and the enemy of Rome.

ARBATE: ARBATE:
Se l’oso! E puoi dubitarne, o Signor? If I dare! How can you doubt it, my Lord?
Quel zelo istesso, che al tuo gran genitore That same dedication which bound me to your
Mi strinse, in tuo favore qiu tutto impegno, father I here entirely devote to your cause,
E tu vedrai Farnace, mercè del mio valor, and you will witness Farnace, as a result
Della mia fede, of my valour and my loyalty,
Girne altrove a cercar e sposa e sede. having to go elsewhere to seek a wife and a home.
(parte col suo seguito) (he exits with his entourage)

M O Z A R T / M I T R I D AT E , R E D I P O N T O 31
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Scena II Scene 2

5 Recitativo Recitative
SIFARE: SIFARE:
Se a me s’unisce Arbate, If Arbate supports my cause,
Che non posso ottener? what can I not achieve?
(giunge Aspasia) (Aspasia enters)

ASPASIA: ASPASIA:
Il tuo soccorso, Signor, vengo a implorar. My Lord, I come to beg for your help.
Afflitta, incerta, vedova pria che sposa, Afflicted, uncertain, a widow before being a bride,
Al miglior figlio di Mitridate il chiedo. I appeal to Mitridate’s better son.
Ah non sia vero che il sangue Ah, let it not be true that the blood
Che t’unisce al tuo germano which unites you to your brother
D’una infelice al pianto prevails on this day
Prevalga in questo dì. over the tears of an unhappy woman.
Barbaro, audace, ingiurioso al padre, Barbarous, audacious, offensive to his father,
Egli al mio core he demands love from my heart,
Ch’è libero e che l’odia, impone amore. which is free and which hates him.

SIFARE: SIFARE:
Regina, i tuoi timori Queen, ah calm your fears,
Deh calma per pietà. I implore you.
Finch’io respiro, libero è il tuo voler, For as long as I breathe your will is free,
E andrà Farnace forza altrove ad usar. and Farnace will have to go elsewhere to use force.
Ma chi t’adora, se chiami delinquente, But if you call the man who adores you evil,
Sappi ch’io son di lui meno innocente. you should know that I am less innocent than him.

ASPASIA: ASPASIA:
(Che ascolto, oh Ciel!) (What do I hear, O heavens?)

SIFARE: SIFARE:
Non ti sdegnar: diverso dall’amor del germano Do not be angry: Sifare’s love
Di Sifare è l’amor. is different from that of his brother.

32 M O Z A R T / M I T R I D AT E , R E D I P O N T O
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No, mia conquista, se da lui ti difendo, No, if I defend you from him you won’t become
non diverrai. my conquest.
Ma quando t’avrò resa a te stessa, But when I have restored you to yourself,
Abborrirai quanto il nemico il difensore? will you detest your protector as much as your
Ed io, per premio di mia fè, per compiacerti, enemy? And I, as a reward for my loyalty,
Risolvere dovrò di non vederti? to please you, must I resolve never to see you?

ASPASIA: ASPASIA:
Dello stato, in cui sono, Prince, if you are chivalrous, do not take too much
Prence, se sei cortese, tanto non l’abusar. advantage of the state in which I am.

SIFARE: SIFARE:
Io non ne abuso allor che ti difendo I am not taking advantage of it while I am
Senza sperar mercè, quando prometto, defending you without hoping for reward,
Bell’Aspasia, ubbidirti, e poi celarmi while I promise, beautiful Aspasia, to obey you
Per sempre agl’occhi tuoi. and then to hide myself for ever out of your sight.

ASPASIA: ASPASIA:
Forse prometti Perhaps you are promising something
Ciò ch’eseguir non sei capace. which you are not capable of carrying out.

SIFARE: SIFARE:
E ad onta de’ giuramenti miei dunque paventi So in spite of my protestations do you still fear
Ch’io possa teco ancora tiranno divenir? that I might become your tyrant?

ASPASIA: ASPASIA:
Contro Farnace chiedo aita, o Signor, I ask for help against Farnace, my Lord.
Dall’empie mani salvami pria: First save me from his wicked hands;
Quest’è il mio voto. this is my wish.
Allora d’usarmi iniqua forza d’uopo non ti sarà, Then there will be no need for you to use
Perch’io t’accordi di vedermi il piacer, cruel force on me, because I grant to you
E tu fors’ anche meglio conoscerai qual sia quel the pleasure of seeing me, and perhaps
core, you will also get to know better that heart
Ch’ora ingiusto accusar puoi di rigore. which you can now unjustly accuse of severity.

M O Z A R T / M I T R I D AT E , R E D I P O N T O 33
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6 No. 1, Aria No. 1, Aria
ASPASIA: ASPASIA:
Al destin, che la minaccia, From the fate that threatens it,
Togli, oh Dio! quest’ alma oppressa, free, o God, this oppressed soul;
Prima rendimi a me stessa, first give me back to myself,
E poi sdegnati con me. and then you can be angry with me.

Come vuoi d’un rischio in faccia In the face of such danger how do you
Ch’io risponda a’ detti tuoi? expect me to respond to your words?
Ah conoscermi tu puoi Ah, you will get to know me,
E ‘l mio cor ben sai qual è. and you well know how my heart feels.
(si ritira) (she leaves)

Scena III Scene 3

7 Recitativo accompagnato Accompanied recitative


SIFARE: SIFARE:
Qual tumulto nell’alma quel parlar mi destò! What a tumult those words have aroused in my
Con più di forza rigermogliar vi sento, soul! I feel you burgeoning with renewed strength,
Speranze mie quasi perdute. my almost lost hopes.
Un nuovo sprone per voi s’aggiunge oggi alla Through you my courage today receives a new
mia virtù. encouragement.
Tronchinsi ormai le inutili dimore, Let there be an end now to useless delays, and
E la mercede che prometter mi sembra il caro bene the reward which my dear love seems to promise,
Ah si meriti almen, se non s’ottiene. ah, let me at least merit it even if it cannot be mine.

8 No. 2, Aria No. 2, Aria


SIFARE: SIFARE:
Soffre il mio cor con pace My heart endures calmly
Una beltà tiranna, a tyrannical beauty,
L’orgoglio d’un audace, but it cannot tolerate
No, tollerar non sa. the arrogance of an insolent man, no.

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M’affanna e non m’offende She who is able to deny me love
Chi può negarmi amore, causes me to suffer but does not offend me,
Ma di furor m’accende yet he who becomes my rival
Chi mio rival si fa. inflames me with fury.
(parte col suo seguito) (he exits with his entourage)

Scena IV Scene 4
Tempio di Venere con ara accesa ed adorna Temple of Venus, with the altar lit up and adorned
di mirti e di rose. Farnace, Aspasia, soldati di with myrtle and roses. Farnace and Aspasia,
Farnace all’intorno e sacerdoti vicini all’ara. Farnace’s soldiers all around and priests near the
altar.

9 Recitativo Recitative
FARNACE: FARNACE:
Sin a quando, o Regina, For how long, o Queen,
Sarai contraria alle mie brame? will you oppose my desires?
Ah fuggi, vieni. Ah, run away with me, come.
Te impaziente attende di Ponto il soglio, The throne of Pontus impatiently awaits you,
E ognun vederti brama sua Regina e mia sposa. and everyone longs to see you as their Queen and
All’ara innanzi dammi la destra, my bride. At the altar give me your hand,
E mentre con auspizio più lieto and while under happier auspices
S’assicura il diadema alle tue tempia, the crown is secured to your temples,
Le promesse del padre il figlio adempia. let the son fulfil the promises of the father.

ASPASIA: ASPASIA:
Per vendicare un padre dai Romani trafitto To avenge a father murdered by the Romans
Scettri io non ho, non ho soldati, I have neither sceptres nor soldiers,
E solo unico avanzo delle mie fortune and all that remains of my fortune
Mi resta il mio gran cor. is my big heart.
Ah, questo almeno serbi la fè dovuta al genitore, Ah, may this at least keep the faith due to my father.
Nè si vegga la figlia Nor shall his daughter be seen
Porger la man sacrilega, ed audace to offer a sacrilegious, audacious hand
All’amico di Roma, al vil Farnace. to the friend of Rome, the vile Farnace.

M O Z A R T / M I T R I D AT E , R E D I P O N T O 35
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FARNACE: FARNACE:
Quai deboli pretesti son questi, che t’infingi, What weak excuses are these which you invent,
E chi ti disse che amico a Roma io son? and who told you that I am a friend of Rome?
Sposa or ti voglio, I want you now as my wife,
(la piglia a forza per mano) (he seizes her forcefully by the hand)
E al mio volere omai contrasti invano. and you now oppose my will in vain.

ASPASIA: ASPASIA:
Sifare, dove sei? Sifare, where are you?
(guardando agitata per la scena) (looking around agitatedly)

Scena V Scene 5
(Sifare con soldati e detti) (Sifare enters with his soldiers)

10 Recitativo Recitative
SIFARE: SIFARE:
Ferma, o germano, Stop, brother,
Ed in Aspasia and in Aspasia
apprendi Sifare a rispettar. learn to respect Sifare.

FARNACE: FARNACE:
(ad Aspasia con resentimento) (to Aspasia, with resentment)
Intendo, ingrata, I understand your heart better now, ungrateful one.
meglio adesso il tuo cor. De’ tuoi rifiuti Perhaps this man is the reason for your refusals.
costui forse è cagion. Ei di Farnace He is a more fortunate lover than Farnace,
E’ amante più felice, e men ti spiace. and displeases you less.

SIFARE: SIFARE:
(a Farnace) (to Farnace)
Suo difensor qui sono. I am her protector here,
E chi quel core tiranneggiar pretende and whoever attempts to tyrannise her heart
Di tutto il mio furor degno si rende. deserves all my anger.

36 M O Z A R T / M I T R I D AT E , R E D I P O N T O
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FARNACE: FARNACE:
Con tanto fasto in Colco Let Sifare go to Colchis
A favellar sen vada Sifare a’ suoi vassalli. to speak so pompously to his vassals.

SIFARE: SIFARE:
In Colco e in questa Reggia I can equally well speak like this
Così posso parlar. in Colchis or in this palace.

FARNACE: FARNACE:
Potresti qui pur con le mie mani Here at my hands you could well
Versar l’alma col sangue. shed your soul with your blood.

SIFARE: SIFARE:
(vuol mettere mano alla spada e così pure Farnace) (he grasps his sword, as does Farnace)
A tanto ardire così rispondo. To such insolence I reply like this...

ASPASIA: ASPASIA:
(trattenendo i due fratelli) (restraining the two brothers)
Ah no, fermate. Oh no, stop!

Scena VI Scene 6
(Arbate e detti) (Arbate enters)

11 Recitativo Recitative
ARBATE: ARBATE:
All’ire freno, Principi, olà. Ahoy there, Princes, restrain your tempers.
D’armate prore già tutto è ingombro il mar, The sea is already completely filled with armed
E Mitridate di se stesso a recar più certo avviso ships, and Mitridate is arriving unexpectedly at the
Al porto di Ninfea viene improvviso. port of Nymphaea to bring firmer news of himself.

SIFARE SIFARE:
Il Padre! My father!

FARNACE FARNACE:
Mitridate! Mitridate!

M O Z A R T / M I T R I D AT E , R E D I P O N T O 37
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ARBATE: ARBATE:
A me foriero A fast wooden boat came
ne fu rapido legno. Ah si deponga to forewarn me. Ah, set aside all rivalry
Ogni gara fra voi, cessi ogni lite, between you, put a stop to any disagreement,
E meco il padre ad onorar venite. and come with me to honour your father.

12 No. 3, Aria No. 3, Aria


ARBATE: ARBATE:
L’odio nel cor frenate, Curb the hatred in your hearts,
Torni fra voi la pace, and let peace return between you,
O un padre paventate, or fear a father
Che perdonar non sa. who does not know how to forgive.

