George Frederick Handel

Faramondo, opera, HWV 39

    Description by Rita Laurance

    Handel's last four operas were composed after his own opera company had folded, and the rival opera company, the Opera of the Nobility as it has come to be known, had also gone bankrupt. His rival Porpora had left the country, as had many of the singers that had sung in his previous opera productions. Faramondo was written for the opera productions of Heidegger at the Haymarket Theatre. Heidegger decided to continue to try to produce operas, but Handel now only supplied new works, and many of the productions staged were by other composers. Faramondo was the first of the final group of Handel works, and is a heroic opera, much along the lines of the operas which he composed for the old Royal Academy of Music. The libretto is by Apostolo Zeno, an opera seria great. Although the structure of the libretto is typical of many opere serie, the texts for the arias are not standardized, for the libretto was rather old at the time, and reflects older trends in libretto writing. Whoever adapted the Zeno libretto for Handel cut down on the amount of the recitative to such an extent that the story is almost unrecognizable. Although there is some good music in the opera, it was a complete failure, and did not please London audiences.

    Caffarelli, a castrato star and former pupil of the renowned vocal teacher Nicola Porpora, performed in the title role, creating a sensation with his virtuosic singing. But the opera, premiered January third, 1738, only lasted a few performances, and then had to be pulled.

    The opera opens with an extended tableaux that sets the stage for the story, and involves a curse of vengeance. The musical style of Handel's later operas is lighter, often using dance forms and idioms, and scored in a galant vein. The scoring in this opera is very carefully thought out. One of the highlights of the opera is the duet between Faramondo and his beloved Rosamonda as he courts her. First he sings to her of his love for her, and then she responds, accompanied by the flutes, offering him hope that she will return his love. There are no flutes in the score after this duet. Instead, the climax is crowned by the addition of two horns in the final coro. Faramondo was Handel's last attempt at an heroic opera seria. After this, his interest in a lighter style of music also led him to the inclusion of comedy and buffo elements in his operas. His audience was more middle class now, and chorus and orchestra writing was more to their taste than virtuosic castrati and the inane heroics of the opere serie of old.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Overture in E major
    2. Popolo, figlio, in basse note e meste, Recitative
    3. Ascolta dagli Elisi, ombra di Sveno, Recitative
    4. Pera, pera! l'alma fiera, Chorus
    5. Mio Re, pronta qui vedo l'orrida pompa, Recitative
    6. Viva, sì, che nel mio seno venir meno, Aria
    7. Siam pur fiori, o mia cara, Recitative
    8. Conoscerò, se brami ch'io t'ami, Aria
    9. Perdoni all'amor mio, Recitative
    10. Chi ben ama, og'n altro affetto, Aria
    11. Perdoni all'amor mio, Recitative
    12. Chi ben ama, ogn'n altro affetto, Aria
    13. Finchè avrò spirto, e vita, del mio sen farò scudo, Recitative
    14. Vanne, che più ti miro, piu cresce il mio dolor, Aria
    15. Faramondo infelice!, Recitative
    16. Rival ti sono ma son fedel, Aria
    17. Va pur; prevenirò gli empii di segni, Recitative
    18. Voglio che mora, si, Aria
    19. S'è giusto l'idio mio, Recitative
    20. Principessa, in vedermi, Recitative
    21. Sino ad ora, Gernando, Recitative
    22. Rosimonda, tu sei libera, Recitative
    23. Sì, tornero à morir, non a placarti, Arietta
    24. Qual nemico m'h'andato, Recitative
    25. Sento, che un giusto sdegno mi prona a vendicarmi, Aria
    26. Sì, Clotilde; il mio seno, Recitative
    27. Faramondo, Signor, solo ed in erme, Recitative
    28. Vado a recar la morte all'empio traditor, Aria
    29. Dalla citade, e solo, Recitative
    30. Mi parto lieta sulla tua fede, Aria
    31. Fra quest'ombre selvagge, Recitative
    32. Vuò stancare il destin, Recitative
    33. Se ben mi lusinga l'infida speranza, Aria
    34. Sinfonia in A major
    35. Già udisti i sensi miei, Recitative
    36. Principessa, a tuoi lumi tu devi, Recitative
    37. Sì l'intendesti, si, e questa la merce, Aria
    38. Sì, degna Rosimonda, Recitative
    39. Non ingannarmi, nò, conforto del mio sen, Aria
    40. Faramondo, e pur salvo, Recitative
    41. Benchè di Faramondo tu sii germana, Recitative
    42. E mora! Misero, e qual tuo fato, Recitative
    43. E dal mio brando questa morte avrai, Recitative
    44. Poi che pria di morire, Aria
    45. Rosimonda, il suo duolo non basta, Recitative
    46. Combattuta da due venti, Aria
    47. Faramondo è in catene, e morir deve, Recitative
    48. Se a' piedi tuoi morrò, la destra baciero, Aria
    49. Signor, umil ti chiedo, Recitative
    50. Sol la brama di vendetta può dar pace a questo cor, Aria
    51. Quanto di Faramondo, Recitative
    52. Tentai d'aver l'ingresso, Recitative
    53. Aprimi quelle porte, Recitative
    54. Nella terra, in ciel, nell'onda, Aria
    55. Childerico? I tuoi cenni, Recitative
    56. Tu non sei, Faramondo, prigionier, Recitative
    57. Vado e vivo con la speranza, Duet
    58. Sinfonia in G minor
    59. Mi tradiscono i figli, il nemico mi fugge!, Recitative
    60. Quai mi straziano l'alma dubbii pensieri, Recitative
    61. Del destin non mi lagno, Recitative
    62. Caro!/Cara! tu mi accendi nel mio core, Duet
    63. Signor, non t'inoltrar, Recitative
    64. Così suole a rio vicina umil pianta alzare i rami, Aria
    65. A me viene Teobaldo?, Recitative
    66. Ritorna pur, ritorna al tuo Signor crudel mostro, non padre, Recitative
    67. Andiam, fidi guerrieri, Recitative
    68. Voglio che sia l'indegno, Aria
    69. D'un oltraggiato Re, Recitative
    70. Padre... Tu Adolfo in libertà?, Recitative
    71. Disarmato è gia il Re, Recitative
    72. Ecco gl'iniqui. Su, ferite gli empii, Recitative
    73. Se ria procella sorge nell'onde, Aria
    74. Non isdegnar, Gustavo, Recitative
    75. Sappi, crudel, io t'amo, e per tua pena ancor!, Aria
    76. Or vo'lieto alla morte!, Recitative
    77. Misera! ei corre a morte, ed io resto a goder?, Recitative
    78. Un'aura placida e lusinghiera, Aria
    79. Reggi il mio braccio già impotente, Recitative
    80. Recitative
    81. Ohime! trradito io sono!, Recitative
    82. Figlia, di Faramondo... Io so la sorte; per ciò voglio morir, Recitative
    83. Virtù che rende si forte un core, Aria
    84. Vanne, che più ti miro, più cresce il mio dolor, Supplemental Aria
    85. Così suole a rio vicina umil pianta alzare i rami, Supplemental Aria

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2014 Accent ACC 26402
    2009 Erato / Virgin Classics 5099921661
    2004 Brilliant 92390
    1996 Vox 7536