Saturday, October 06, 2012

Handel and Ariosto, Together Again

Breakfast music: Handel's Ariodante with Alan Curtis' Il Complesso Barocco, and Joyce di Donato in the castrato role.  The plot, once again, come from Ariosto's Orlando Furioso and where would baroque opera be without him?  Here's a study tracing the same story into Spenser and Shakespeare.
Ch'agli nemici gli uomini sien crudi,
in ogni età se n'è veduto esempio;
ma dar la morte a chi procuri e studi
il tuo ben sempre, è troppo ingiusto et empio.
E acciò che meglio il vero io ti denudi,
perché costor volessero far scempio
degli anni verdi miei contra ragione,
ti dirò da principio ogni cagione.

Men seek, we see, and have in every age,
To foil their foes and tread them in thee dust
But there to wrek their rancor and their rage
Where they are loved is foul and too unjust.
Love should prevail just anger to assuage;
If love bring death, whereto can women trust?
Yet love did breed my danger and my fear,
As you shal hear if you will give me ear.
So Dalinda, handmaiden and unwitting instrument of evil, telling her own story: Canto five, verse six of Orlando, as translated by Sir John Harrington.  A Renaissance declaration opposing violence against women, what a concept.

A propos of nothing in particular, Mr. and Mrs. Buce were recalling how much fun we had watching Rossino's Le Comte Ory, ending with that notorious three-in-a-bed involving Juan Diego Flórez, and Diana Damrau. I remarked that DiDonato has an appealing raunchiness while Flórez succeeds in being funny without being particularly sexy.

"Tenors aren't supposed to be sexy," Mrs. B said. "Baritones are sexy. A sexy tenor is just icky."

Well, there's Dennis Day.  Oh, right, that just proves her point.

1 comment:

Taxmom said...

Your factoid of the day: in German Orlando Furioso is "Der Rasende Roland"...(the raging Roland). Picturesque that language is.