S’oggi il fraterno amore If today brotherly love


Cessa in entrambi e tace, ceases in you both and becomes silent,
Dal giusto suo rigore who will protect you
Chi vi defenderà. from his just severity?
(parte) (he exits)

Scena VII Scene 7

13 Recitativo Recitative
FARNACE: FARNACE:
Principe, che facemmo! Prince, what have we done?

SIFARE: SIFARE:
Io nel mio core In my heart
Rimproveri non sento. I feel no regrets.

ASPASIA: ASPASIA:
(Oh ritorno fatal!) (Oh, fatal return!)
Sifare, addio. Sifare, farewell.

38 M O Z A R T / M I T R I D AT E , R E D I P O N T O
38
14 No. 4, Aria No. 4 Aria
ASPASIA: ASPASIA:
Nel sen mi palpita dolente il core; In my breast my heart throbs mournfully;
Mi chiama a piangere il mio dolore; my grief summons me to weep;
Non so resistere, non so restar. I cannot resist, I cannot stay.

Ma se di lagrime umido ho il ciglio, But if my eyes are moist with tears,


È solo, credimi, il tuo periglio it is only your danger, believe me,
La cagion barbara del mio penar. which is the cruel reason for my suffering.
(parte, e si ritirano pure i sacerdoti) (she exits, and the priests then withdraw)

Scena VIII Scene 8

15 Recitativo Recitative
FARNACE: FARNACE:
Un tale addio, germano, si spiega assai: Such a farewell, brother, explains enough;
Ma il tempo altro esige da noi. but time demands other things from us.
Ritorna il padre, quanto infelice più, tanto più fiero, Our father is coming home, as proud as he is
Pensaci: in tuo favore tu pronte hai le tue schiere, unhappy. Think of it: at your disposal you have your
A me non manca un altro braccio. troops ready, and I am not lacking other support.
Il nostro perdono si assicuri, In order to ensure our pardon,
A lui l’ingresso della città si chiuda, let us prevent him from entering the city,
E giuste ei dia le leggi, o si deluda. and let him create just decrees, or else he is lost.

SIFARE: SIFARE:
Noto a me stesso io son, noto abbastanza I know myself, and I know my father
M’è il genitor: ma quando ritorna Mitridate well enough; but when Mitridate returns,
Più non so che ubbidir. I can only obey.

FARNACE: FARNACE:
Adesso almeno cautamente si celi il segreto comun, At least let us cautiously conceal our shared secret
Nè sia tradito dal germano il german. from him, so that brother may not be betrayed by
brother.

M O Z A R T / M I T R I D AT E , R E D I P O N T O 39
39
SIFARE: SIFARE:
Saprò geloso anche con mio periglio Even if it endangers me I shall jealously remain
Fido german serbarmi, e fido figlio. a faithful brother and a faithful son.

16 No. 5, Aria No. 5, Aria


SIFARE: SIFARE:
Parto: Nel gran cimento I am leaving; in this great trial
Sarò germano e figlio: I shall be both a brother and a son;
Eguale al tuo periglio equal to your danger
La sorte mia sarà. will be my fate.
Opera a tuo talento; Follow your own inclination;
Nè in me mancar già mai you will never see me
Vedrai la fedeltà. falter in my loyalty.
(parte co’ suoi soldati) (he exits with his soldiers)

Scena IX Scene 9

17 Recitativo Recitative
FARNACE: FARNACE:
Eccovi in un momento Here in a moment
Sconvolti, o miei disegni. my plans are turned upside down.
(giunge Marzio) (Marzio enters)

MARZIO: MARZIO:
A un vil timore Farnace ancor non s’abbandoni. Farnace must not yet give in to a cowardly fear.

FARNACE: FARNACE:
E quale speranza a me più resta, And what hope still remains for me
Se nemica fortuna if adverse fortune
Sul capo mio tutto il suo sdegno aduna? gathers all of its scorn on my head?

40 M O Z A R T / M I T R I D AT E , R E D I P O N T O
40
MARZIO: MARZIO:
Maggior d’ogni altro fato Greater than any other destiny
E’il gran fato di Roma, is the great destiny of Rome,
E pria che sorga nel ciel novella aurora, and before a new dawn rises in the sky
Ne avrai più certe prove. you will have more certain proofs of it.

FARNACE: FARNACE:
Alla tua fede mi raccomando, amico: To your good faith I commend myself, my friend;
Il mio periglio tu stesso vedi. you can see my danger.
In mia difesa ah tosto movan l’aquile altere, Ah, let the proud Roman eagles soon move to my
A cui precorre la vittoria e il terror. defence, bringing victory and terror.
Poi quando ancora sia di Roma maggior l’empio Then, if my wretched destiny is still stronger than
mio fato, Rome,
Ah si mora bensì, ma vendicato. ah, I will surely die, but I will die avenged.

18 No. 6, Aria No. 6, Aria


FARNACE: FARNACE:
Venga pur, minacci e frema Let my unappeasable father come then,
L’implacabil genitore, let him threaten and fume,
Al suo sdegno, al suo furore but my heart will not yield
Questo cor non cederà. to his scorn and fury.

Roma in me rispetti e tema Let him respect and fear Rome in me,
Men feroce e men severo, less fierce and less severe,
O più barbaro, o più fiero or else his anger will make me
L’ira sua mi renderà. more cruel and more proud.
(parte con Marzio seguito dai suoi soldati) (he exits with Marzio, followed by his soldiers)

M O Z A R T / M I T R I D AT E , R E D I P O N T O 41
41
Scena X Scene 10
Porto di mare, con due flotte ancorate in siti A seaport, with two fleets anchored on opposite
opposti del canale. Da una parte veduta della città sides of the harbour. To one side is a view of the
di Ninfea. city of Nymphaea.

Si viene accostando al suono di lieta sinfonia To the sound of cheerful music another squadron of
un’altra squadra di vascelli, dal maggior de’ quali ships sails in, and Mitridate and Ismene disembark
sbarcano Mitridate ed Ismene, quegli seguito from the largest ship, he followed by the Royal
dalla Guardia Reale e questa da una schiera di Guard, she by an entourage of Parthians. Arbate
Parti. Arbate con seguito gli accoglie sul lido. Si with his retinue receives them
prosiegue poi di mano in mano lo sbarco delle on the shore. Then follows the disembarking of
soldatesche; le quali si vanno disponendo in bella the troops, who fall into military formation on the
ordinanza sulla spiaggia. beach.

19 No. 7, Marcia No. 7, March

20 No. 8, Cavata No. 8, Cavata


MITRIDATE: MITRIDATE:
Se di lauri il crine adorno, Faithful shores, if I do not return to you
Fide spiaggie, a voi non torno, crowned with laurels,
Tinto almen non porto il volto at least I do not carry a face flushed
Di vergogna e di rossor. with shame and disgrace.

Anche vinto ed anche oppresso Even defeated and oppressed


Io mi serbo ognor l’istesso I remain always the same,
E vi reco in petto accolto and I bring to you as ever
Sempre eguale il mio gran cor. a big heart in my breast.

21 Recitativo Recitative
MITRIDATE: MITRIDATE:
Tu mi rivedi, Arbate, You see me again, Arbate,
Ma quel più non rivedi but you no longer see the happy Mitridate
Felice Mitridate, a cui di Roma to whom it was for a long time given
Lungamente fu dato bilanciare il destin. to hold the fate of Rome in the balance.

42 M O Z A R T / M I T R I D AT E , R E D I P O N T O
42
Tutti ha dispersi A single night, fortunate for Pompey, fatal to me,
D’otto lustri i sudor sola una notte has entirely swept away
A Pompeo fortunata, a me fatale. the labours of forty years.

ISMENE: ISMENE:
Il rammentar che vale, Signor, una sventura What’s the use of remembering, my Lord,
Per cui la gloria tua nulla s’oscura? one misfortune which can do nothing to obscure
Tregua i pensier funesti your glory? Let us have respite from
Su quest’amico lido gloomy thoughts on this friendly beach,
Per breve spazio almeno abbian da noi. at least for a brief while.
Dove son, Mitridate, i figli tuoi? Where are your sons, Mitridate?

ARBATE: ARBATE:
Dalla Reggia vicina From the nearby palace
Ecco gli affretta al piè del genitore here they come, hurrying to their father’s feet
Il rispetto e l’amore. in respect and love.

Scena XI Scene 11
(Sifare, Farnace dalla città e detti) (Sifare and Farnace arrive from the city)

22 Recitativo Recitative
SIFARE: SIFARE:
Su la temuta destra As one son and then the other
Mentre l’un figlio e l’altro un bacio imprime imprints a kiss on your feared right hand,
Tutti i sensi del cor, padre, t’esprime. they express, father, all the feelings of their hearts.

MITRIDATE: MITRIDATE:
Principi, qual consiglio in sì grand’uopo, Princes, in this hour of need,
E la Colchide e il Ponto, what counsel made you desert
Che al tuo valor commisi e alla tua fede, Colchis and Pontus,
Vi fece abbandonar? which I entrusted to your valour and loyalty?

FARNACE: FARNACE:
L’infausto grido della tua morte The wretched news of your death brought us here,
L’un dell’altro ignaro quà ne trasse, o Signor. the one unaware of the other, my Lord.

M O Z A R T / M I T R I D AT E , R E D I P O N T O 43
43
Noi fortunati, che nel renderci rei We are fortunate that in disobeying your orders
Del trasgredito cenno il bel contento we have the joy to see safe
Abbiam di reveder salvo chi tanto the one who until now
Stato è finora e sospirato e pianto! has been so wept over and mourned!

ISMENE: ISMENE:
Perchè fra i suoi contenti Why, among his joys,
Dissimula Farnace does Farnace hide
Quello che prova in riveder la figlia what he feels on seeing again the daughter
Del Partico Monarca? of the Parthian monarch?

FARNACE: FARNACE:
(Oh rimprovero acerbo!) (Oh, bitter reproof!)

MITRIDATE: MITRIDATE:
Entrambi, o figli, Both of you, my sons,
Men giudice che padre voi qui mi ritrovate. meet me here less as judge than as father.
Il primo intanto l’imprudente trascorso You must be the first, meanwhile,
Ad emendar tu sii, Farnace. to repair your rash error, Farnace.
Ismene, che amasti, il so, viene tua sposa: Ismene, whom you loved, I know, comes as your
In lei di Mitridate al combattuto soglio bride. Behold in her a new support for Mitridate’s
Ravvisa un nuovo appoggio: al nodo eccelso, harassed throne; for this splendid union,
Ch’io stesso ricercai, l’alma prepara, which I myself sought, prepare your heart,
E di tal sorte a farti degno impara. and learn to be worthy of such good fortune.

FARNACE: FARNACE:
Signor… My Lord…

MITRIDATE: MITRIDATE:
Ai regi tetti To the royal palace,
Dove in breve io ti seguo, o Principessa, where I shall soon follow you, Princess,
E Sifare e Farnace scorgano i passi tuoi. both Sifare and Farnace will escort you.
Meco soltanto rimanga Arbate. Only Arbate will remain with me.

44 M O Z A R T / M I T R I D AT E , R E D I P O N T O
44
ISMENE: ISMENE:
Io ti precedo, o Sire, I go ahead of you, sir,
Ma porto meco in seno but in my breast I carry
Un segreto timor, che mi predice a secret fear which forewarns me
Quanto poco il mio cor sarà felice. of how little my heart will be happy.

23 No. 9, Aria No. 9, Aria


ISMENE: ISMENE:
In faccia all’oggetto Before the man
Che m’arde d’amore, who makes me burn with love
Dovrei sol diletto I should feel only
Sentirmi nel core. joy in my heart.
Ma sento un tormento But I feel a torment
Che intender non so. which I cannot understand.

