Ascolti comparati: Per pietà, ben mio (Così fan tutte)

Felicie Hüni-Mihacsek & Lisa Della Casa

Per pietà, ben mio, perdona

All’error d’un alma amante;

Fra quest’ombre, e queste piante

Sempre ascoso, oh Dio, sarà!

Svenerà quest’empia voglia

L’ardir mio, la mia costanza,

Perderà la rimembranza

Che vergogna e orror mi fa.

A chi mai mancò di fede

Questo vano, ingrato cor?

Si dovea miglior mercede,

Caro bene, al tuo candor.

Così fan tutte, opera, K. 588- O verzeih, verzeih, Geliebter

Immagine anteprima YouTube


Felicie Hüni-Mihacsek (1891 – 1976) was an Hungarian soprano. She studied in Vienna with Rose Papier-Baumgartner, began her career at the Hamburg State Opera in 1916 and made her debut at the Vienna State Opera in 1919 creating the Falcon in the world premiere of Richard Strauss’s „Die Frau ohne Schatten“. She remained in Vienna until 1925 and when Berta Kiurina left the Vienna State Opera in 1922 she took over most of her roles. From 1926-1945 she remained at the Munich State Opera. She also appeared at the Salzburg Festival, in Mozart roles such as Konstanze, Countess Almaviva, Donna Anna, Fiordiligi, both Pamina and the Queen of the Night. Guest appearances in Frankfurt, Dresden, Zurich, London, Prague, and Budapest, and she created Pfitzner’s „Das Herz“ in Munich in 1931. After 1945, she appeared mostly in concert and began teaching giving her farewell performance in Munich as the Marschallin in 1953. Mihacsek was a very versatile singer with an exceptionally solid technique (and good  agility!), with great vocal control and skill and excellent projection. In addition, her singing also had great vibrancy, spontaneity and charm. Her repertory stretched from Mozart over Verdi (Forza, Ballo, Trovatore, even Gilda!) to Strauss (Marschallin) and Wagner (Elisabeth, Eva, Sieglinde). A delightful and unjustly underrated singer!

Della Casa, too, was a highly-esteemed Mozart (and Strauss) singer – yet Fiordiligi was not among her best roles. One instantly hears why: the voice is really quite lyric and although she skillfully adapts it to the role´s demands, she is not on top of it. It is also less equal throughout the range, especially the lower notes are rather pale and the high ones lack fullness and real ease. The „Viennese Mozart Ensemble“ after World War II is actually where today´s „Mozart.-style“ is rooted: less colourful and „flesh-and-blood“, more puppet-like and „intellectual“ crooning. – Sophisticated boredom.

This difficult aria of Fiordiligi is full of pitfalls and Della Casa falls into each one of them. All she really does is trying to both maintain her beautiful silvery tone throughout the piece while struggling with the vocal demands of the aria. But she essentially remains pale and meaningless and without accenti – diction and meaning of the words VERY much neglected – whereas Hüni-Mihacsek masters them not only well but with poise and aplomb and shows a masterful legato: take the difficult leap of „sempre ascOOOsOO“ (cleverly resolved by H.-M. while Della Casa just plumps down) or „che vergogna e orror mi fa“ and „all’error d’un alma amante“ (6:11) which mercilessly shows Della Casa´s weak low register. No change of mood at all at „a chi mai mancò di fede“ (listen to H.-M.´s „Ach und wem brachst Du die Treue“ instead!). The whole ending from 7:20 on is just a struggle on Della Casa´s side to get it over with. Apart from being vocally superior and much more imaginative as a singer Hüni-Mihacsek shows what it is about: mastering vocal difficulties in an expert way in order to have freedom of expression – with a smile and a wink of the eye.

3 pensieri su “Ascolti comparati: Per pietà, ben mio (Così fan tutte)

  1. Eh che brava la Mihacsek.
    Giustamente erede di Berta Kiurina, anzi, nei Walzer
    anche meglio di lei.
    A me la voce della Della Casa e’ sempre piaciuta tanto,
    e non solo la voce, ma la Felicie e’ altro pianeta, e che
    uguaglinza. Poco conosciuta da noi, peccato. Be’ del resto
    anche la Kiurina nel nostro paese non e’ che sia
    particolarmente apprezzata.

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