Relayed from The Patti Pavilion, Swansea
The National Orchestra of Wales
(Cerddorfa Genedlaethol Cymru)
Leader, Louis Levitus
Conducted by Warwick Braithwaite
In the first act of Mozart's sparkling opera Don Giovanni, the pathetic figure of Donna Elvira has the stage for a little while to herself. She sings of her grief at her betrayal by the Don and her hatred of him. He, as it happens, is not far off, and, hearing the voice of a lady in distress, hurries forward to offer consolation. Recognizing her at once, however, he makes his escape, and sends his servant Leporello, to take his place and calm the fair one's agitation. The servant seeks to distract the lady by recounting the list of his master's many conquests over the fair sex, telling her that he has made a catalogue of them, from which he proceeds to read. The numbers which he has recorded in different lands reach a truly startling total. The song is often spoken of as 'the Catalogue aria.'
In Mozart's opera Figaro, the page Cherubino, dancing attendance on the Countess, is rather more attentive to her than his master the Count thinks at all desirable, and it is decided that the lad must embark on a more manly career. The Count arranges for him to join the Army, and in this merry song, Figaro, the Count's major-domo, chaffs him unmercifully; Now no more,' he tells him, shall you spend your days amid ladies' smiles, surrounded by laces and ribbons, but among the roar of cannons and the clash of arms must you take your way.'