Quel labbro che tace, Those lips that are silent,


Quel torbido ciglio those troubled eyes
La cara mia pace already jeopardise
Già mette in periglio, my treasured peace of mind,
Già dice che solo and already tell me
Penare dovrò. that I will only suffer.
(parte ed entra nella città con Sifare e Farnace, (she exits, and enters the city with Sifare and
seguita dai Parti) Farnace, followed by her Parthian entourage)

Scena XII Scene 12

24 Recitativo Recitative
MITRIDATE: MITRIDATE:
Teme Ismene a ragion: ma più di lei I fear that Ismene is right, but I fear for my heart
Teme il mio cor. even more than for hers.
Sappilo, Arbate, io stesso dopo il fatal conflitto You must know, Arbate, that after the disastrous
La fama di mia morte confermar tra voi feci, battle I caused the news of my death to be spread
Acciò che poi nel giungere improvviso among you, so that then, at my unexpected return,
Non fossero gli oltraggi a me celati the outrages that I suffer from my two ungrateful
Che soffro, oh Dio! da due miei figli ingrati. sons, oh God, should not be hidden from me.

M O Z A R T / M I T R I D AT E , R E D I P O N T O 45
45
ARBATE: ARBATE:
Da due tuoi figli? From both of your sons?

MITRIDATE: MITRIDATE:
Ascolta; in mezzo all’ira Listen: even in the midst of my anger it is only right
Sifare da Farnace giusto è ben ch’io distingua. and proper that I should distinguish between Sifare
Ma qui che si facea? and Farnace. But what have they been doing here?
Forse hanno entrambi preteso amor dalla Regina? Have they both perhaps been seeking the Queen’s
A quale di lor sembra che Aspasia dia più facile love? Which of them does it seem that Aspasia
l’orecchio? most readily favours?
Io stesso a lei in quale aspetto ho da mostrarmi? How should I behave towards her?
Ah parla, e quanto mai vedesti e quanto sai Oh, speak, and make known to Mitridate now
Fa che sia noto a Mitridate ormai. anything you have seen and anything you know.

ARBATE: ARBATE:
Signor, Farnace appena entrò nella città My Lord, as soon as Farnace entered the city
Che impaziente corse a parlare d’amore alla he hurried impatiently to speak of love to the
Regina, Queen,
A lei di Ponto il trono offering her the throne of Pontus
Colla destra di sposo offrendo in dono. and his hand in marriage as a dowry.

MITRIDATE: MITRIDATE:
Empio! Senza lasciarle Villain! Without allowing her
Tempo a spargere almeno time at least to shed
Le lagrime dovute al cener mio! the tears due to my ashes!
E Sifare? And Sifare?

ARBATE: ARBATE:
Finora segno d’amore in lui non vidi So far I have not seen any sign of love in him,
E sembra che degno figlio di Mitridate and he seems a worthy son of Mitridate,
Ei volga sol di guerra pensieri e di vendetta. turning his thoughts only to war and revenge.

MITRIDATE: MITRIDATE:
Ma pure quale a Ninfea disegno l’affrettò? But why then did he hasten to Nymphaea?

46 M O Z A R T / M I T R I D AT E , R E D I P O N T O
46
ARBATE: ARBATE:
Quel di serbarsi To secure
Colla forza dell’armi, e col coraggio by force of arms and with courage
Ciò che parte ei credea del suo retaggio. what he believed to be a part of his inheritance.

MITRIDATE: MITRIDATE:
Ah questo è il minor premio Ah, this is the least reward
Che un figlio tal propor si deve. that such a son should claim.
A lui vanne, Arbate, e lo accerta Go to him, Arbate, and assure him
Del paterno amor mio. of my fatherly love.
Farnace intanto cautamente si osservi. Meanwhile watch Farnace discreetly.

ARBATE: ARBATE:
Il real cenno io volo ubbidiente I hurry obediently to fulfil the royal command.
Ad eseguir. (Che mai rivolge in mente!) (Whatever can be on his mind?)
(parte) (he exits)

Scena XIII Scene 13

25 Recitativo accompagnato Accompanied recitative


MITRIDATE: MITRIDATE:
Respira alfin, respira, o cor di Mitridate. Breathe at last, breathe, o heart of Mitridate.
Il più crudele de’ tuoi timori ecco svanì. The most cruel of your fears has here vanished.
Quel figlio sì caro a te fido ritrovi That son so dear to you you still find loyal,
E in lui non ti vedrai costretto and in him you will not see yourself forced
A punire un rival troppo diletto. to punish a too beloved rival.
M’offenda pur Farnace: Let Farnace wrong me;
Egli non offre al mio furor geloso he appears to my jealous rage only
Che un odiato figlio, a me nemico, as a hated son, as my enemy,
E de’ Romani ammiratore antico. and as a long-term admirer of the Romans.
Ah se mai l’ama Aspasia, Ah, if ever Aspasia loves him,
Se un affetto ei mi toglie a me dovuto, if he robs me of an affection which is my due,
Non speri il traditor da me perdono: let the traitor not hope for my pardon;
Per lui mi scordo già che padre io sono. for him I already forget that I am his father.

M O Z A R T / M I T R I D AT E , R E D I P O N T O 47
47
26 No. 10, Aria No. 10, Aria
MITRIDATE: MITRIDATE:
Quel ribelle e quell’ingrato I want that rebel and ungrateful son
Vuò che al piè mi cada esangue: to fall lifeless at my feet,
E saprò nell’empio sangue and in his treacherous blood
Più d’un fallo vendicar. I shall avenge more that one offence.
(parte colle sue guardie verso la città, e l’esercito (He exits with his guards towards the city, and the
si ritira) troops withdraw)

48 M O Z A R T / M I T R I D AT E , R E D I P O N T O
48
49
CD 2
ATTO SECONDO ACT TWO

Scena I Scene 1
Appartamenti. Ismene e Farnace. Royal apartments. Ismene and Faranace.

1 Recitativo Recitative
ISMENE: ISMENE:
Questo è l’amor, Farnace, Is this the love, Farnace,
Questa è la fè che mi giurasti? is this the fidelity that you swore to me?
E quando varco provincie e regni e al mar m’affido And when I cross provinces and kingdoms
Sol per unirmi teco, and brave the oceans just to be with you,
Di conoscermi appena you seem to hardly know me,
Tu mostri, ingrato, ed io schernita amante ungrateful man. And must I, a scorned lover,
Ti trovo adorator d’altro sembiante? find you worshipping another?

FARNACE: FARNACE:
Che vuoi ch’io dica, o Principessa? What can I say, Princess?
È vero che un tempo t’adorai. It is true that once I adored you.
Da te lontano venne l’ardor scemando a poco a Far from you my passion gradually faded,
poco, eventually died and gave way to a new love.
Si estinse alfin e a un nuovo amor diè loco.

ISMENE: ISMENE:
Anch’io da te lontana I too have lived far from you
Vissi finora, e pur… until now, and yet...

FARNACE: FARNACE:
Questi d’amore sono i soliti scherzi, These are the usual tricks of love,
E tu più saggia, senza dolerti tanto and you would be more wise to despise me
De’ tradimenti miei, as faithless and to console yourself
Sprezzarmi infido e consolarti dei. without complaining so much about my betrayals.

50 M O Z A R T / M I T R I D AT E , R E D I P O N T O
50
ISMENE: ISMENE:
Inver deve assai poco Truly the loss of such a good thing
La perdita costar d’un simil bene: must cost very little;
Ma nata al soglio Ismene but born to the throne, Ismene
Deve un altro dovere aver presente. is obliged to observe another duty.
Non basta alle mie pari For my kind it is not enough
Chi le disprezza il disprezzar. to despise those who despise us.
Richiede o riparo, o vendetta The outrage which I suffer
Quell’oltraggio ch’io soffro, e a Mitridate demands redress or revenge,
Saprò chiederla io stessa. and I myself will ask it of Mitridate.

FARNACE: FARNACE:
Ad irritarlo contro un figlio abborrito You will have little trouble in provoking him
Poca fatica hai da durar: against a son he already loathes:
Ma intanto non sperar, no, che possa il suo rigore even so, do not hope that his severity
Dar nuova vita ad un estinto amore. will revive a dead love.

2 No. 11, Aria No. 11, Aria


FARNACE: FARNACE:
Va, l’error mio palesa, Go, reveal my wrongdoing
E la mia pena affretta, and hasten my punishment,
Ma forse la vendetta but perhaps revenge
Cara ti costerà. will cost you dearly.

Quando sì lieve offesa When you see me punished


Punita in me vedrai, for such a slight offence,
Te stessa accuserai you will accuse yourself
Di troppa crudeltà. of excessive cruelty.
(parte) (he exits)

M O Z A R T / M I T R I D AT E , R E D I P O N T O 51
51
Scena II Scene 2

3 Recitativo Recitative
ISMENE: ISMENE:
Perfido, ascolta… Wretch, listen…
(Mitridate con seguito, che le viene all’incontro) (Mitridate, with his guards, approaches her)
Ah Mitridate! Ah, Mitridate!

MITRIDATE: MITRIDATE:
In volto abbastanza io ti leggo, o Principessa, I can read sufficiently in your face, Princess,
Ciò che vuoi dir, ciò che tu brami. what you want to say, what you wish for.
Avrai di Farnace vendetta. You will have revenge on Farnace.
Egli del pari te offende e il genitore. He offends you and his father alike.
Solo una prova mi basta ancor I need only a proof of his crimes,
De’ suoi delitti, e poi decisa è la sua sorte, and then his fate is decided;
Nè l’esser figlio il salverà da morte. nor shall his being my son save him from death.

ISMENE: ISMENE:
Parli di morte? Ah Sire. You speak of death? Oh, Sir.

MITRIDATE: MITRIDATE:
Vanne, e comincia a scordarti di lui. Go, and start forgetting all about him.
Più degno sposo forse in Sifare avrai. You will perhaps have a worthier husband in Sifare.

ISMENE: ISMENE:
Ma quello non sarà, che tanto amai. But he will not be the one I have loved so much.
(si ritira) (she leaves)

Scena III Scene 3

4 Recitativo Recitative
ASPASIA: ASPASIA:
Eccomi a’ cenni tuoi. Here I am at your command.

52 M O Z A R T / M I T R I D AT E , R E D I P O N T O
52
MITRIDATE: MITRIDATE:
Diletta Aspasia, le sventure maggiori Beloved Aspasia, the greatest misfortunes
Saran dolci per me, se pur sventura will be sweet to me, if only my return
Per te non fosse il mio ritorno. is not a misfortune to you.
Assai mi son teco spiegato, I have explained myself enough to you,
E il pegno illustre che porti di mia fè, and the noble pledge of my faith which you wear
Quanto mi devi ti rammenta abbastanza. is sufficient reminder to you of how much you owe
Oggi nel tempio anche la tua mi si assicuri. to me. Today in the temple you must also convince
Altrove la mia gloria ne chiama, ed io ritorno me of your faith. My glory is calling me elsewhere,
Farò teco alle navi al novo giorno. and I shall return to the ships with you at daybreak.

ASPASIA: ASPASIA:
Signor, tutto tu puoi: chi mi diè vita My lord, you can do anything; he who gave me life
Del tuo voler schiava mi rese, e sia made me the slave of your will, and
Sol l’ubbidirti la risposta mia. my response can only be to obey you.

MITRIDATE: MITRIDATE:
Di vittima costretta in guisa adunque So you will come with me to the altar
Meco all’ara verrai. in the guise of a coerced victim!
Barbara, intendo: Cruel hussy, I understand you:
Tu sdegni un infelice. you mock an unhappy man.
Più che non credi io ti comprendo, I comprehend you more than you think,
E vedo che il ver pur troppo a me fu detto. and I see, alas, that I was told the truth.
Un figlio qui ti seduce A son is seducing you here
E tu l’ascolti, ingrata. and you listen to him, ungrateful one.
Ma di quel pianto infido poco ei godrà. Custodi, But those false tears will not help him. Guards,
Sifare a me. bring Sifare to me.
(escono due guardie, che ricevuto l’ordine si (on receiving the order, two guards depart)
ritirano)

ASPASIA: ASPASIA:
Che far pretendi? Ah Sire. What are you doing? Oh Sir.
Sifare… Sifare…

M O Z A R T / M I T R I D AT E , R E D I P O N T O 53
53
MITRIDATE: MITRIDATE:
Il so, m’è fido, e forse meno I know. He is loyal to me, and perhaps
Arrossirei, se d’un malnato affetto I would be less ashamed if such a son
Potesse un figlio tal esser l’oggetto. were the object of a misbegotten love.
Ma che tenti Farnace sin rapirmi la sposa, But for Farnace to actually try to steal my bride,
E che tu adori un empio ed un audace, and for you to love such an insolent rogue,
Che privo di virtù, senza rossore… without virtue, shameless…
(a Sifare, che giunge) (to Sifare, who is arriving)
Vieni, o figlio, è tradito il genitore. Come in, my son; your father is betrayed.

