You are cordially invited to witness the
A celebration of love and music
No gifts please.
A reception in the Haga Room will follow.
Heather DeSalme John Gilbert
Tiffany Graves Heather Pink
Aubrey Richardson Mark Rutherford
Katie Thomas Kenneth Turner
Act 1 quartet from Fidelio Ludwig van Beethoven
Act 2 of Orfeo Claudio Monteverdi
John Gilbert as Orfeo Aubrey Richardson as Euridice/Prologue (La Musica)
Kenneth Turner as the Best Man Katie Thomas as Silvia
Tiffany Graves Heather Pink
Act 1 excerpt from Dido and Aeneas Henry Purcell
Aubrey Richardson as Dido Alexandria Brent as assistant to the First Lady
Heather DeSalme as Belinda Tiffany Graves as assistant to the First Lady
Carrie Armistead as First Lady Heather Pink as assistant to the First Lady
Katie Thomas as assistant to the First Lady
Act 1 duet from Cosi fan tutte Wolfgang Mozart
Katie Thomas as Fiordiligi Tiffany Graves as Dorabella
“The Best of All Possible Worlds” from Candide Leonard Bernstein
Kenneth Turner as Dr. Pangloss Carrie Armistead
Heather Pink as Cunegunde Alexandria Brent
Mark Rutherford as Candide Heather DeSalme
John Gilbert Tiffany Graves
Aubrey Richardson Katie Thomas
Notes, Texts and Translations
Fidelio, Act 1 Quartet
Ludwig van Beethoven. An opera in two acts, 1805.
Set in a Spanish prison, near Seville, Fidelio , centers on the loyalty and love of Leonora for her husband Floristan. He is wrongfully being held in the dungeon of the prison, and Leonora disguises herself as a young man, Fidelio and takes service under Rocco, the prison warden in order to rescue her husband. Marzellina, the daughter of Rocco has fallen in love with the mysterious new employee, and Jaquino, Rocco’s other employee who is in love with Marzellina, feels threatened by Fidelio’s presence. Rocco, on the other hand is ecstatic that his lovely daughter has fallen in love with such a good man as Fidelio. Leonora, not wanting to disclose her true identity to anyone and aware of Marzellina’s affections, is horrified at the situation. In this quartet, in the form of a four-part canon, each character expresses his or her feelings.
Mir ist so wunderbar,
Mir sträubt sich schon das Haar,
It is so wonderful,
My heart is pent up:
He loves me, it is clear,
I will be happy!
How great is the risk,
How dimly shines the hope!
She loves me, it is clear,
O nameless agony!
She loves him, it is clear,
Yes, dear, he will be yours!
A nice young pair,
They will be happy!
My hair is standing up on end,
The father consents,
This is amazing,
This can have no end!
L’Orfeo, Act 1 excerpt and Act 2 complete
Claudio Monteverdi. An opera in a prologue and five acts, 1607.
This story from Greek Mythology has inspired writers and composers throughout western history. Several of the very first operas ever to be composed were settings of the story of Orpheus. It is no coincidence that Orpheus the great singer and lyre player was a leading figure in the inception of opera.
After a lifetime of melancholy and unrest, Orpheus falls in love with Euridice. They are married and, for a very brief time, Orpheus is the happiest man to walk the earth. This is happiness is cut short when Euridice goes to pick flowers after her wedding and she is bit by a snake and dies. Meanwhile, Orpheus and his closest friends are celebrating. Silvia arrives at the wedding party to deliver the fateful news, which crushes the spirits of all present, but especially Orpheus. He vows to travel to the under world to find his beloved Euridice and bring her back – his beautiful voice will be his only aid.
Toccata – The Wedding Ceremony
From my beloved Permessus to you I come, famous heroes, gentle issue of kings, whose excellent merits fame reports, without nearing the truth since the aim is too high.
I am Music, who, in sweet accents, can calm every troubled heart, now with noble anger, now with love,
can inflame the coldest minds.
I, with my golden lyre, singing, am used to charm, sometimes, mortal ears and in this way with sounding harmony of the lyre of heaven I inspire their souls.
Whence desire urges me to tell you of Orpheus, of Orpheus who drew wild beasts at his song and made Hades give way to his prayers, immortal glory of Pindus and of Helicon.
Now while I vary my songs, now happy, now sad, let no small bird move among these bushes, nor on these banks let a sounding wave be heard, and let each little breeze stop in its course.
