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Ah! perfido, Op 65

author of text
recitative text
author of text
aria text

Ah! Perfido looks backwards in text and models and forwards in what Beethoven does with them. The text is partially by Pietro di Metastasio (1698-1782), doyen of librettists for the formal kind of opera seria which was already falling out of fashion when the 21-year-old Mozart wrote Idomeneo, his first operatic masterpiece. In 1796 Beethoven was wrestling with operatic ideas that would only find fruit in Fidelio a decade later, but he also evidently learnt from Mozart’s concert arias how to shape a formal lament without the encouraging sniff of greasepaint. Indeed, once past the formal exclamations of the recitative, the aria alternates compassion and fury with an ambition that looks beyond the innovations of Gluck towards an embrace of feminine sympathy that would, half a century later, become synonymous with Verdi in characters such as Violetta.

from notes by John Wates © 2010


Beethoven: Mass in C major
Rossini, Mozart & Beethoven: LCO Live
SIGCD201Download only


Track 9 on SIGCD201 [13'30] Download only
Part 1: Scena: Ah! perfido, spergiuro
Track 7 on CDH55263 [3'17]
Part 2: Aria: Per pietŕ, non dirmi addio
Track 8 on CDH55263 [9'52]

Track-specific metadata for CDH55263 track 8

Aria: Per pietŕ, non dirmi addio
Recording date
25 September 1995
Recording venue
Blackheath Concert Halls, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Mark Brown
Recording engineer
Antony Howell & Julian Millard
Hyperion usage
  1. Beethoven: Mass in C major (CDA66830)
    Disc 1 Track 8
    Release date: April 1996
    Deletion date: November 2005
    Superseded by CDH55263
  2. Beethoven: Mass in C major (CDH55263)
    Disc 1 Track 8
    Release date: October 2006
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