Scena IV Scene 4

5 Recitativo Recitative
ASPASIA: ASPASIA:
(Respiro, o Dei!) (I breathe again, O Gods!)

SIFARE: SIFARE:
Signor, che avvenne? My Lord, what has happened?

MITRIDATE: MITRIDATE:
Amante è il tuo german d’Aspasia, essa di lui. Your brother is Aspasia’s lover, she his.
Tu, la cui fè non scuote You, whose loyalty is not shaken
D’un german d’una madre il vil esempio, by the vile example of a brother and a mother,
Dalle trame d’un empio free Mitridate from the intrigues of a villain,
Libera Mitridate, a quest’ingrata and remind this ungrateful woman
Rammenta il suo dover, dille che tema of her duty; tell her she should be afraid
D’irritar l’ire mie, che amor sprezzato of provoking my anger, that scorned love
Può diventar furore in un momento, can turn to fury in a moment,
E che tardo sarebbe il pentimento. and that repentance would be too late.

54 M O Z A R T / M I T R I D AT E , R E D I P O N T O
54
6 No. 12, Aria No. 12, Aria
MITRIDATE: MITRIDATE:
(a Sifare) (to Sifare)
Tu, che fedel mi sei, You, who are loyal to me,
Serbami, oh Dio! quel core: Protect for me, oh God, that heart!
(a Aspasia) (to Aspasia)
Tu, ingrata, i sdegni miei You, ungrateful woman,
Lascia di cimentar. avoid incurring my wrath.
(parte) (he exits)

7 Recitativo Recitative
SIFARE SIFARE:
Che dirò? Che ascoltai? Numi! e fia vero, What can I say? What do I hear? Heavens!
Che sia di tanto sdegno Can it be true that the only reason for such anger
Sol Farnace cagion, perchè a te caro? is that Farnace is dear to you?

ASPASIA ASPASIA:
A me caro Farnace? Farnace dear to me?
A Mitridate, che del mio cor non penetrò l’arcano, In Mitridate, who did not fathom my secret feelings,
Perdono un tal sospetto, I can forgive such a suspicion,
Non a Sifare, no. but not in Sifare, no.

SIFARE SIFARE:
Or qual è mai il rival fortunato? Then who can the lucky rival be?

ASPASIA ASPASIA
Ancor nol sai? Do you still not know?
Dubiti ancor? Dì, chi pregai poc’anzi Do you still have doubts? Tell me, whom did I beg
Perchè mi fosse scudo contro un’ ingiusta forza? just now to be my shield against an unjust force?
E chi finora senza movermi a sdegno And who until now, tell me, was worthy of speaking
Di parlarmi d’amor, dimmi, fu degno? to me about love without arousing my anger?

M O Z A R T / M I T R I D AT E , R E D I P O N T O 55
55
SIFARE SIFARE:
Che intendo! Io dunque sono What do I hear? Am I then
L’avventuroso reo? the fortunate culprit?

ASPASIA ASPASIA:
Pur troppo, o Prence, mi seducesti, Unfortunately, Prince, you seduced me,
E mio malgrado ancora and I still feel, despite myself,
Sento che questo cor sempre t’adora. that this heart of mine will always adore you.
Da una legge tiranna costretta io tel celai, Restrained by a tyrannical law I hid it from you,
Ma alfine… Oh Dei! but now… Oh Gods!
(giunge Arbate) (Arbate approaches)
Che reca Arbate? What brings Arbate?

Scena VI Scene 6

8 Recitativo Recitative
ARBATE ARBATE:
Alla tua fede il padre, Sifare, applaude, Your father, Sifare, applauds your loyalty,
E trattenendo il colpo che Farnace opprimea, and sparing the blow destined for Farnace
Nel campo entrambi chiama i figli ed Aspasia. he summons both sons and Aspasia to his camp.
Anche Ismene presente, Ismene too, a not unimportant witness
Spettatrice non vana a quel ch’io credo, as I understand it, is required to be present
Si brama al gran congresso; il cenno è questo: at the great assembly. This was my order;
Recato io l’ho: da voi s’adempia il resto. I have delivered it. The rest depends on you.
(parte) (he exits)

Scena VII Scene 7

9 Recitativo Recitative
ASPASIA ASPASIA:
Oh giorno di dolore! Oh day of sorrow!

56 M O Z A R T / M I T R I D AT E , R E D I P O N T O
56
SIFARE SIFARE:
Oh momento fatale, Oh fatal moment,
Che mi fa de’ viventi il più felice, which makes me the happiest
E ‘l più misero ancor? and yet the most wretched man alive!
Che non tacesti, adorata Regina? Why did you not stay silent, beloved Queen?
Io t’avrei forse con più costanza I might perhaps with more steadfastness
In braccio mirata al genitor. have been able to see you in the arms of my father.

ASPASIA ASPASIA:
Deh non cerchiamo d’indebolirci inutilmente. Ah, let us not try to weaken each other uselessly.
Io tutto ciò che m’impone il mio dover comprendo, I understand all that my duty demands of me,
Ma di tua fede anche una prova attendo. but I still await proof of your devotion.

SIFARE SIFARE:
Che puoi bramar? What can you want?

ASPASIA ASPASIA:
Dagli occhi miei t’invola, Vanish from my sight,
Non verdermi mai più. and never see me again.

SIFARE SIFARE:
Crudel comando! Cruel command!

ASPASIA ASPASIA:
Necessario però. But necessary.
Troppo m’è nota la debolezza mia; I know my weakness too well;
Forse maggiore di lei non è la mia virtù: perhaps my strength is no greater than yours.
Potrebbe nel vederti talor fuggir dal seno If I were to see you, an unworthy sigh might escape
Un indegno sospiro, e l’alma poi from my breast, and my soul would then
Verso l’unico e solo suo ben, in this way take secret flight
Da cui la vuol divisa il cielo, towards its one and only love,
Prender così furtivamente il volo. from which heaven wishes to separate it.
Misera, qual orrore sarebbe il mio! Wretched me, what horror would be mine,
Quale il rimorso! what remorse!

M O Z A R T / M I T R I D AT E , R E D I P O N T O 57
57
E come potrei lavar macchia sì rea giammai And how could I ever cleanse so guilty a stain
Se non col sangue mio! if not with my own blood?
Deh se fu pura la fiamma tua, Ah, if your passion was pure,
Da un tal cimento, o caro, libera la mia gloria. save my honour, my darling, from such an ordeal.
Il duro passo ti costa, il so, This hard step will cost you much, I know,
Ma questo passo, oh quanto but how much also will such a step
Anche a me costerà d’affanno e pianto! cost me in anguish and tears!

10 Recitativo accompagnato Accompanied recitative


SIFARE SIFARE:
Non più, Regina, oh Dio! non più. No more, Queen, oh God, no more!
Se vuoi Sifare ubbidiente a questo segno, If you wish Sifare to be obedient to this request,
Tenera tanto ah non mostrarti a lui. at least do not show him so much tenderness.
Delle sventure altrui, del tuo cordoglio I was the wicked cause of others’ misfortunes,
L’empia cagione io fui, svelandoti il mio cor, and of your sorrow, by revealing my feelings,
Portando al soglio del caro genitore bringing to my dear father’s throne
L’insana smania d’un’ ingiusto amore. the insane frenzy of an illicit love.
Ah perchè sul mio labbro, o sommi Dei, Ah why, you supreme Gods, were you not able
Con fulmine improvviso to annihilate the words on my lips
Annientar non sapeste i detti miei! with a sudden thunderbolt?
Innocente morrei... I would die innocent…

ASPASIA ASPASIA:
Sifare, e dove impeto sconsigliato ti trasporta? Sifare, where is this rash violence taking you?
Che di più vuoi da me? What more do you want of me?
Ritorna, oh Dio! alla ragion, se pur non mi vuoi Return, oh God, to reason, unless you wish me
morta. dead!

SIFARE SIFARE:
Ah no; perdon, errai. Ah, no, forgive me, I was wrong.
Ti lascio in seno all’innocenza tua. I leave you cradled in your innocence.
Da te m’involo, perchè tu vuoi così, I fly from you, because you wish it so,
Perchè lo chiede la fede, il dover mio, because loyalty, my duty, the peace of your heart
La pace del tuo cor... Aspasia, addio. demand it… Aspasia, farewell.

58 M O Z A R T / M I T R I D AT E , R E D I P O N T O
58
11 No. 13, Aria No. 13, Aria
SIFARE SIFARE:
Lungi da te, mio bene, If you wish me to wander
Se vuoi ch’io porti il piede, far from you, my beloved,
Non rammentar le pene do not remember the sufferings
Che provi, o cara, in te. that you experience, my darling.

Parto, mia bella, addio, I am leaving, my beauty; farewell,


Che se con te più resto for if I stay any longer with you
Ogni dovere obblio, I shall forget all of my duty,
Mi scordo ancor di me. I shall even forget myself.
(si ritira) (he leaves)

Scena VIII Scene 8

12 Recitativo accompagnato Accompanied recitative


ASPASIA ASPASIA:
Grazie ai Numi partì. Thanks be to the Gods, he has gone.
Ma tu qual resti, sventurato mio cor! But what will become of you, my wretched heart?
Ah giacchè fosti di pronunziar capace Ah, since you were able to pronounce
La sentenza crudel, such a cruel sentence,
Siegui l’impresa che ti detto virtù. follow the course which virtue dictated to you.
Scorda un oggetto per te fatal, Forget a person so injurious to you,
Rifletti alla tua gloria, think of your own honour,
E assicura così la tua vittoria. and in this way ensure your victory.

Ingannata ch’io son! But I am deceiving myself!


Tentar lo posso, e il tenterò I can try to do it, and I will try,
Poichè ‘l prescrive, ahi lassa, for duty, alas,
Tanto giusto il dover, quanto inumano; as just as it is inhuman, demands it;
Ma lo sperar di conseguirlo è vano. but to hope to succeed is useless.

M O Z A R T / M I T R I D AT E , R E D I P O N T O 59
59
13 No. 14, Aria No. 14, Aria
SPASIA ASPASIA:
Nel grave tormento In the grave torment
Che il seno m’opprime, which oppresses my heart,
Mancare già sento I already feel peace
La pace del cor. fading from my heart.

Al fiero contrasto I cannot bear


Resister non basto: this fierce struggle,
E strazia quest’alma for my soul is torn
Dovere ed amor. between duty and love.

Scena IX Scene 9

Campo di Mitridate. Alla destra del teatro Mitridate’s camp. On the right and in the
e sul davanti gran Padiglione Reale con sedili. foreground is a large royal pavilion with chairs.
Indietro folta selva ed esercito schierato, ecc. Behind is a thick wood and an army positioned in
Mitridate, Ismene ed Arbate, Guardie Reali ranks. Mitridate, Ismene and Arbate are present,
vicino al padiglione, e soldati parti in faccia al with the Royal Guard near the pavilion and
medesimo. Parthian soldiers opposite them.

14 Recitativo Recitative
MITRIDATE: MITRIDATE:
Qui, dove la vendetta Here, where the vengeance
Si prepara dell’Asia, o Principessa, of Asia is being prepared, o Princess,
Meco seder ti piaccia. may it please you to sit with me.
(siedono Mitridate ed Ismene) (Mitridate and Ismene sit down)

ISMENE: ISMENE:
A’ cenni tuoi I promptly obey
Pronta ubbidisco. Ma Farnace? your commands. But Farnace?

