Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy and Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennet (1995).
Jane Austen, perhaps England's most famous and loved female novelist, was born on December 16, 1775. Austen did not become famous as a writer within her lifetime. She published her work anonymously. Before her death on July 18, 1817, Jane's novels and poetry were mostly read and enjoyed by her supportive family and the well to do literary society.
Austen's fictional writings were commentary on moral issues and the socially acceptable life path of women living in her time. She obviously tried to be more realistic than many previous authors, but often also included a fair amount of humor whilst enlightening the minds of her readers. The women in her stories, as in real life, were dependent on marriage for economic security and social standing. However, Austen made it clear that women have minds of their own, and are as deserving of the freedom to make major decisions for themselves as are men.
Through the 1869 publication of her nephew's 'A Memoir of Jane Austen', her works became more widely known and appreciated. By the middle of the 20th century, Jane Austen had come to be required reading for students in much of the world. Austen is mostly remembered for her novels. Between 1811 and 1816, she published and enjoyed success with 'Sense and Sensibility' (1811), 'Pride and Prejudice' (1813), 'Mansfield Park' (1814) and 'Emma' (1816). 'Northanger Abbey' and 'Persuasion' were released in 1818, after her death. Originally titled 'The Brothers', another novel later renamed 'Sanditon', was left unfinished.
Our 'Today's Tune' is an aria from Mozart's 1784 opera, 'Le Nozze Di Figaro' ('The Marriage Of Figaro'). "Voi Che Sapete" ("Tell Me What Love Is" - Not a literal translation) was the theme music for the BBC's 1995 television adaption of Austin's novel 'Pride And Prejudice'. Although it was also performed by the story's main character Elizabeth Bennet in one scene of the mini-series, I chose to include a performance by Italy's mezzo-soprano opera superstar Cecilia Bartoli, because she is my favorite female opera singer. Ms. Bennet was portrayed by Jennifer Ehle. Colin Firth, who was featured as a singer in a previous 'Today's Tune' entry, played leading man, Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy.