Programme notes for concert three.
Last updated: 11 June 2009
Tomislav Lučić - Croatia
A te l'estremo addio ... Il lacerato spirito (Simon Boccanegra) - Verdi
The pirate, Simon Boccanegra, has agreed to stand as Doge of Genoa in the hope that the nobleman Fiesco will allow his marriage to Maria, his daughter. Fiesco disapproves of Boccanegra and has imprisoned Maria in his palace to keep the lovers apart. But Maria has died after giving birth to Boccanegra's child, and Fiesco mourns his daughter's death.
Leporello, Don Giovanni's servant, tells the distraught Donna Elvira that she is only one of his master's many conquests. He produces his catalogue of all the women Don Giovanni has seduced; Some are young, some are old, some pretty and some plain. In Spain alone, the total is no fewer than 1003.
Susanin's aria (A Life for the Tsar) - Glinka
Susanin is a peasant whose landlord, Romanoff, has been elected Tsar. But the Polish army is advancing, with the aim of capturing the new Tsar. Susanin deliberately leads the Polish troops the wrong way, while word is sent to warn the Tsar. In this aria, he decides it is his duty to sacrifice himself for the sake of his country, to tell the Poles what he has done - and give up his life for the Tsar.
Izabela Matuła - Poland
Ach, ich fühl's (Die Zauberflöte) - Mozart
Pamina, unaware that her lover Tamino has been placed under a vow of silence as part of an ordeal, thinks his silence means he no longer loves her. Heartbroken, she sings this plaintive aria, saying she does not want to go on living if he will not speak to her.
Bel raggio lusinghier (Semiramide) - Rossini
Queen Semiramide is in the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, waiting for the arrival of one of her generals, Arsace. She is in love with him and hopes they will marry, following many years of widowhood. She sings of her happiness as she anticipates their marriage.
Celui dont la parole efface toutes peines - Il est doux, il est bon (Hérodiade) - Massenet
Salome tells the astrologer Panuel of her love for Jean - the prophet John the Baptist who has returned from the wilderness. She sings of his goodness, his gentleness, his melodious voice which calms her beating heart. She longs to see him again, as she cannot live without him.
Csaba Szegedi - Hungary
Largo al factotum (Il barbiere di Siviglia) - Rossini
Figaro introduces himself, in this famous 'patter' aria. Not only is he the barber of Seville, with his well-stocked shop, but he is also the general factotum of the city. He is happy to run errands, arrange meetings and perform all kinds of services - as long as he gets paid for it.
Perfidi - Pieta, rispetto amore (Macbeth) - Verdi
Macbeth, now King of Scotland, rages with fury at the news that Malcolm's army is marching on him. But he takes comfort from the witches' prophesy that he cannot die at the hand of one born of a woman. Macbeth reflects that his chosen path in life has left him alone, without friends.
Don Giovanni, keen as ever to conquer the hearts of as many women as possible, disguises himself as his servant Leporello in order to seduce Donna Elvira's maid. He sings this serenade beneath Donna Elvira's balcony, strumming on his mandolin, calling the maid to come to the window, or he will die of sorrow.
O Carlo, ascolta ... Io morrò (Don Carlo) - Verdi
Rodrigo, Carlo's great friend, has been shot by an Inquisition assassin while visiting Carlo in prison. As he lies dying, he tells Carlo that his beloved Elisabeth will wait for him outside the convent of San Yuste the next day. He dies, happy in the knowledge that Carlo will continue the fight for liberty.
Yuriy Mynenko - Ukraine
J'ai perdu mon Eurydice (Orphée et Eurydice) - Gluck
Orphée's beloved wife, Eurydice, has died and Orphée has been told by Cupid that he can go to the Underworld to find her and bring her back, providing he does not look at her until they are back on earth. On the way, Orphée does turn to her, to convince her that he does still love her and she dies again. Here, he gives rein to his grief in this lament.
Va tacito e nascosto (Giulio Cesare) - Handel
Julius Caesar and Ptolemy, who dislike and distrust each other, meet at Ptolemy's palace. They exchange politically-charged remarks, and Ptolemy offers Caesar an armed guard. But Caesar knows that treason and murder are on his host's mind. He sings of the stealth of the hunter, in no doubt that he knows what Ptolemy is plotting.
Parto, parto (La clemenza di Tito) - Mozart
The emperor Titus and Sesto are best friends, and in the classic love triangle, Sesto loves Vitellia, Vitellia loves Titus, Titus loves someone else. Vitellia, unable to accept that Titus will marry anyone but her, asks Sesto to kill his friend. He loves her so much that he declares he will do even this for her.
Claire Meghnagi - Israel
Giunse alfin il momento ... Deh vieni, non tardar (Le nozze di Figaro) - Mozart
Susanna, recently married to Figaro, is plotting with the Countess, her employer, to trick the Count into thinking that Susanna will meet him in the garden for a romantic assignation. Susanna knows that Figaro is hiding in the shadows, spying on her, so she decides to teach him a lesson for doubting her fidelity. She calls for her lover not to delay and to come to meet her among the rose bushes.
Che più giova celarlo ... M'lai resa infelice (Deidamia) - Handel
Deidamia, the daughter of King Lycomedes of Skyros, is in love with Achilles, who has spent much of the opera in disguise as a woman. In this aria, Deidamia is grief-stricken, as Achilles is about to go to war and she fears that a prophesy that he is doomed to die will come true.
Ich wollt' ein Sträusslein binden (Brentano Lieder) - R Strauss
The poet wanted to make his lover a posy, but could only find one flower, which begged not to be picked. If it had not spoken, the poet would have picked it. Now the poet is alone; the beloved has not come. The song alternates between the voices of the poet and the flower.
In this Surrealist tale, Thérèse and her husband exchange genders. This aria introduces Thérèse, who is bored with being a woman and giving in to her husband's desires. She declares herself a feminist, and says she will not accept a man's authority. She wants to become a man and be a soldier, a lawyer, senator, President and doctor amongst other things. Her breasts turn into balloons and float away, and she becomes Tirésias.