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In late 18th century style? The "Erwin! O schau, du wirst gerochen" from the same opera, or the Elettra arias from Mozart's Idomeneo [ www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ba9K_T5ivTQ&t=27m10s / www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ba9K_T5ivTQ&t=2h22m10s ]. (Btw, when the score of Idomeneo first appeared in print in 1806, Reichardt called it "the purest art work that even our Mozart ever completed.").

the bVI in A flat (altered, A flat minor) acts as a pivot to the I of E major, to transition from A flat major to E major. The iv6 in E major (altered, E minor) acts as a pivot to the V7 of F minor, to transition from E major to F minor. Also note the common-tone diminished 7th chord, CTo7 (the kind of device Schubert famously has in the beginning of his string quintet, and Brahms in his 3rd symphony).

I'm not sure if strictly counts as opera
It counts as opera (though there are elements of liederspiele in it. Consider the "Sieh mich, Heil'ger, wie wie ich bin", "Welch ein Lispen, welch ein Schauer", "Ihr verblühet, süße Rosen", or "Kannst du nicht besänftigt werden?".)
 

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Mit vollen Athemzügen
Saug' ich, Natur, aus Dir
Ein schmerzliches Vergnügen.
Wie lebt,
Wie bebt,
Wie strebt
Das Herz in mir!

Freundlich begleiten
Mich Lüftlein gelinde.
Flohene Freuden
Ach, säuseln in Winde,
Fassen die bebende,
Strebende Brust.
Himmlische Zeiten!
Ach, wie so geschwinde
Dämmert und blicket
Und schwindet die Luft!

Du lachst mir, angenehmes Thal,
Und Du, o reine Himmelssonne,
Erfüllst seit langer Zeit zum ersten Mal
Mein Herz mit süßer Frühlingswonne.

Weh mir! Ach, sonst war meine Seele rein,
Genoß so friedlich Deinen Segen.
Verbirg Dich, Sonne, meiner Pein!
Verwildre Dich, Natur, und stürme mir entgegen!

Die Winde sausen,
Die Ströme brausen,
Die Blätter rascheln
Dürr ab ins Thal.
Auf steiler Höhe,
Auf nackten Felsen
Lieg' ich und flehe.
Auf öden Wegen,
Durch Sturm und Regen,
Fühl' ich und flieh' ich
Und suche die Qual.

Wie glücklich, daß in meinem Herzen
Sich wieder neue Hoffnung regt!
O, wende, Liebe, diese Schmerzen,
Die meine Seele kaum erträgt!


With full breaths
I suck, nature, out of you
A painful pleasure.
how lives
How trembles
How strives
The heart in me!

Accompany in a friendly manner
Air me mildly.
Fled joys
Ah, whisper in the wind,
grasp the trembling,
striving chest.
Heavenly times!
Oh, how quick
Dawns and looks
And vanishes the air!

you laugh at me, pleasant valley,
And you, o pure heavenly sun,
Fulfilled for the first time in a long time
My heart with sweet spring bliss.

Woe is me! Ah, otherwise my soul was pure,
So peacefully enjoyed your blessings.
Hide yourself, sun, from my pain!
Go wild, nature, and storm towards me!

the winds are whistling
the streams roar,
The leaves rustle
Dry off to the valley.
on a steep hill,
On bare rocks
I lie and beg
on desolate paths,
through storm and rain,
I feel and I flee
And seek agony.

How happy that in my heart
New hope stirs again!
O, turn, love, this pain,
which my soul can hardly endure!
 

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Are there specific elements you especially find dramatically intense? Howabout the Neapolitan 6th (prolonged for 2 measures) at 2:33 in the "Mit vollen Athemzügen saug' ich, natur aus dir" (www.youtube.com/watch?v=vsh7xnPS4bw&t=2m33s), or the minor and major second clashes (the flattened submediant and the diminished triads on the dominant pedal) at 1:10 in the "Erwin! O schau, du wirst gerochen" (www.youtube.com/watch?v=ye06cbLrEi8&t=1m10s).
 

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@hammeredklavier For all I know, the aria in the OP could be a Christmass music. Maybe something meant to be dramatic originally, like a mass, or the story of the shepherds being terrified by an angel... But still Chrismass, gingerbread baking, decorating the tree etc. I hope you don't take it personally. I have hinted many times, that I am mostly lost in the music older than 19-th century Romanticism and that I admire your expertise, trusting that there are strong differences for somebody who knows this well.
I understand, as I do when people say they value Wagner over Mozart and find the latter naive in comparison. But doesn't the way the free fantasy section (starting at 3:06; C major -> F minor -> A flat major (-> A flat minor, borrowed) -> A minor -> C minor ) works and contrasts with the rest of the number still give you a feeling of satisfaction or completeness?
 
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