60 M O Z A R T / M I T R I D AT E , R E D I P O N T O
60
MITRIDATE: MITRIDATE:
Ancora, mercè di tue preghiere, Thanks to your entreaties,
Pende indeciso il suo destino. his fate still hangs in the balance.
Al cielo piacesse almen, ch’oltre un rivale May it please heaven that at least
In lui non ritrovassi un traditor! I will not find in him a traitor as well as a rival!

ISMENE: ISMENE:
Che dici! What are you saying?

MITRIDATE: MITRIDATE:
Forse pur troppo il ver. Perhaps, unfortunately, the truth.
De’ miei nemici ei mendica il favore As I understand it he is currying favour
Per quel che intendo, ed ha Romano il cuore. with my enemies, and his heart belongs to Rome.

ISMENE: ISMENE:
Che possa, oh Dei! Farnace But could Farnace be capable, oh Gods,
D’attentato sì vil esser capace? of such an iniquitous undertaking?

MITRIDATE: MITRIDATE:
Tosto lo scorgerò. I will soon discover.
Vengano, Arbate, i figli a me. Arbate, let my sons come to me.

ARBATE: ARBATE:
Già gli hai presenti, o Sire. They are already here, Sir.

Scena X Scene 10
Farnace, Sifare e detti. Farnace and Sifare enter.

15 Recitativo Recitative
MITRIDATE: MITRIDATE:
Sedete, o Prenci, e m’ascoltate. Be seated, Princes, and listen to me.
(siedono Sifare e Farnace) (Sifare and Farnace sit down)

M O Z A R T / M I T R I D AT E , R E D I P O N T O 61
61
È troppo noto a voi Mitridate, Mitridate is too well known to you
Per creder ch’egli possa in ozio vile for you to believe that he could spend any more
Passar più giorni ed aspettar che venga days in cowardly idleness, waiting for the
Qui di nuovo a cercarlo il ferro ostile. enemy’s sword to come again in search of him.
Il terribile acciaro riprendo, o figli, I am going to take up my hostile sword, o sons,
E da quest’ erme arene, cinto d’armi e di gloria, and from these desolate shores, laden with arms
L’onor m’affretto a vendicar del soglio, and glory, I shall hasten to avenge the honour of
Ma non già su Pompeo, sul Campidoglio. my throne, not on Pompeo, though, but on the
Capitol.

SIFARE: SIFARE:
Sul Campidoglio? The Capitol?

FARNACE: FARNACE:
(Oh van consiglio!) (Oh futile plan!)

MITRIDATE: MITRIDATE:
Ah forse cinta da inaccessibili difese Ah, perhaps you believe Rome to be surrounded
Roma credete, o vi spaventa by inaccessible defences, or are you frightened
Il lungo disastroso sentiero? by the long, perilous road?
All’Asia non manchi un Mitridate, May Asia not be lacking for a Mitridate,
Ed essa il trovi, Farnace, in te. and may it find one, Farnace, in you.
Sposo ad Ismene i regni difendi e i doni suoi: As Ismene’s husband, defend its kingdoms and
passa l’Eufrate, combatti, e là sui sette colli, gifts; cross the Euphrates, fight, and there on the
Ov’io eretto avrò felicemente il trono, Seven Hills, where I shall successfully have set
Di tue vittorie a me poi giunga il suono. up my throne, let the sound of your victories then
reach me.

FARNACE: FARNACE:
Ahi qual nemico nume Alas, what hostile deity
Sì forsennata impresa può dettarti, o Signor? can direct you to such a crazy enterprise, my Lord?
Ma quanta de’ tuoi regni parte illesa riman! How many parts of your kingdoms remain intact?
Questa piuttosto sia tua cura a serbar. May this rather be your concern to preserve.
Se t’allontani, chi fido resterà? If you depart, who will remain loyal? Who can
Chi m’assicura del volubile Parto e come... protect me from the fickle Parthians, and how…?

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SIFARE: SIFARE:
E giusto, che là donde le offese vengono a noi, It is right that the weight of vengeance
Della vendetta il peso tutto vada a cader. should fall on the place from where the offences
Solo ti piaccia a men canuta etade laid on us emanate. But may it please you
Affidarne la cura, to entrust the task to a younger man,
E mentre in Asia la viltà di Farnace and while Farnace’s cowardice forces you
Ti costringe a restar, cedi l’onore to remain in Asia, concede the honour
Di trionfar sul Tebro al mio valore. of triumphing on the Tiber to my courage.

FARNACE: FARNACE:
Vana speranza. A Roma siamo indarno nemici. Futile hope. To Rome we are feeble enemies.
Al tempo, o padre, con prudenza si serva, In time, father, we would be wise to serve her,
E se ti piace, and if it pleases you,
Si accetti, il dirò pur, l’offerta pace. accept, I urge you, their offer of peace.

MITRIDATE: MITRIDATE:
(Brami, Ismene, di più? (Ismene, what more can you want to hear?
L’empio già quasi da se stesso si scopre.) The villain has already virtually revealed himself.)
E chi di questa è il lieto apportator? And who is the happy bearer of this offer?

Scena XI Scene 11
Marzio e detti. Marzio enters.

16 Recitativo Recitative
MARZIO: MARZIO:
Signor, son io. My Lord, I am.

MITRIDATE: MITRIDATE:
Cieli! Un Roman nel campo? Heavens! A Roman in the camp?
(s’alza impetuosamente da sedere, e seco si (he rises suddenly from his seat, and everyone else
alzano tutti) rises with him)

SIFARE: SIFARE:
Ei con Farnace venne in Ninfea. He came to Nymphaea with Farnace.

M O Z A R T / M I T R I D AT E , R E D I P O N T O 63
63
MITRIDATE: MITRIDATE:
Ed io l’ignoro! And I was ignorant of it?
Arbate, si disarmi Farnace, Arbate, disarm Farnace,
E nel profondo della torre maggior and in the dungeon of the great tower
La pena attenda dovuta a’ suoi delitti. let him await punishment for his crimes.
(Arbate si fa consegnare la spada da Farnace) (Arbate takes Farnace’s sword from him)

MARZIO: MARZIO:
Almen... At least...

MITRIDATE: MITRIDATE:
Non odo chi un figlio mi sedusse. I won’t listen to a man who has corrupted
Onde venisti, temerario, ritorna: one of my sons. Return, insolent wretch, to where
Il tuo supplicio sospendo sol perchè narrar tu possa you came from; I shall suspend your punishment
Ciò che udisti e vedesti alla tua Roma. only so that you can report to Rome what you have
heard and seen.

MARZIO: MARZIO:
Io partirò: ma tuo malgrado in breve colei, I’ll go; but in spite of you, he who sends me here,
Che sordo sprezzi e che m’invia, and whom you ignorantly despise, will soon
Ritroverà di farsi udir la via. find a way to make himself heard by you.
(parte) (he exits)

Scena XII Scene 12

17 Recitativo Recitative
MITRIDATE: MITRIDATE:
Inclita Ismene, Noble Ismene,
Oh quanto arrossisco per te! oh how I blush for you!

ISMENE: ISMENE:
Lascia il rossore Leave blushing to him who,
A chi nel concepir sì reo disegno in inventing such a wicked plan,
D’un tanto genitor si rese indegno. showed himself unworthy of so great a father.

64 M O Z A R T / M I T R I D AT E , R E D I P O N T O
64
18 No. 15, Aria No. 15, Aria
ISMENE: ISMENE:
So quanto a te dispiace I know how much the error
L’error d’un figlio ingrato: of an ungrateful son displeases you.
Ma pensa alla tua pace, But consider your calmness;
Questa tu dei serbar. this you must preserve.

Spettacolo novello It would not be the first time


Non è, se un arboscello if a young sapling
Dal tronco donde è nato were seen to degenerate
Si vede tralignar. from the trunk from which it grew.
(parte seguita da’ suoi Parti) (she exits, followed by her Parthian entourage)

Scena XIII Scene 13

19 Recitativo Recitative
FARNACE: FARNACE:
Ah, giacché son tradito, Ah, since I am betrayed,
Tutto si sveli omai. let all be revealed now.
Per quel sembiante Through that face
Che fa pur troppo il mio maggior delitto, which unfortunately prompted my greatest crime,
Ad oltraggiarti, o padre, know that I was not the only one,
Sappi, che non fui solo. father, to wrong you.
È a te rivale Sifare ancor, Sifare is also your rival,
Ma più fatal; and a more dangerous one;
Che dove ripulse io sol trovai, sprezzi e rigore, for where I found rebuffs, scorn and severity,
Ei di me più gradito ottenne amore. he, more welcome than I, was given love.

M O Z A R T / M I T R I D AT E , R E D I P O N T O 65
65
20 No. 16, Aria No. 16, Aria
FARNACE: FARNACE:
(a Mitridate) (to Mitridate)
Son reo; l’error confesso; I am guilty; I confess my mistake;
E degno del tuo sdegno and worthy of your anger
Non chiedo a te pietà. I do not ask you for mercy.
Ma reo di me peggiore But more guilty than me
Il tuo rivale è questo, is this rival of yours,
(accennando Sifare) (pointing to Sifare)
Che meritò l’amore who won the love
Della fatal beltà. of that bewitching beauty.
(a Sifare) (to Sifare)
Nel mio dolor funesto In my tragic grief
Gemere ancor tu dei; you, too, must mourn;
Ridere a danni miei Sifare will not be able
Sifare non potrà. to laugh at my misfortunes.
(parte condotto via da Arbate e dalle Guardie (he is led away by Arbate and the Royal Guard)
Reali)

Scena 14 Scene 14

21 Recitativo Recitative
SIFARE: SIFARE:
E crederai, Signor... And do you really believe, my Lord…

MITRIDATE: MITRIDATE:
Saprò fra poco I shall soon know
Quanto creder degg’io. what I must believe.
Colà in disparte ad Aspasia, che viene, Stand apart from Aspasia, who is approaching.
Celati e taci. Hide and be silent.
Violato il cenno, If you disobey,
Ambi vi renderà degni di morte. you will both die.
Udisti? Do you hear me?

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SIFARE: SIFARE:
Udii. I hear you.
(Deh non tradirmi, oh sorte.) (Ah do not betray me, oh destiny!)
(si nasconde dietro al padiglione) (he hides behind the pavilion)

MITRIDATE: MITRIDATE:
(Ecco l’ingrata. (Here is the ungrateful woman.
Ah seco l’arte si adopri Ah, art must be used with her, and the truth
E dal suo labbro il vero con l’inganno si tragga.) can be drawn from her lips through deception.)
Alfin, Regina, torno in me stesso, At last, Queen, I am myself again, and I see
E con rossor ravviso che il volerti mia sposa with shame that my wish to make you my wife,
Al mio stato ed al tuo troppo disdice. considering my state and yours, is too inappropriate.
Grave d’anni, infelice, fuggitivo e ramingo Old of years, unhappy, a fugitive and a wanderer,
Io più non sono che un oggetto funesto, I am nothing more than a funereal object,
E tu saresti, congiunta a Mitridate, and if you were married to Mitridate
Sventurata per sempre. you would always be miserable.
Ingiusto meno egli sia teco, Let me be fairer to you,
E quando guerra e morte parte a cercar, and when I leave to seek war and death,
Con un miglior consiglio let me more sensibly
Per isposo ad Aspasia offra un suo figlio. offer to Aspasia one of my sons as husband.

SIFARE: SIFARE:
(Che intesi!) (What do I hear?)

ASPASIA: ASPASIA
(Oh ciel!) (Oh, heavens!)

MITRIDATE: MITRIDATE:
Non è Farnace: Not Farnace. In vain do you wish
Invano vorresti unirti a quell’indegno, to be united with that unworthy wretch,
E questa destra, che tanto amai per mio tormento, and your hand, which to my torment
Solo a Sifare io cedo. I have loved so much, I yield only to Sifare.

SIFARE: SIFARE:
(Oh tradimento!) (Oh treachery!)

