This week we’re looking at a work by the composer Luzzasco Luzzaschi. This Italian aria is sung by soprano Perrine Dellivers, who studied clarinet at the Conservatiore de Paris and now teaches that instrument and sings as a soloist and choir member in France and Basel. You can see her singing in this video accompanied on the harpsichord, one of the instruments of the Renaissance and Baroque periods.
In this aria, you can hear the vocal style of this period – light, highly ornamented, rich but fine vibrato, and an emphasis on vocal virtuosity. It is quite different than the two kinds of opera voices people are used to (we’ll touch more on those for week 7). Here is a translation of the lyrics. Can you hear how the words and ornaments compliment one another? :
Sweet breeze of secret words,
which, penetrating through my ears to my heart
woke Love, who was sleeping there:
for you I breathe and live
ever since into my bosom
you breathed Love’s living desire.
I lived without life
while love’s caring was exhausted in me.
Now come, so that my soul may feel,
thanks to your gentle spirit,
life that is happy beyond the usual.