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George Frideric Handel
Rinaldo, HWV 7
Rinaldo's aria from act I, sc.7
Premiere Cast, February 24, 1711:
Rinaldo: Nicolo Grimaldi, castrato
Eustazio: Valentino Urbani, castrato
Armida: Elisabetta Pilotti-Schiavonetti, soprano
Almirena: Isabella Girardeau, soprano
Goffredo: Francesca Vanini-Boschi, contralto
Argante: Giuseppe Boschi, bass
In this video:
Andreas Scholl, countertenor
Direction: Ottavio Dantone
Live performance from Festival de Musique de Dresde, 12 May, 2008
Rinaldo sings this aria after his fiancee Almirena is abducted by the sorceress Armida.
"Rinaldo was first produced at the Queen's (later King's) Theatre in the Haymarket on 24 February 1711. It was Handel's first opera for London, and also the first Italian opera specifically composed for the London stage. The concept of opera as a wholly sung musical drama was still new in Britain, and through the first successful production was an English version of Giovanni Bononcini's Camilla in 1706, the popularity of Italian singers — especially the sensational castrati — swiftly established opera in the Italian language as the standard form.
The action is set at the time of the First Crusade (1096--99). Christian forces led by Goffredo (Godfrey of Bouillon) are laying siege to the city of Jerusalem, held by the Saracen king Argante. With Goffredo are his brother Eustazio and his daughter Almirena, who is in love with the Christian knight Rinaldo. Argante is supported by Armida, Queen of Damascus and a powerful sorceress.
Rinaldo's own aria of lament in Act One, 'Cara sposa', is even more intense, its brooding power sustained by the fully worked and occasionally chromatic counterpoint of the string accompaniment. " - Anthony Hicks
"Like Handel's other operas, Rinaldo fell into oblivion for two hundred years. However, starting in the 1970s, it has been revived regularly and has become part of the standard operatic repertoire. Several arias from this opera, such as 'Lascia ch'io pianga' and 'Cara sposa', have become recitalists' favorites." -Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Cara sposa, amante cara,
Deh! Ritorna a' pianti miei.
Del vostro Erebo sull'ara
colla face del mio sdegno
io vi sfido o spirti rei!
Translation: (by Kenneth Chalmers)
My dear betrothed, my dear one,
where are you?
Come back at my tears!
Evil spirits, I defy you
with the fire of my wrath
on your infernal altar.
Lascia ch'io pianga
Mia cruda sorte,
E che sospiri
Il duolo infranga
De' miei martiri
Sol per pietà.
Let me weep
My cruel fate,
And that I
should have freedom.
The duel infringes
within these twisted places,
in my sufferings
I pray for mercy.