M O Z A R T / M I T R I D AT E , R E D I P O N T O 67
67
ASPASIA: ASPASIA:
Eh lascia di più affliggermi, o Sire. Ah, do not distress me any more, Sir.
A Mitridate so che fui destinata, I know that I was meant for Mitridate,
E so ch’entrambi siamo in questo momento and I know that we are both awaited now
all’ara attesi. at the altar.
Vieni. Come.

MITRIDATE: MITRIDATE:
Lo veggo, Aspasia: a mio dispetto I understand, Aspasia; to spite me
Vuoi serbar per Farnace you wish to keep for Farnace
Tutti gli affetti del tuo core ingrato. all the affection of your ungrateful heart.
E già l’odio, e il disprezzo And already your hate and contempt
Passò dal padre al figlio sventurato. has passed from the father to the unfortunate son.

ASPASIA: ASPASIA:
Io sprezzarlo, Signor? I despise him, my lord?

MITRIDATE: MITRIDATE:
Più non m’oppongo. I shall no longer oppose you.
La vergognosa fiamma siegui a nutrir; Continue to nourish your shameful passion;
E mentre illustre morte and while I go with my son
In un qualche del mondo angolo estremo to seek an honourable death
Vo’ col figlio a cercar, in some distant corner of the world,
Col tuo Farnace tu qui servi ai Romani. you serve the Romans here with your Farnace.
Andiamo, io voglio di tanti tuoi rifiuti Let’s go; I want to avenge myself
Vendicarmi sul campo for so many of your rebuttals on the battlefield
Con darti io stesso in braccio a un vil ribelle. by handing you myself into the arms of a vile traitor.

SIFARE: SIFARE:
(Ah, seguisse a tacer, barbare stelle!) (Ah, if only she had kept quiet, cruel stars!)

ASPASIA: ASPASIA:
Pria morirò. I would die first.

68 M O Z A R T / M I T R I D AT E , R E D I P O N T O
68
MITRIDATE: MITRIDATE:
Tu fingi invano. You dissemble in vain.

ASPASIA: ASPASIA:
Io, sire? I, Sir? You do not know me
Mal mi conosci e poichè alfin non credo very well, and since in the end I do not believe
Che ingannarmi tu voglia... that you wish to deceive me...

SIFARE: SIFARE:
(Oh incauta!) (Oh rash woman!)

ASPASIA: ASPASIA:
Apprendi, … you should know
Che per Farnace mai non s’accese il mio cor, that my heart never burned for Farnace,
Che prima ancora di meritar l’onor d’un regio and that even before winning the honour of your
sguardo royal glance,
Quel tuo figlio fedel, quello che tanto the son of yours who is loyal, the one whom,
Perchè simile al padre, e a te diletto... because he is like his father, and your favourite, I
so much…

MITRIDATE: MITRIDATE:
L’amasti? You loved him?
Ed ei t’amava? And he loved you?

ASPASIA: ASPASIA:
Ah fu l’affetto reciproco, o Signor... Ah, our love was mutual, my Lord…
Ma che? But, what is it?
Nel volto ti cangi di color? Your face has changed colour?

MITRIDATE: MITRIDATE:
Sifare. Sifare.

ASPASIA: ASPASIA:
(Oh Dio! Sifare è qui?) (Oh, God! Is Sifare here?)

M O Z A R T / M I T R I D AT E , R E D I P O N T O 69
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SIFARE: SIFARE:
(facendosi avanti) (coming forward)
Tutto è perduto. All is lost.

ASPASIA: ASPASIA:
(a Mitridate) (to Mitridate)
Io dunque Then I
Fui tradita, o crudel? was betrayed, o cruel one?

MITRIDATE: MITRIDATE
Io solo son finora il tradito. I alone am so far the one who has been betrayed.
Voi nella reggia, indegni, fra breve attendo. You, unworthy ones, I shall presently await
Ivi la mia vendetta render pria di partir saprò in the palace. There, before leaving,
famosa I shall exact a notorious revenge
Colla strage de’ figli, e della sposa. through the slaughter of my sons and my bride.

22 No. 17, Aria No. 17, Aria


MITRIDATE: MITRIDATE:
Già di pietà mi spoglio, Now I strip my heart of pity,
Anime ingrate, il seno: ungrateful souls;
Per voi già sciolgo il freno, for you, traitors, I now give
Perfidi, al mio furor. free rein to my fury.

Padre ed amante offeso A betrayed father and lover,


Voglio vendetta, e voglio I want vengeance and I want
Che opprima entrambi il peso the weight of my righteous severity
Del giusto mio rigor. to crush you both.
(parte) (he exits)

70 M O Z A R T / M I T R I D AT E , R E D I P O N T O
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Scena XV Scene 15

23 Recitativo Recitative
ASPASIA: ASPASIA:
Sifare, per pietà stringi l’acciaro, Sifare, for pity’s sake draw your sword,
E in me de’ mali tuoi and with your own hand punish me,
Punisci di tua man la rea sorgente. the guilty source of your troubles.

SIFARE: SIFARE:
Che dici, anima mia? What are you saying, my beloved?
N’è reo quel fato, che ingiusto mi persegue. The guilt lies with that fate which unjustly follows me.
Egli m’ha posto in ira al padre, It has brought my father’s anger against me,
Ei mio rival lo rese, has made him my rival,
Ed or l’indegna via and has now taught him ignoble ways
Di penetrar nell’altrui cor gli apprese. of penetrating into another’s heart.

ASPASIA: ASPASIA:
Ah se innocente, o caro, Ah, my darling, if your love
Mi ti mostra il tuo amor, shows me that you are innocent,
Non lascia almeno d’esser meco pietoso. do not refrain at least from being merciful with me.
Eccoti il petto, ferisci omai. Here is my breast, strike now.
Di Mitridate, oh Dio! si prevenga il furor. Let Mitridate’s fury, oh God, be forestalled!

SIFARE: SIFARE:
Col sangue mio, sol che Aspasia lo voglia, With my blood, if only Aspasia is willing,
Tutto si sazierà. everything will be atoned.
Ah mia Regina, sappiti consigliare: Ah my queen, allow yourself to be advised:
A compiacerlo renditi pronta, be ready to please him,
O almen ti fingi: or at least to pretend,
Alfine pensa, ch’egli m’è padre; and remember that he is my father.
A lui giurando eterna fede ascendi il trono, By swearing eternal devotion to him, ascend the
E lascia che nella sorte sua barbara tanto throne, and let Sifare with his cruel fate
Sifare non ti costi altro che pianto. cost you nothing but tears.

M O Z A R T / M I T R I D AT E , R E D I P O N T O 71
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24 Recitativo accompagnato Accompanied Recitative
ASPASIA: ASPASIA:
Io sposa di quel mostro, I, bride of that monster,
Il cui spietato amore ci divide per sempre? whose merciless love separates us for ever?

SIFARE: SIFARE:
E pur poc’anzi non parlavi così. And yet a short time ago you were not speaking
like this.

ASPASIA: ASPASIA:
Tutta non m’era la sua barbarie ancor ben nota. I was not fully aware then of his barbarity.
Or come un tale sposo all’ara potrei seguir: Now how could I follow such a husband to the
Come accoppiar la destra altar? How could I join my hand
A una destra potrei tutta fumante to the hand, still reeking, alas,
Del sangue, aimè, del trucidato amante? with the blood of my murdered lover?
No, Sifare, perdona, io più nol posso, No, Sifare, forgive me, I cannot do it,
E invan mel chiedi. and it is useless to ask me.

SIFARE: SIFARE:
E vuoi... So you want…

ASPASIA: ASPASIA:
Sì, precederti a Dite. Yes, to precede you to Hades.
A me non manca per valicar quel passo To cross that stream I lack
E coraggio, ed ardir; ma non l’avrei neither courage nor daring; but I could not bear
Per mirar del mio ben le angosce estreme. to see the death agonies of my beloved.

SIFARE: SIFARE:
No, mio bel cor, No, my dear beloved,
Noi moriremo insieme. we shall die together.

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25 No. 18, Duetto No.18, Duet
SIFARE: SIFARE:
Se viver non degg’io, If I cannot live,
Se tu morir pur dei, if you, too, must die,
Lascia, bell’idol mio, my beautiful idol, let me at least
Ch’io mora almen con te. die with you.

ASPASIA: ASPASIA:
Con questi accenti, oh Dio! With these words, Oh God,
Cresci gli affanni miei, you worsen my suffering!
Troppo tu vuoi, ben mio, You want too much, my love,
Troppo tu chiedi a me. you ask too much of me.

SIFARE: SIFARE:
Dunque... Then…

ASPASIA: ASPASIA:
Deh taci. Alas, be silent.

SIFARE: SIFARE:
Oh Dei! Oh, Gods!

APASIA, SIFARE: APASIA, SIFARE:


Ah, che tu sol, tu sei, Ah, you alone are the one
Che mi dividi il cor. who shares your heart with me.
Barbare stelle ingrate, Cruel, ungrateful stars,
Ah, m’uccidesse adesso if only this excess of grief
L’eccesso del dolor! would kill me now!

M O Z A R T / M I T R I D AT E , R E D I P O N T O 73
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74
CD 3
ATTO TERZO ACT THREE

Scena I Scene 1
Orti pensili. Mitridate con guardie. Hanging gardens. Mitridate, with his guards.

1 Recitativo Recitative
MITRIDATE: MITRIDATE:
Pera omai chi m’oltraggia, Those who offend me must die now,
Ed il mio sdegno più l’un figlio dall’altro and let my anger not care to distinguish
Di distinguer non curi. between one son and the other.
Vadasi, e a cader sia Sifare il primo... Go to it, and Sifare will be the first to fall…
(Aspasia con le bende del real diadema squarciate (Aspasia enters, carrying in her hands the torn
in mano, seguita da Ismene) bands of the royal diadem, followed by Ismene)
Ahi, qual incontro! Alas, what a confrontation!

ASPASIA: ASPASIA:
(gettando via dispettosamente le bende suddette) (throwing away her bands scornfully)
A terra, vani impacci del capo. To the ground, useless encumbrances of the head!
Alla mia morte di strumento funesto Since you do not even serve as a sombre
Giacchè nemmen servite, io vi calpesto. accessory to my death, I trample upon you.

MITRIDATE: MITRIDATE:
Qual furor? What is this passion?

ISMENE: ISMENE:
Degno, o Sire, di chi libera nacque. One worthy, Sir, of someone who was born free.
I doni tuoi di rendersi fatali disperata tentò, She desperately tried to use your gifts to hang
Ma i Numi il laccio infransero pietosi. herself; but the Gods mercifully broke the noose.
Ah se t’è cara la vita sua, Ah, if her life is dear to you,
Se ancor tu serbi in seno qualche d’amor scintilla, if you still have a spark of love in your heart,
Un’ira affrena, che forse troppo eccede, restrain an anger that is perhaps excessive,
E ciò, che invano per le vie del rigor tenti ottenere, and thereby achieve through clemency what you
L’ottenga la clemenza. have in vain tried to achieve through severity.

M O Z A R T / M I T R I D AT E , R E D I P O N T O 75
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MITRIDATE: MITRIDATE:
E che non feci, Principessa, finor? And what have I not done, Princess, before now?

ISMENE: ISMENE:
Nell’ardua impresa Do not tire so soon
Non stancarti sì presto. of this difficult task.
Fa che il cupido amante Let her recognise the amorous lover in you,
Si ravvisi da lei, non il regnante. not the ruler.

MITRIDATE: MITRIDATE:
Quanto mi costa, o Dio, How much it costs me, o God,
L’avvilirmi di nuovo! to debase myself again!
Ma il vuoi? Si faccia. But you want it? I shall do it.

ISMENE: ISMENE:
Ah sì: d’esempio Ismene, Signor, ti serva. Ah yes; let Ismene, Sir, serve you as an example.
Io quell’oltraggio istesso soffro, I am suffering the same offence that you do,
Che tu pur soffri, e non pretendo yet I do not claim
Con eccesso peggiore to avenge my scorned love
Di vendicare il mio tradito amore. with the worst excesses.

