El imposible mayor en amor le vence Amor

Baroque Opera in three acts by Giovanni Battista Mariani (circa 1634-1697)

Lisarda (soprano), Celia (soprano), Medoro (counter tenor)

2 violins, 1 viola, 2 harps, 1 cello, 1 contrabass, 1 theorbo, 1 lute, 1 organ

Conductor: Rogério Gonçalves

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The oper La Lisarda is a cautionary tale for women who fall in love. Lisarda and her daughter Celia are both in love with Medoro, who cannot care less for Lisarda’s infatuation because she is too old: “Love requires youth”, an aphorism better embodied by Celia than her mother. Lisarda first tries to dissuade her daughter, warning her against love’s entrapment and men’s deceitfulness, simultaneously trying to keep Medoro for herself. Eventually, she gives in and take the place a woman of her age is expected to keep: renouncing love, she offers her daughter to Medoro, so that the happy ending of Baroque opera is respected, at least according to a male point of view. Lisarda’s double sacrifice –of both love and her daughter– represents the woman’s acceptance of the male rule along with her defeat and the negation of her desire. Musically however, Lisarda’s voice is significant and disruptive. Whereas Medoro and Celia sing delicate and elegant ariette, the most tragic and lyrical airs are sung by Lisarda. The suffering woman onstage represented a favourite character in Baroque operas and this one is no exception to the rule.

 

Along with other operas from mid-century, Mariani freely alternate recitatives, arias, and ariosos without clear distinction. It gives flexibility to the declamation, adhering closely to words of the libretto and following the rapidly changing passions of the characters in prey of the torments or the delights of love.

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