Friday, November 16, 2007

Gratitude - Day 4


One of the most haunting, complex, rich arias in all of opera: "Scherza infida" from Handel's "Ariodante". To say I'm 'grateful' to be able to sing this piece of music seems a tad 'trite', perhaps, but it is the unadulterated truth. As with most Handel arias, the range of interpretive possibilities seems endless, so one can employ countless colors, shades and meanings that change with each performance. Perhaps the opportunities are even greater with this particular collection of notes and words centered on Ariodante's learning that his love has seemingly betrayed him, for being the victim of such perfidy can morph into so many different colors: red hot anger, bitterness, despair, devastation, white-hot pain, black emptiness, the list goes on and on.

I marvel at how opera can freeze a moment in time (in this case, the freezing takes about 10 minutes!): often Handel is berated because "they keep repeating the same text over and over", but silly dismissers, this gives the opportunity for such rich exploration - the ten times I utter "infida" ("unfaithful one") in this aria can each carry a different weight - different percentages of venom, loss, rage and even love. The complexity of human emotion takes a long time to sort out, to sift through and to digest - yet another reason I love singing Handel.

Yep - gratitude abounds in this opera score!!

3 comments:

nick said...

I totally agree! I remember discussing with a director once that people tend to mull over important things in their minds - they don't just have a thought about it and it is gone. These arias are very much like that, and in that they contain their "verisimilitude", so to speak. I often think that in many ways, Handel was just as dramatic a composer as Wagner - he just used different means to that end. Again - I ramble on and get excited about Handel because he is my favorite...

diafani said...

A fantastic piece of music. Last year I heard David Daniels sing it at Carnegie Hall, and it has to be one of the highlights of my musical life. Time stood still; it was literally breathtaking.

snagl said...

This aria can break your heart - one of the most haunting ones Handel wrote. I'll get to hear it live in San Francisco next summer. Hopefully Joyce will be singing it again somewhere, sometime!!