2 No. 19, Aria No. 19, Aria


ISMENE: ISMENE:
Tu sai per chi m’accese You know how much I, too, suffer
Quanto sopporto anch’io, for the one who set my heart on fire,
E pur l’affanno mio and yet my grief
Non cangiasi in furor. does not turn to fury.

Potrei punirlo, è vero, I could punish him, it is true,


Ma tollero le offese, but I tolerate the insults,
E ancora non dispero and still do not despair
Di vincere quel cor. of conquering his heart.
(parte) (she departs)

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Scena II Scene 2

3 Recitativo Recitative
ASPASIA: ASPASIA:
Re crudel, Re spietato, ah lascia almeno Cruel King, spiteful King, let me at least
Ch’io ti scorga una volta sul labbro il ver. once see the truth on your lips.
Non ingannarmi, e parla: di Sifare che fu? Do not deceive me, and speak: what has
Vittima forse del geloso tuo sdegno ei già spirò? happened to Sifare? Victim of your jealous anger,
is he perhaps already dead?

MITRIDATE: MITRIDATE:
No, vive ancora, e puoi No, he still lives,
Assicurar, se ‘l brami, i giorni suoi. and, if you so desire, you can save his life.

ASPASIA: ASPASIA:
Come? How?

MITRIDATE: MITRIDATE:
Non abusando della mia sofferenza, alle mie By not abusing my patience,
brame by being kind to my desires,
Mostrandoti cortese e nel tuo core and by restoring in your heart
Quel ben, che mi si deve, a me rendendo. the love which belongs to me.
A tal patto io sospendo il corso all’ire mie. On such terms I shall suspend the course of my
Del tutto, Aspasia, col don della tua destra anger. Ah come, and dissolve it entirely, Aspasia,
Deh vieni a disarmarle. through the gift of your hand in marriage.

ASPASIA: ASPASIA:
Invan tu speri, ch’io mi cangi, o Signor. You hope in vain for me to change, my Lord.
Prieghi non curo e minacce non temo. I care not for entreaties, and I fear no threats.
Appien comprendo qual sarà il mio destin; I understand fully what my fate will be;
Ma nol paventa chi d’affrettarlo ardì. but I do not fear the man who dared to hasten it.

MITRIDATE: MITRIDATE:
Pensaci: ancora un momento a pentirti Think about it; my compassion offers you
T’offre la mia pietà. one more chance to repent.

M O Z A R T / M I T R I D AT E , R E D I P O N T O 77
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ASPASIA: ASPASIA:
Di questa, o Sire, che inutile è per me, Sir, let your innocent son receive
Provi gli effetti l’innocente tuo figlio. this compassion, which is useless to me.
Il tuo furore di me quanto gli aggrada omai risolva; Vent your fury on me now as much as you wish;
Ma perdendo chi è rea Sifare assolva. but in losing her who is guilty, absolve Sifare.

MITRIDATE: MITRIDATE:
Sifare? Ah scellerata! Sifare? Ah, you wretch!
E vuoi ch’io creda fido a me chi ti piacque And do you expect me to believe that the man you
E chi tuttora occupa il tuo pensier? love, who constantly occupies your thoughts, is
No, lo condanna la tua stessa pietà. loyal to me? No, your very pity condemns him.
Di mia vendetta teco vittima ei sia. Along with you he will be the victim of my
vengeance.

Scene III Scene 3


Arbate e detti. Arbate enters.

4 Recitativo Recitative
ARBATE: ARBATE:
Mio Re, t’affretta o a salvarti, o a pugnar. My King, hasten to either save yourself or fight.
Scesa sul lido l’oste romana Landing on the beach, the Roman army
In un momento in fuga le tue schiere ha rivolte, has in one moment put your troops to flight, and
E a queste mura già reca orrido assalto. is already launching a savage attack on these
walls.
MITRIDATE:
Avete, o Numi, più fulmini per me? MITRIDATE:
Alla difesa corrasi, Arbate. O Gods, have you still more thunderbolts for me?
(ad Aspasia) We must rush to our defence, Arbate.
Del disastro mio tu non godrai, (to Aspasia)
Donna infedele: addio. You will not take pleasure in my misfortune,
faithless woman; farewell.

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5 No. 20, Aria No. 20, Aria
MITRIDATE: MITRIDATE:
Vado incontro al fato estremo, I go to meet my final destiny,
Crudo ciel, sorte spietata; cruel Heaven, pitiless fate;
Ma frattanto un’alma ingrata but meanwhile an ungrateful soul
L’ombra mia precederà. will precede my shadow.
(parte, seguito da Arbate e dalle Guardie Reali) (he exits, followed by Arbate and the Royal Guard)

Scena IV Scene 4

6 Recitativo Recitative
ASPASIA: ASPASIA:
Lagrime intempestive, a che dal ciglio Untimely tears, for what reason do you, in spite
Malgrado mi scendete ad inondarmi il sen? of myself, fall from my eyes and flood my breast?
Di debolezza tempo or non è. Now is not the time for weakness.
Con più coraggio attenda il termine de’ mali un An unhappy woman must await the end of her
infelice: torments with more courage:
Già quell’ultimo addio tutto mi dice. already that last farewell tells me all.
(viene un Moro, il quale presenta ad Aspasia (a Moor enters, and presents to Aspasia a cup of
sopra una sottocoppa la tazza del veleno) poison on a tray)

7 Recitativo accompagnato Accompanied Recitative


ASPASIA: ASPASIA:
Ah ben ne fui presaga! Ah, my foreboding was justified!
Il dono estremo di Mitridate ecco recato. Here is Mitridate’s final gift.
O destra, temerai d’appressarti al fatal nappo tu, O right hand, will you be afraid to approach
Che ardita al collo mi porgesti le funi? the fatal cup, having so boldly placed the noose
Eh no, si prenda, around my neck? Ah, no, let me take it,
(Aspasia prende in mano la tazza, ed il Moro si (Aspasia takes the cup in her hand, and the Moor
ritira) leaves)
E si ringrazi il donator. and give thanks to the donor.
Per lui ritorno in libertà; Through him I regain my liberty;
Per lui poss’io dispor della mia sorte through him I can decide my own fate,
E nella tomba col fin della mia vita and at the end of my life find in the grave
Quella pace trovar, che m’è rapita. the peace that was stolen from me.

M O Z A R T / M I T R I D AT E , R E D I P O N T O 79
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8 No. 21, Cavatina No. 21, Cavatina
ASPASIA: ASPASIA:
Pallid’ombre, che scorgete Pale shadows, who
Dagli Elisi i mali miei, from Elysium see my misery,
Deh pietose a me rendete ah, take pity and restore to me
Tutto il ben che già perdei. all the happiness which I have now lost.

9 Recitativo accompagnato Accompanied Recitative


ASPASIA: ASPASIA:
Bevasi... Let me drink...
Ahimè, qual gelo trattien la man?... Alas, what icy chill is holding back my hand?...
Qual barbara conturba idea la mente? What cruel thought confuses my mind?
In questo punto ah forse beve la morte sua Sifare At this moment, perhaps Sifare too is drinking his
ancora. death!
Oh timor, che mi accora! Oh, what fear consumes me!
Oh immagine funesta! Fia dunque ver? Oh tragic vision! Can it be true then?
No, l’innocenza i Numi ha sempre in suo favor. No, innocence always has the Gods on its side.
D’Eroe sì grande veglian tutti in difesa, They will all be vigilant in defending so great a
E se v’è in cielo chi pur s’armi in suo danno, hero, and if there is anyone in Heaven who might
L’ire n’estinguerà questo, che in seno take arms against him, such anger will be quelled
Sacro a Nemesi or verso atro veleno. by this deadly poison which I now pour into me in
(in atto di bere) honour of Nemesis.
(about to drink)

Scene V Scene 5
Sifare con seguito di soldati e detta. Sifare enters with his troops.

10 Recitativo Recitative
SIFARE: SIFARE:
Che fai, Regina? What are you doing, Queen?

ASPASIA: ASPASIA:
Ah, sei pur salvo? Ah, you are safe then?

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SIFARE: SIFARE:
Ismene franse a tempo i miei ceppi. Ismene broke my chains in time.
Al suol si spanda la bevanda letal. Let the lethal potion spill on the floor.
(gli toglie di mano la tazza e la getta per terra) (he seizes the cup and hurls it to the ground)

ASPASIA: ASPASIA:
Non vedi, incauto, Can you not see, reckless one,
Che più lungo il penar forse mi rendi, that perhaps you make my suffering longer,
E nuovamente il genitore offendi? and further offend your father?

SIFARE: SIFARE:
Serbisi Aspasia in vita, Aspasia must be kept alive,
E poi del resto abbian cura gli Dei. and then let the Gods take care of the rest.
Per tua custodia, finchè dura la pugna, Those soldiers are for your protection
Vengano quegli armati. for as long as the battle lasts.

ASPASIA: ASPASIA:
E mi lasci così? And you leave me like this?

SIFARE: SIFARE:
Dover più sacro da te lontano, A more sacred duty far from you,
O cara, il tuo Sifare or chiama. my darling, now summons Sifare.
A Mitridate accanto là roterò la spada. At Mitridate’s side I shall wield my sword.
Ei benché ingiusto, ahi pur m’è padre! Though he was unjust, ah, he is still my father!
E se nol salvo ancora, tutto ho perduto, And if I do not save him now, I have lost everything,
Ed ho la vita a sdegno. and shall hold life in contempt.

ASPASIA: ASPASIA:
Oh di padre miglior figlio ben degno! Oh, the better son is worthy of his father!
(parte, seguita da’ soldati suddetti) (she exits, followed by her escort)

M O Z A R T / M I T R I D AT E , R E D I P O N T O 81
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Scena VI Scene 6

11 Recitativo Recitative
SIFARE: SIFARE:
Che mi val questa vita, What is this life worth,
In cui goder non spero where I cannot hope to enjoy
Un momento di bene, in cui degg’io a moment of happiness, where I must
In eterno contrasto in eternal conflict
Fra l’amore ondeggiar, e ‘l dover mio? waver between love and my duty?
Se ancor me la togliete, If you now rob me of it,
Io vi son grato, o Dei. I shall be grateful to you, o Gods.
Troppo compensa quei dì ch’io perdo, il vanto Too great a compensation for the days that I shall
Di morire innocente e chi in sembianza lose is the honour of dying innocent, and the man
Può chiudergli d’Eroe visse abbastanza. who can die a hero has lived for long enough.

12 No. 22, Aria No. 22, Aria


SIFARE: SIFARE:
Se il rigor d’ingrata sorte If the severity of ungrateful fortune
Rende incerta la mia fede, makes my faith uncertain,
Ah palesi almen la morte ah, let death at least reveal
Di quest’alma il bel candor. the fair purity of my soul.

D’una vita io son già stanco I am already weary of a life


Che m’espone al mondo in faccia which exposes me in front of the world,
A dover l’indegna taccia having to tolerate
Tollerar di traditor. the shameful censure of ‘traitor’.
(si ritira) (he leaves)

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Scena VII Scene 7
Interno di torre corrispondente alle mura di The interior of a tower adjoining the walls of
Ninfea. Farnace incatenato, e sedente sopra un Nymphaea. Farnace is in chains, seated on a
sasso. stone.

13 Recitativo Recitative
FARNACE: FARNACE:
Sorte crudel, stelle inimiche, i frutti Cruel fate, hostile stars, are these the fruits
Son questi, che raccolgo da sì belle speranze? that I reap from such promising hopes?
Io di più regni primogenito erede I, the first-born, heir to many kingdoms,
Siedo ad un sasso, e invece sit on a stone, and instead
Di calcar soglio ho la catena al piede? of ascending the throne I am chained by the foot?
Oh Ciel, qual odo strepito d’armi... Oh Heaven, what great clashing of arms do I hear?
(vedesi aprire nel muro una gran breccia, (a wide breach is seen opening in the wall, through
per cui entra Marzio seguito da’ suoi soldati) which Marzio enters, followed by his soldiers)
A replicati colpi What external force
Qual forza esterna i muri struck the walls with repeated blows
Percosse ed or gli atterra! È’ sogno il mio and now demolishes them? Is this a dream,
O vegliando vaneggio? or am I awake and delirious?
Che più temer, che più sperar degg’io? What more must I fear or hope for?

