The celebrated Italian mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli at the very beginning of her successful career in 1990. Here she sings Despina's aria Una Donna A Quindici Anni from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's 1790 opera Così Fan Tutte (K 588). Orchestra of Teatro Mercadante di Napoli is conduced by Salvatore Accardo. Video taken from Italian TV Rai Uno. A consummate actress as well as an amazing singer, it was only a matter of time when Bartoli would be catapulted into stardom. So far she has sold more than six million CD-s, a feat rarely achieved by a classical musician who has never made a compromise of going into crossover. An artist of great instinct, she has managed to bring lesser known works by composers such as Vivaldi, Salieri and Haydn to the attention of a broader public.
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Watch videos with other singers performing Una donna a quindici anni:
DESPINA Una donna a quindici anni Dèe saper ogni gran moda, Dove il diavolo ha la coda, Cosa è bene e mal cos'è.
Dèe saper le maliziette Che innamorano gli amanti, Finger riso, finger pianti, Inventar i bei perché.
Dèe in un momento Dar retta a cento; Colle pupille Parlar con mille; Dar speme a tutti, Sien belli o brutti; Saper nascondersi Senza confondersi; Senza arrossire Saper mentire; E, qual regina Dall'alto soglio, Col «posso e voglio» Farsi ubbidir. fra sé Par ch'abbian gusto Di tal dottrina. Viva Despina Che sa servir! parte
English Libretto or Translation:
No. 19 - Aria
DESPINA At fifteen a woman Should know the ways of the world, Where the devil keeps his tail, What's right and what is wrong. She should know the wiles That ensnare lovers, How to feign laughter or tears And to make up good excuses. At one and the same moment She must listen to a hundred But speak with her eyes To a thousand, Hold out hope to all, Be they handsome or plain, Know how to hide things Without getting flustered, Know how to tell lies Without ever blushing. And, like a queen On her lofty throne, Get her own way With „I can“ and „I will“ aside It seems they're taking To this doctrine; Hooray for Despina, She knows how to do it.