One of the driving forces in Opera, well in the world really, is ‘love’. From broken hearts to soaring expressions of true love. Whether returned or unrequited, we sing a wide range of emotions. When I looked at the fifteen songs I’d recorded I decided the theme of the album was songs of love, “Canzoni D’Amore” in Italian, a journey of love and all its facets.
One of the most popular songs from the collection is Ernesto’s aria ‘Per la Gloria D’adorarvi’ from the opera ‘Griselda’.
‘Griselda’ is a three act opera called a drama per musica that was composed by Giovanni Bononcini. He was an Italian baroque composer, cellist, singer and teacher. Bononcini’s story is quite sad he was orphaned at eight, he was celebrated in London and compared to Handel but he left France in disgrace after being prosecuted for plagiarism, he died aged 77 in poverty.
Ernesto, is a ‘trouser role’ in the opera which used to be performed by a castrati ( a male singer in the 17th and 18th century who underwent a surgical procedure in order to preserve the boy treble range of their voices). As the popularity for this type of singer faded, female singers took over the roles and now is often performed by a soprano.
The main cast roles in Griselda are:
Gualtiero, a contralto, the King of Thessaly
Griselda, a contralto, the wife of Gualtiero
Almirena, a soprano, the missing daughter of Griselda and Gualtiero
Ernesto, a soprano (previously a castrato) the lover of Almirena
Rambaldo, a bass, a Sicilian nobleman.
Griselda is the wife of King Gualtiero, she was a peasant woman of great beauty who had been the Kings long term mistress, they’d a child together Almirena who mysteriously went missing. The King is worried that Griselda will never be accepted by the nobility and sets her a series of tests to prove her worth. The King announces he is to marry another woman that has caught his eye Almirena (his missing daughter) but Almirena is in love with Ernesto.
With her infant son Griselda is banished to her peasant cottage where she is wooed by Rambaldo a Sicilian nobleman, he threatens to kill her child if she doesn’t marry him. She flees back to the palace. As a final test the King orders Griselda to marry Rambaldo but she refuses and having passed her test is restored to her wifely place at the Kings side.
This is my performance of the aria from August 2013 accompanied by Russell Lomas
I’d love to know which is your favourite track so far?