Crudel! perchè finora…
Lorenzo Da Ponte's text takes Pierre-Augustin Beaumarchais' Act III, Scene IX, as its point of departure. The first four lines of Beaumarchais' text are all questions, exchanged alternately by Count Almaviva and Susanna. The two characters then review earlier events of the day with various reproaches, explanations, asides, and more questions (from both characters). Da Ponte modifies the opening of the scene so that the Count has all the questions and Susanna none—she gives explicit answers, partial, evasive, or unsatisfying as they may be. Da Ponte adds to Beaumarchais' text an extra question for the Count, “E non mi mancherai?,” together with Susanna's answer, “No, non vi mancherò.” The extra question portrays the Italian Count as even more suspicious of Susanna than is the French Count. Da Ponte and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart then insert into Beaumarchais' scene an intensive stichomythy, which is called “the question-and-answer review session.”
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