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Lamento d'Arianna

Claudio Monteverdi (b. 1567 - d. 1643)

Cristina Zavalloni (photo credit: Maki Galimberti)

Cristina Zavalloni (photo credit: Maki Galimberti)

Composer
Claudio Monteverdi (b. 1567 - d. 1643)
Composition Year
1608
Artists
Joanna Boślak-Górniok [harpsichord], Dohyo Sol [theorbo/archlute], Kate Hearne [recorder/cello], Cristina Zavalloni [mezzo-soprano]

Programme Note Writer:
© Kate Hearne

On May 28th 1608, Monteverdi’s second opera, L’Arianna, was premiered at the court of Duke Vincenzo Gonzaga in Mantua, in a lavish production staged in a temporary theatre holding more than 5,000 people with more than 300 workers employed to man the stage scenery alone. Despite its apparent success, there is no record of a repeat performance of this musical tragedy, and alongside five other of Monteverdi’s operas, the score and music of L’Arianna have unfortunately disappeared. All that remains are several copies of Rinuccini’s libretto and a small segment of the opera, the famous Lamento d’Arianna, which became so well known in it’s own right that Monteverdi published it as a separate entity in 1623. Monteverdi viewed the Lament as one of the most important milestones in his stylistic development, his music matching perfectly the emotions, gestures and rhetorics of Rinuccini’s text. The Lament takes the form of an extended recitative for voice and continuo, depicting Arianna’s tortured reaction when she discovers she has been abandoned on the island of Naxos by her lover, Tèseo. Its range and depth of expression can be likened to that of some of Shakespeare’s soliloquies. (Tèseo is of course the hero Theseus and Arianna is Ariadne, the sister of Phaedra, whom we meet later in the Festival). Structurally, it can be divided into five sections, which in the original opera were interspersed with choral interludes from sympathetic fishermen. The opening repeated words Lascitemi morire, Let me die, are accompanied by an unforgettable and piercing dominant seventh chord, underlying Arianna’s despair and pain at being abandoned. In stark contrast to this, Arianna’s longing words O Tèseo, O Tèseo mio, occur several times throughout the Lament, indicating that despite everything, she still feels tenderness towards her lover. It is Monteverdi’s ability to reflect Arianna’s wildly shifting emotions and contradictory feelings that have insured this Lament’s survival and given Arianna herself the reputation as the first great operatic heroine.

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Lamento d'Arianna

Composer: Claudio Monteverdi (b. 1567 - d. 1643)
Performance date: Sunday 1st July 2012
Venue: St. Brendan's Church, Bantry, Co Cork, Ireland

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Composer Claudio Monteverdi (b. 1567 - d. 1643)
Work Title Lamento d'Arianna
Composition Year 1608
Language Italian
Artist(s) Joanna Boślak-Górniok [harpsichord], Dohyo Sol [theorbo/archlute], Kate Hearne [recorder/cello], Cristina Zavalloni [mezzo-soprano]
Performance Date Sunday 1st July 2012
Performance Venue St. Brendan's Church, Bantry, Co Cork, Ireland
Event Coffee Concert
Duration 00:10:28
Recording Engineer Anton Timoney, RTÉ lyric fm
Instrumentation Category Small Mixed Ensemble
Instrumentation Mez-solo, vc, thb, hpd
Programme Note Writer © Kate Hearne

On May 28th 1608, Monteverdi’s second opera, L’Arianna, was premiered at the court of Duke Vincenzo Gonzaga in Mantua, in a lavish production staged in a temporary theatre holding more than 5,000 people with more than 300 workers employed to man the stage scenery alone. Despite its apparent success, there is no record of a repeat performance of this musical tragedy, and alongside five other of Monteverdi’s operas, the score and music of L’Arianna have unfortunately disappeared. All that remains are several copies of Rinuccini’s libretto and a small segment of the opera, the famous Lamento d’Arianna, which became so well known in it’s own right that Monteverdi published it as a separate entity in 1623. Monteverdi viewed the Lament as one of the most important milestones in his stylistic development, his music matching perfectly the emotions, gestures and rhetorics of Rinuccini’s text. The Lament takes the form of an extended recitative for voice and continuo, depicting Arianna’s tortured reaction when she discovers she has been abandoned on the island of Naxos by her lover, Tèseo. Its range and depth of expression can be likened to that of some of Shakespeare’s soliloquies. (Tèseo is of course the hero Theseus and Arianna is Ariadne, the sister of Phaedra, whom we meet later in the Festival). Structurally, it can be divided into five sections, which in the original opera were interspersed with choral interludes from sympathetic fishermen. The opening repeated words Lascitemi morire, Let me die, are accompanied by an unforgettable and piercing dominant seventh chord, underlying Arianna’s despair and pain at being abandoned. In stark contrast to this, Arianna’s longing words O Tèseo, O Tèseo mio, occur several times throughout the Lament, indicating that despite everything, she still feels tenderness towards her lover. It is Monteverdi’s ability to reflect Arianna’s wildly shifting emotions and contradictory feelings that have insured this Lament’s survival and given Arianna herself the reputation as the first great operatic heroine.