Fanfare Topics as Boundary Markers in Mozart's Da Ponte Operas

Andrew Vagts, University of North Texas

Fanfare topics coordinate with galant recitative schema to thematize otherwise formulaic closure in accompanied recitatives from Don Giovanni ("Don Ottavio, son morta!") and Così fan tutte ("Ah scostati"). Mozart tropes the closing function of these fanfare topics in the Count's recitative, "Hai già vinta la causa!" from Le nozze di Figaro. Fanfares throughout this accompanied recitative struggle to push the Count to begin the aria. The delay heightens listeners' expectations as, presumably, the Count will proclaim his punishment for Figaro and Susanna in the forthcoming aria. The lyrical melody and accompaniment pattern in the violins in mm. 24-28 and the addition of the accompaniment pattern to the fanfare in mm. 30-34 suggest an intrusion of lyrical, aria space into recitative space. After demonstrating his reluctance by ignoring the prompting fanfares, the Count finally follows the orchestra's lead into the aria "Vedrò mentre io sospiro."