Lamento d’Arianna

Composer: Claudio Monteverdi (b. 1567 - d. 1643)
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Composer: Claudio Monteverdi (b. 1567 - d. 1643)

Performance date: 01/07/2012

Venue: St. Brendan’s Church

Composition Year: 1608

Duration: 00:10:28

Recording Engineer: Anton Timoney, RTÉ lyric fm

Instrumentation Category:Small Mixed Ensemble

Instrumentation Other: Mez-solo, vc, thb, hpd

Artists: Joanna Boślak-Górniok - [harpsichord]
Dohyo Sol - [theorbo/archlute]
Kate Hearne - [recorder/cello]
Cristina Zavalloni - [mezzo-soprano]

May 28th 1608, Monteverdi’s second opera,
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
have unfortunately disappeared. All that remains are several copies
of Rinuccini’s libretto and a small segment of the opera, the
, 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
, Let
me die,
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
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.