Abstract for Music Analysis Forum

This study examines some peculiar moments in opera, when music suggests something more—and other—than what words reveal, and attempts to theorise the tension between the two arts in connection with performance. The starting point for the discussion is the trio ‘Vengo… aspettate… Sesto!…’ (No. 10) from Mozart’s ‘last’ opera La clemenza di Tito (1791), in which Vitellia betrays, I shall argue, two conflicting emotions (hence ambivalence) through the tension between music and words. Drawing on the work by Carl Gustav Jung, I identify these conflicting forces as anima and persona, and discuss their musical manifestation and dramatic implication in Mozart’s operas. My points will be twofold: the tension between music and words is the very source of drama, or rather the tension itself is the drama; and, as a corollary, this tension serves as a powerful stage direction for opera performance. As an envoi to this study, I shall take my analysis as a partial response to a recent debate on the ‘problem of opera’ by James O. Young (and Peter Kivy) and Michael Spitzer. (175 words)