'Durch Zartlichkeit Und Schmeicheln,' Mozart's Lesser-Known Aria

Translation and History

Painted portrait of Mozart sitting at his piano.

Unknown/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

The glorious aria "Durch Zartlichkeit Und Schmeicheln" comes from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s famous opera, "Die Entführung aus dem Serail," or "The Abduction From the Seraglio," composed between 1781 and 1782. Known as a “singspiel” opera, which is German for “sing-play,” it features spoken dialogue, rather than being entirely sung. The opera’s libretto was written by Christoph Friedrich Bretzne, with adaptions made by Johann Gottlieb Stephanie. Mozart received the libretto prior to writing the music. At one point during composition, he expressed in a letter to his father that changes must be made to the libretto in order for him to score the opera as he envisioned. The change was so great, a new plot for the opera had to be introduced. Thankfully, Gottlieb Stephanie was willing to work with Mozart despite having much work of his own to do, and Mozart was able to finish his opera.

Plot Setting

"Durch Zartlichkeit Und Schmeicheln" is sung by Blonde in the opera’s second act. Blonde is the maidservant of Konstanze, both of whom were captured by pirates and sold to the Pasha and the mean overseer, Osmin. Blonde has become the object of Osmin’s desire, but she is betrothed to Pedrillo, the servant of Belmonte, and remains steadfastly loyal to him. When Osmin enters Blonde’s room and forces himself upon her, she vehemently refuses him and fights his advances. In this aria, she dictates the ways he can win her over: tenderness and flattery, and kindness and joking. The stubborn Osmin remains unmoved.

Hear the Opera

There are hundreds of online recordings of Mozart’s aria "Durch Zartlichkeit Und Schmeicheln" performed by world-renowned sopranos, up-and-coming sopranos, and other singers.

'Durch Zartlichkeit Und Schmeicheln' Translation

The Lyrics in German are as follows:

Durch Zärtlichkeit und Schmeicheln,
Gefälligkeit und Scherzen
Erobert man die Herzen
Der guten Mädchen leicht.
Doch mürrisches Befehlen,
Und Poltern, Zanken, Plagen
Macht, dass in wenig Tagen
So Lieb' als Treu' entweicht.

They translate to English as:

By tenderness and flattery,
Kindness and joking
You’ll conquer the heart
Of this good maiden.
But crabby commands,
Rumbling, bickering, and plagues
Will cause in a few days
Love and faithfulness to escape.

In TV and Film

Though IMDb has a listing with over 1,000 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart credits, you won’t find "Durch Zartlichkeit Und Schmeicheln" anywhere. You will, however, find a few instances where music from the aria’s opera "Die Entführung aus dem Serailis listed, including the fantastic 1984 movie "Amadeus." This film tells the story of Mozart’s life according to his musical rival, Antonio Salieri.


Unknown. "Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart." IMDB, 2019.