On the 6th March I will perform alongside Ben Crick and the Skipton Camerata as we collaborate to present a Concert entitled:
Dance of the Furies
Gluck Dance of the Furies (‘Orpheus and Eurydice’)
Gluck Aria: Che faro senza Euridice (‘Orpheus and Eurydice’)
Mozart Concert aria: ‘Ah, lo previdi’
Haydn Symphony No 59 in A ‘Fire’
JC Bach Symphony in G minor
JC Bach Aria: ‘Ebben si vada’
Boccherini Symphony in D minor ‘La casa del diavolo’
Christ Church, Skipton, Skipton, BD23 2AH – Fri 6th March 2020 7:30PM
As part of the evening’s program, we will perform Mozart’s concert aria ‘Ah lo previdi’, which I have taken great joy in translating and researching this week.
First things first, I’d like to explain what a Concert aria is. Usually, they have been purposely written to be performed in a concert as a standalone scene rather than as part of an opera.
‘Ah lo previdi’ is a concert aria inspired by the relationship between Andromeda and Perseus from Greek Mythology.
After completing the translation of the text and delving further into the story behind the aria I found it compelling and wanted to share with you a little of what I have discovered.
Andromeda is a beautiful young woman, daughter of King Cepheus and Queen Cassiopeia who rule over Joppa (Jaffa) in Palestine. However, trouble is brought upon their home when Queen Cassiopeia offended the Nereids (Sea Nymphs and companions to Poseidon) after boasting that Andromeda was more beautiful than them. In retaliation to the Queen’s hubris, Poseidon sent a sea monster, which some writers refer to is as the Kraken or Cetus, to rage havoc and destroy the shores of the city. Terrified at the prospect of the destruction of their great City the King and Queen seek guidance from an Oracle on how to appease the gods, the oracle responds by suggesting that they must sacrifice Andromeda to the Monster to satisfy Poseidon. They agree to this (reluctantly I hope) and chain Andromeda to a rock on the shore outside the City. Poor Andromeda!!
Luckily for our damsel in distress, Perseus is flying past the region after successfully completing a task set for him by King Polydectes, the killing of the Gorgon Medusa. Perseus is overcome by Andromeda’s beauty and he slays the beast intent on killing her by using his sword and Medusa’s severed head. The two of them are instantly bound by love and wish to spend their lives together.
We begin our story in the concert aria after Andromeda has been rescued. However, in this interpretation there is an introduction to the character Euristo, who had been promised Andromeda’s hand in marriage. It has been suggested that Euristo tells Andromeda that he has seen Perseus wandering around dementedly with an unsheathed sword. Suggesting that Perseus has committed suicide as a reaction to this marital obligation that separates him from Andromeda.
The concert aria explores several emotions from rage to resignation. She is furious that the same sword which he used to save her life has also taken Perseus’s. Andromeda later pleads with the shadow (spirit) of Perseus to wait for her in the Underworld before he crosses the River Lethe. This river is said to cause one to experience complete forgetfulness and oblivion. Andromeda asks him to wait on the bank so their memories can be united before their story is forgotten.
From my research, I discovered that rather than this being the end for our lovers it was the start of a long, eventful, and happy marriage… or so mythology tells us.
Having translated the aria and read several accounts of the story behind it I decided to journey out to the Tate Britain museum, with the aim to see if there was any art inspired by this myth to help embellish the picture that I had painted within my own imagination. I was thrilled to see an evocative statue cast in bronze by Henry C Fehr. It brought together the main elements of the rescue of Andromeda and it was interesting to see how another artist had pictured the scene. I hope to invoke this imagery in my development of the piece and bring this aria and it’s story to life on the 6th March and I do hope that if you are in the area that evening you can come along and join us.
The Rescue Of Andromeda – Henry C Fehr