Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Handel's Let the bright Seraphim, from Sampson

Because So Faithful a Heart is a novel about two musicians, music plays a huge role within the scope of the plot. I thought it might be interesting and helpful to do a series of posts about the music featured in the book, so that readers who might not be familiar some of the pieces could have a chance to hear some of the selections.

In chapter two, Nancy meets Mozart at a grand palatial reception designed to introduce the members of the Emperor's new Italian Opera Company. In addition to meeting Mozart, she also meets Aloysia Lange, Mozart's sister-in-law, who was, considered the best singer in Vienna at the time. Aloysia, who is already quite jealous over Nancy and the reputation she has already garnered throughout the city, receives her rather coldly.

     “I hear you are to entertain us with a taste of your talent, Mademoiselle,” Mozart interjected in an attempt to break the ice, which had frozen what was an otherwise warm introduction. “I can’t tell you how I look forward to hearing you sing. Pray, tell us what you will offer us this afternoon,” he went on enthusiastically, already charmed by her appearance and obvious intelligence.
     “I’ve chosen some arias by Paisiello and a favorite of mine by Handel, Let the bright Seraphim from Sampson, as well as one of the Countess’ arias from the Salieri piece which opens in two weeks,” she replied nervously. She suddenly realized this would be her first time to sing for Mozart, who could be rather critical. “If I may, I need to excuse myself because I believe it is almost time for me to take my place for the concert.”

Let the bright Seraphim from Handel's oratorio, Sampson, was considered one of the best arias in Nancy Storace's repertoire. It is sung here by soprano, Kathleen Battle.

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