Our Favourite Operatic Couples

25 January 2024

Every year on 25 January Wales celebrates love in all its forms to mark Diwrnod Santes Dwynwen (St Dwynwen’s Day).What better way to for us at Welsh National Opera to commemorate our patron saint of lovers and celebrate her life and legacy than by looking at some of our favourite couples in opera.

1. Alfredo and Violetta  

These two may be the most famous couple in the whole opera repertoire. From one of Verdi’s most popular operas, La traviata is the love story of the illustrious, young courtesan Violetta and her beloved Alfredo. After meeting at Violetta’s lavish party in her Paris salon, Alfredo sings a Brindisi (a drinking song) and later confesses his feelings for her.  

2. Figaro and Susanna 

Of all the couples listed here, Figaro and Susanna from Mozart’s eternal opera The Marriage of Figaro (1786) come out on top as the ultimate power couple. While obstacles are hurled in their way, including Count Almaviva’s attempts to seduce Susanna, their faith never falters in one another. At the beginning of the opera, the pair are excitedly preparing for their wedding, Figaro measuring out the space for their bed and Susanna trying on her bridal bonnet.  

3. Papageno and Papagena  

Forget Pamina and Tamino from Mozart’s The Magic Flute (1791), the love shared between Papageno, the bird catcher, and Papagena is wholesome and perhaps one of the sweetest in all of opera. In a moment of despair towards the end of the opera, Papageno is reminded by the Three Young Ones that he can call for his beloved Papagena by using his magic bells. When she appears for him they are so excited to see one another they stutter each other’s names in a lovely duet Pa - pa – pa - 

4. Mimì and Rodolfo  

The meeting of Mimì and Rodolfo in Puccini’s La bohème (1896) is nothing short of a whirlwind from a fairytale romance. On a chilly Christmas Eve, Mimì asks her neighbour Rodolfo for a light for her candle, and after stumbling around in the dark they find one another. O soave fanciulla (Oh lovely girl) is the moment when they realise they have fallen in love.   

5. Fiordiligi & Guglielmo and Dorabella & Ferrando  

Mozart’s Così fan tutte, also known as the School for Lovers (1790) features not one, but two teenage couples.In a bet to try and prove to Don Alfonso of their girlfriends’ loyalty to them, Ferrando and Guglielmo pretend to go off to war. The girls are completely distraught and promise to remain faithful to them. These couples would make for a bit of a dramatic double date (!) 

If these couples have inspired you to embrace the spirit of Diwrnod Santes Dwynwen (St Dwynwen’s Day), why not come with your loved ones to seeour brand-new version of Mozart’s Così fan tutte, opening in Cardiff on 24 February before touring across Wales and England until 10 May 2024.