Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Duty, honor, shame, pity and love...

... all vie within my breast, and all at once: must be baroque opera! Yes indeedy: Handel's "Partenope," which I just saw at the new leaner City Opera. These words actually appear (in Italian, naturally) in Silvio Stampiglia's libretto - sung by feckless and yet redeemable Prince Arsace (he's young and so still curable by suffering), beautifully rendered by countertenor Iestyn Davies (all in white in the final scene, above). How could this cheesy plot and these hammy words have inspired such exquisite music? And yet, one learns from the program, Stampiglia's libretto - scorned by literati in his time and our own - was set to music by thirty-eight composers: I guess he really gets the juices flowing!

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