George Friedrich Händel - Ombra mai fù, Largo from the Serse (Xerxes), Opera, HWV 40, 1738 | Philippe Jaroussky. Konzerthausorchester Berlin, Vasily Petrenko. Sublime performance recently disappeared. Lyrics:
"Frondi tenere e belle
del mio platano amato
per voi risplenda il fato.
Tuoni, lampi, e procelle
non v'oltraggino mai la cara pace,
nè giunga a profanarvi austro rapace.
Ombra mai fu
cara ed amabile,
"Tender and beautiful fronds
of my beloved plane tree,
let Fate smile upon you.
May thunder, lightning, and storms
never bother your dear peace,
nor may you by blowing winds be profaned.
A shade there never was,
of any plant,
dearer and more lovely,
or more sweet.
Serse (Xerxes, HWV 40) is an opera seria in three acts by George Frideric Handel. Handel's operas for the 1737-1738 season had to be postponed due to the death of Queen Caroline. Handel composed the funeral music for her, and there also was a period of mourning. Serse is a comedy. It has buffo elements in the plot, in the musical style, and in the cast of characters. Elviro is a buffo bass role, an old servant who is central to the mismanagement of Serse's love affair, and who is responsible for some of the comic situations that evolve around the love plots. The opera Serse confused audiences and critics alike. Some called it an opera buffo, others a farce, and Burney even thought it the product of a "diseased" mind. It was a bigger flop although it has been revived for the modern operatic theater. Some of the music is exquisite, however. The beautiful love lyric "Ombra mai fù" later became renowned as an instrumental piece, and the duets in the opera are imaginative, individual, and original.
Originally composed to be sung by a soprano castrato (and sung in modern performances of Serse by a countertenor, contralto or a mezzo-soprano), it has often been arranged for other voice types and instruments, including solo organ, solo piano, violin and piano, and string ensembles, often under the title "Largo from Xerxes", although the original tempo was larghetto.
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|Date published||13 Jul 2016|