Scena VIII Scene 8


Marzio con seguito di Romani e ditto. Marzio enters with his Roman retinue.

14 Recitativo Recitative
MARZIO: MARZIO:
Teco i patti, Farnace, Roman loyalty honours
Serba la fé Romana. its vows with you, Farnace.
(viene sciolto Farnace, e un romano gli porge (Farnace is freed, and a Roman soldier brings him
l’armi) arms)

FARNACE: FARNACE:
Ah Marzio, amico, invano Ah Marzio, my friend,
Io dunque non sperai... so I did not hope in vain...

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MARZIO: MARZIO:
Dal campo, in cui del tuo periglio, Barely having left the camp
O Prence, fui spettator, uscito appena in which I witnessed your peril, o Prince,
Un legno trovo al lido e v’ascendo. I find a small boat on the beach and climb into it.
Arride il vento alle mie brame impazienti. The wind smiles at my impatient wishes.
Al Duce prima dell’armi, indi a’ soldati Firstly to the general of the army and then to the
Io narro il fiero insulto, i rischi tuoi. soldiers I recount the fierce insult I received and the
Ne freme quel popolo d’Eroi, chiede vendetta, risks you took. That race of heroes fumes about it,
Dispiega i lin, l’ancore scioglie clamours for revenge, unfurls the sails, lifts anchor
E vola ver Ninfea furibondo. and flies towards Nymphaea in a fury.
Invan contrasta allo sbarco improvviso In vain a disorderly rabble of Asiatic warriors
D’Asiatici guerrieri disordinata turba, resists the unexpected landing,
E il primo io sono la nota torre ad assalir. and I am the first to assail this familiar tower.
Fugati son dai merli i custodi, The guards are fled from the battlements,
E al grave urtar delle ferrate travi and under the heavy shock of the iron battering
Crolla il muro, si fende, e un varco al fine rams
M’apron libero a te quelle rovine. the wall crumbles, splits, and these ruins
eventually open up for me a clear passage to you.
FARNACE:
Oh sempre in ogni impresa FARNACE:
Fortunato ed invitto genio Roman! Oh, the Roman genius is always
Ma il padre? fortunate and invincible in every enterprise!
But my father?
MARZIO:
O estinto, o vivo MARZIO:
Sarà dall’armi nostre il più illustre trofeo. Whether he is dead or alive
De’ tuoi seguaci lo stuol disperso intanto he will be the most illustrious trophy of our forces.
Salvo ti vegga e t’accompagni al trono, The dispersed band of your followers, meanwhile,
Di cui Roma al suo amico oggi fa dono. should see you safe and accompany you to the
throne, of which Rome today makes a gift to its
friend.

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15 No. 23, Aria No. 23, Aria
MARZIO: MARZIO:
Se di regnar sei vago, If you long to reign,
Già pago è il tuo desìo, your desire is now fulfilled,
E se vendetta vuoi and if you want vengeance
Di tutti i torti tuoi on all the wrongs you have endured,
Da te dipenderà. it will be up to you.

Di chi ti volle oppresso The arrogance of the one who wished you
Già la superbia è doma, to be crushed is now tamed,
Mercè il valor di Roma, thanks to the valour of Rome,
Mercè quel fato istesso and thanks to that same destiny
Che ognor ti seguirà. which will always follow you.
(parte col suo seguito) (he exits with his followers)

Scena IX Scene 9

16 Recitativo accompagnato Accompanied recitative


FARNACE: FARNACE:
Vadasi... Oh ciel, I must go... Oh Heaven,
Ma dove spingo l’ardito piè? but where shall I direct my bold steps?
Ah vi risento, o sacre di natura voci possenti, Ah, I hear you again, o sacred, powerful
O fieri rimorsi del mio cor. voices of nature, o proud remorse of my heart.
Empio a tal segno, no, ch’io non son, No, I am not wicked to such a degree,
E a questo prezzo, a questo and at this price, for this,
Trono, Aspasia, Romani, io vi detesto. throne, Aspasia, Romans, I detest you.

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17 No. 24, Aria No. 24, Aria
FARNACE: FARNACE:
Già dagli occhi il velo è tolto, Already the veil is lifted from my eyes;
Vili affetti io v’abbandono: vile affections, I abandon you.
Son pentito, e non ascolto, I am repentant, and listen only
Che i latrati del mio cor. to the howlings of my heart.

Tempo è omai, che al primo impero It is high time that reason


La ragione in me ritorni; returns to rule in me;
Già ricalco il bel sentiero now I retrace the fair path
Della gloria, e dell’onor. of glory and honour.
(parte) (he exits)

Scena X Scene 10

Atrio terreno, corrispondente a gran cortile nella A ground-floor hall adjoining a grand courtyard
Reggia di Ninfea, da cui si scorgono in lontano in the Palace of Nymphaea, beyond which in the
i navigli romani, che abbruciano sul mare. distance the Roman fleet can be seen burning at
Nell’aprirsi della scena, preceduto intanto dalle sea. The scene opens with Mitridate, preceded
sue guardie e portato sopra una spezie di cocchio by his guards, being carried in wounded on a
formato dall’intreccio di vari scudi si avanza litter made from shields. At his side come Sifare
Mitridate ferito. Gli vengono al fianco Sifare ed and Arbate, while the remaining soldiers follow
Arbate e lo siegue il rimanente delle milizie. behind.

18 Recitativo Recitative
MITRIDATE: MITRIDATE:
Figlio, amico, non più. Son, friend, no more.
La sorte mia dall’amor vostro esige altro che My fate demands more than tears from your love.
pianto. If untimely death cuts short my plans,
Se morte intempestiva tronca i disegni miei, if it is not given for Mitridate to breathe further,
Se a Mitridate spirar più non è dato, come bramò as he craved, in the heart of a charred Rome,
Dell’arsa Roma in seno, at least a foreign sword cannot claim credit for
Brando straniero almeno non ha l’onor del colpo. the blow.

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Ei cade estinto, He falls dying,
Ma di sua mano, e vincitor, non vinto. but by his own hand, and as victor, not
vanquished.
SIFARE:
Perchè, avverso destino, atto sì disperato SIFARE:
Prevenir non potei! Why, hostile fate, was I not able
to prevent such a desperate act?
MITRIDATE:
Per tempo ancora giungesti, o figlio. MITRIDATE:
Hanno i miei sguardi estremi la tua fè rimirata You have still come in good time, my son.
E ‘l tuo valore. My last glances have admired your loyalty
Per te prostrate al suolo and your courage.
Giaccion l’aquile altere. Because of you the proud eagles of Rome
Presso a cader poc’anzi del nemico lie prostrate on the ground.
in poter ebbi in orrore, Almost falling a short while ago into the hands
Che pria morir, che d’incontrarla elessi. of the enemy, I was horrified,
Potessi almen, potessi and chose to die rather than to surrender to them.
Egual premio a tant’opre... If only I could at least
give a fitting reward for such deeds...
Scena XI
Aspasia e detti. Scene 11
Aspasia enters.
19 Recitativo
MITRIDATE: Recitative
Ah vieni, o dolce dell’amor mio tenero oggetto, MITRIDATE:
E scopo di mie furie infelice. Ah come, sweet, tender object of my love,
Ad esse il cielo non invan ti sottrasse, and unhappy recipient of my fury.
E puoi tu sola scontar gli obblighi miei. Heaven did not free you from it in vain,
Scarsa mercede sarebbe a un figlio tal scettro e and you alone can repay my obligations.
corona My sceptre and crown would be scant reward for
Senza la destra tua. my son
without your hand in marriage.

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Dal grato padre l’abbia egli in dono, May he receive it as a gift from a grateful father,
e possa eterno obblìo and may eternal oblivion
Frattanto cancellar dai vostri cori meanwhile remove from your hearts
La memoria crudel de’ miei furori. the cruel memory of my fury.

ASPASIA: ASPASIA
Vivi, o Signor, e ad ambi almen conserva, Live, my lord, and for both of us at least preserve,
Se felici ne vuoi, if you wish us to be happy,
Il maggior d’ogni ben ne’ giorni tuoi. the greatest gift of all in your remaining days.

MITRIDATE: MITRIDATE:
Già vissi, Aspasia. I have already lived, Aspasia.
Omai provvedi, o figlio, alla tua sicurezza. Now let my son provide for your security.

SIFARE: SIFARE:
Ah lascia, o padre, Oh, father, let me first go
Che pria sul reo Farnace vada a punir... to punish the wicked Farnace…

Scena XII Scene 12


Ismene con Farnace, che si getta a piedi di Ismene enters with Farnace, who throws himself at
Mitridate e detti. Mitridate’s feet.

20 Recitativo Recitative
ISMENE: ISMENE:
Reo non si chiami, o Sire, Let him not be called guilty, Sir,
Chi reca illustri prove al regio piede who brings to the feet of the King illustrious proof
Del pentimento suo, della sua fede. of his repentance and loyalty.
Opra son di Farnace quegl’incendi, che miri. Those fires that you see are the work of Farnace.
Egli di Roma volse in danno quell’armi, He wreaked havoc on the Roman armies,
E quella libertà ch’ebbe da lei, and as for the liberty he received from them,
Né per tornare innanzi he was not ashamed to show them ingratitude
Col bel nome di figlio al padre amato in order to return to his beloved father
Ebbe rossor di diventarle ingrato. bearing the treasured name of ‘son’.

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MITRIDATE: MITRIDATE:
Numi, qual nuova è questa gioia per me! O Gods, what new joy is this for me!
Sorgi, o Farnace, e vieni agli amplessi paterni. Rise, Farnace, and come to your father’s arms.
(si alza Farnace e bacia al padre la mano) (Farnace stands up and kisses his father’s hand)
Già rendo a te la tenerezza mia. Now I restore my tenderness to you.
Basta così: moro felice appieno. This is enough; I die entirely happy.

21 No. 25, Coro No. 25, Chorus


ASPASIA, SIFARE, ISMENE, ARBATE, FARNACE: ASPASIA, SIFARE, ISMENE, ARBATE, FARNACE:
Non si ceda al Campidoglio, Let us not give in to the Capitol.
Si resista a quell’orgoglio, Let us resist that pride which still
Che frenarsi ancor non sa. does not know how to restrain itself.
Guerra sempre e non mai pace The arrogant spirit which sets out
Da noi abbia un Genio altero, to rob the entire world of its freedom
Che pretende al mondo intero will always receive war from us,
D’involar la libertà. and never peace.

English translation © Ian Page, 2014

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What the critics said about Classical Opera’s
previous recordings
“My personal pick for giving this year is Classical Opera’s glorious The A-Z
of Mozart Opera, which is fresh, diverse, insightful and illuminating...
an auspicious début recording of intelligence, finesse and quality.”
Gramophone (The A-Z of Mozart Opera)

“Conductor, instrumentalists and singers alike make sound the servant of the
sense, with stylish, eloquent and dramatic music-making of the highest order.”
International Record Review (Blessed Spirit – a Gluck retrospective)

“The performance is thrilling, with exemplary singing and playing.”


Gramophone (Arne: Artaxerxes)

“This is a fine achievement… Tempos, balance and phrasing all convey the
impression we are in the company of that rare beast, an instinctive Mozartian.”
Opera (Mozart: Apollo et Hyacinthus)

“An auspicious and thrilling start to what will surely prove to be an historic
recording project. Bravo!”
SA-CD.net (Mozart: Apollo et Hyacinthus)

“In the hands of conductor Ian Page and his superb line-up of soloists, the work has a
freshness and zip which is irresistible.”
Sinfinimusic.com (Mozart: Die Schuldigkeit des ersten Gebots)

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