“Una Donna Quindici anni”

May 21, 2008



“Una Donna Quindicianni”

Despina’s aria from “Cosi fan tutte”

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart



Una donna quindici anni                           A woman of 15 years

De’e saper ogni gran moda                      Must know all the good methods,

Dove il diavolo ha la coda                       Where the devil keeps his tail,

Cosa e bene, e mal cos’e.                        What’s good and what’s bad.

De’e saper le maliziette                           She must know the little tricks

Che innamorano gli amanti                      That enamor lovers:

Finger riso, finger pianti                          To feign laughter, to feign tears,

Inventar i bei perche.                               And invent good reasons.


De’e in un momento dar retta a cento   She must pay attention to a hundred at a time

Colle pupille parlar con mille                   Speak through her eyes with a thousand

Dar speme a tutti, sien belli o brutti,     Give hope to all, be they handsome or ugly,

Saper nascondersi senza confondersi,   Know how to obfuscate without getting confused

Senz’arrossire saper mentire.               And know how to lie without blushing.

E qual regina dall’alto soglio                                And this queen from her high throne

Col posso e voglio farsi ubbidir.            Can make them obey with, “I can,” and “I want.”

(Par ch’abbian gusto di tal dottrina,     (It seems they like this doctrine,

Viva Despina che sa servir!)                 Long live Despina, who knows how to serve!)



  Act II, Scene I
The act opens in the sisters’ bedroom, with Despina urging them to succumb to the Albanians’ overtures.  After she leaves, Dorabella confesses to Fiordiligi that she is tempted, and the two agree that a mere flirtation will do no harm and will help them pass the time while they wait for their lovers to return.

Check out a video on youtube of this performance:


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