What kind of music is optimistic?

Love duets from operas are. In them, two people who are crazy about each other see a bright future ahead. Even though the course of their true love will not run smooth (an opera needs a plot, after all), at the moment everything looks rosy.

Today, we would like to give you the opportunity to share in that optimism by listening to three love duets that we hope will make you optimistic as the new year begins.

If you are a member of Classical Archives, you can listen to all these selections simply by CLICKING HERE.

First Love Duet:  Figaro and Susanna Measure their Bedroom in Le Nozze di Figaro (“The Marriage of Figaro”) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Figaro and Susanna, who are both servants to Count Almaviva and his family, are planning to be married the very next day. In this effervescent scene, Figaro is measuring the room they will occupy to see whether their bed – THEIR BED – will fit. While he measures, Susanna tries to direct his attention to the fact that the Count has other plans for her. But for the moment at least, things are looking rosy.

This performance features Judith Halasz as Susanna and Renato Girolami as Figaro. Michael Halasz conducts the Nicolas Esterhazy Sinfonia.

Second Love Duet: The Flying Dutchman and Senta Foresee Happiness in der Fliegende Höllander (“The Flying Dutchman”) by Richard Wagner

In this duet, the Dutchman and Senta sing of their ecstatic love for one another. What could possibly go wrong, when the Dutchman is a supernatural being who has been condemned to sail the seas endlessly until he finds a woman who will love him? What couldn’t work out, when he is pinning his hopes for redemption on poor little innocent Senta? Let’s just say that just about everything will go wrong. But for the moment, let’s bask in the white heat of their hopeful expectations.

This stellar performance features the unparalleled bass-baritone Hans Hotter and the renowned soprano Martha Mödl, with Clemens Krauss conducting the Bavarian State Opera Orchestra.  

Third Love Duet: Sophie and Octavian Sing of their Hopes in der Rosenkavalier (“The Rose Knight”) by Richard Strauss

This love duet is different from the two we just heard, because the lovers have already overcome problems and now know everything will be happy. Octavian has ditched his older girlfriend the Marschallin. Sophie has broken off an arranged engagement to an old blowhard, Baron Ochs. And at the moment, everything looks good. (Because this duet occurs at the end of the opera, we can’t know how well things work out for them.)

This recording features Maria Reining as the Marschallin and Erna Berger as Sophie. Erich Kleiber conducts the Bavarian State Opera Orchestra.

So, is there reason to think that 2021 will be a lot better than 2020 was? Yes. Let’s place our faith in the lovers. It will be!

Wishing everyone the happiest and safest new year ever.

Cute couple! Ludwig and Malvina Schorr, the first Tristan and Isolde, in the opera’s premiere in 1865