Song o’the Week

Lascia ch’io pianga from George Federic Handel’s Rinaldo, performed by Cecilia Bartoli.

This is possibly one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever written.  One doesn’t need to understand Italian to feel the love, the yearning, the sadness of the singer.  Who, as it turns out, is the princess Almirena, imprisoned by a witch intent on stealing Almirena’s lover Rinaldo.

Kitsch, Baroque sentimentality – which nevertheless, doesn’t diminish the beauty of the music.

I particularly love David Alden’s offbeat, hip, post-modern production for the Bavarian State Opera updates this fabulously, swapping the Jeruselam and the Holy Lands around the time of the Last Crusades for hip, designer interior piece-filled lairs, liberal use of the Union Jack and Alrmirene (soprano Dorothea Röschmann) encased Han Solo-style in sheet of ice, her flowing hair frozen upwards, her body immobilised, singing this wonderful aria.


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