I’m going to just say it, Diana Damrau, both in terms of voice and acting portrayal, is the single best Queen of the Night in history. I don’t care what anyone else says. Her “Der Hölle Rache” is flawless. I mean, absolutely, cannot-be-improved-upon-in-your-face perfect.
It starts at 2:09 into the video if you want to cut to the music. But … man, this woman has got it.
For those of you who don’t know the character, the Queen of the Night was thought by some to represent the Roman Catholic Church and its attempt to bewitch people into believing superstitions and myths to maintain power and control. The translation of this, the most famous song from the opera, is “The vengeance of Hell boils in my heart”. Her enemy, Sarastro, is said to represent wisdom, reason and nature. Mozart, like most rock stars, was subversive.
The translation of her aria is:
The vengeance of Hell boils in my heart,
Death and despair flame about me!
If Sarastro does not through you feel
The pain of death,
Then you will be my daughter nevermore.
Disowned may you be forever,
Abandoned may you be forever,
Destroyed be forever
All the bonds of nature,
If not through you
Sarastro becomes pale! (as death)
Hear, Gods of Revenge,
Hear a mother’s oath!
Diana Damrau is probably best known for this role. She has performed it in more than 15 different productions. And she is always awesome.
Here is where she makes her first entrance in this particular production … she is telling the young man, Tamino, that if he rescues her daughter from Sarastro, her arch enemy, that he can marry her.
Of course, in the end, exposure to light (sun) and knowledge, Sarostra, drives her away and destroys her power. The Queen’s daughter escapes the bondage and lies of her mother and lives happily ever after.