About this Piece
Though it might seem strange to audiences today, a common practice throughout the 18th and 19th centuries was the use of an insertion or “trunk” aria. Depending on the tastes or strengths of the singer performing in a revival of an opera, a new aria written by a later composer would be inserted into another composer’s already finished work, entirely replacing what was sung originally. In 1789, Mozart composed “Schon lacht der holde Frühling” to replace a love song in Giovanni Paisello’s Il barbiere di Siviglia. Mozart’s aria was written for soprano Josepha Hofer, a member of the musical Weber family and sister of Aloysia
Weber (whom he had expressed interest in marrying) and half cousin to Carl Maria von Weber. Josepha was a muse for Mozart and would perform the Queen of the Night role in the premiere of The Magic Flute two years later. Like the famously demanding arias Mozart composed for Josepha as Queen of the Night, “Schon lacht der holde Frühling” was written to highlight the soprano’s technical mastery, complete with difficult leaps and showy runs.
— Ricky O’Bannon