Sinfonia– The Wedding Reception
Here I am, returned to you, dear woods and beloved hills, blessed by that sun through whom alone my nights are day. Here I am, returned to you. Here I am, returned to you.
First Maid of Honor:
See, how there lures us the shade, Orpheus, of these beech-trees, now that his burning rays Phoebus shoots down from heaven.
Second Maid of Honor:
On these grassy banks let us sit and in various songs let each let free his voice to the murmur of the waters.
In this pleasant meadow every wild spirit often comes to rest in happiness.
Here the charming wood-nymphs, always decked with flowers, with white fingers were seen picking roses.
Then, Orpheus, honour with the sound of your lyre these fields where breathes the perfume of Sheba.
Do you remember, O shady groves, my long, harsh torments, when the rocks at my laments responded in pity?
Say, then did I not seem to you more disconsolate than any other? Now fortune has changed her course and has turned woes into joy.
Only through you, fair Eurydice, I bless my torment; after sorrow one is more content, after ill fortune one is happier.
First Maid of Honor:
See, ah see, Orpheus, how at every turn there smiles the
wood and smiles the meadow; then continue with your golden plectrum to sweeten
the air on so blessed a day.
Ah, bitter fate, ah, wicked, cruel Fate, ah, hurtful stars, ah, envious heaven.
Second Maid of Honor:
What sorrowful sound disturbs the happy day?
Alas, then must I, while Orpheus with his music makes heaven rejoice, with my words pierce his heart?
This is gentle Sylvia, sweetest companion of fair Eurydice: oh, how much there is in her sorrowing face: what has happened? Ah, gods above, do not turn your kind face from us.
Shepherd, leave your singing, for all our good cheer is turned to pain.
Whence do you come? Where are you going? Nymph, what news?
I come to you, Orpheus, unhappy messenger of a happening more unhappy and more dreadful,
your fair Eurydice . . .
Alas, what do I hear?
Your beloved bride is dead.
In a flowery meadow with her other companions she went picking flowers to make a garland for her hair,
when a deceitful snake that was hidden in the grass, bit her foot with poisoned fang. And lo immediately her fair face grew pale and in her eyes that light that outshone the sun faded. Then we all, appalled and sorrowing, gathered round her, trying to recall her spirits that grew faint, with fresh water and with powerful charms, but to no avail, ah alas, for she opened her failing eyes a little, and calling you, Orpheus,
after a deep sigh, she died in these arms; and I remained, my heart full of pity and of fear.
First Maid of Honor:
Ah, bitter mischance, ah, wicked, cruel fate, ah, hurtful
stars, ah, envious heaven!
Second Maid of Honor:
At the bitter news the unhappy man seems like a speechless
rock and through too much grief cannot grieve.
First Maid of Honor:
Ah, he would have the heart of a tiger or bear that did not
feel pity at your misfortune, deprived of every happiness, wretched lover.
You are dead, my life, and do I breathe? You are gone from me never to return, and do I remain? No, for if my verses can do anything, I will go surely to the deepest abysses, and having softened the heart of the King of Shades, I will bring her back to see again the stars: Oh, if wicked destiny refuses me this, I will stay with you in the company of death. Farewell earth, farewell heaven and sun, farewell.
Ah, bitter mischance, ah, wicked, cruel fate, ah, hurtful stars. ah, envious heaven! Let no mortal man trust happiness that is passing and frail, that soon flies away, and often a precipice is near a great height.
But I, who with this tongue have brought the knife that has pierced the loving soul of Orpheus, hateful to Shepherds and to nymphs, hateful to myself, where may I hide? Unlucky, of the night, the sun shall I ever flee and in a lonely cave will lead a life that matches my grief.
Both Maids of Honor:
But where, ah, where are now the wretched nymph’s lovely,
cold limbs, where the worthy shelter in which that fair soul chose to live, who
today has left us in the flower of her days? Let us go, Shepherds, let us go in
pity to find her and with bitter tears the due tribute pay, at least, to her
Ah, bitter mischance, ah, wicked, cruel fate,
ah, hurtful stars, ah, envious heaven!
Dido and Aeneas, Act 1 excerpt
Henry Purcell. An opera in three acts, text by Nahum Tate (1689).
Monteverdi’s Orfeo is by far the most historically significant opera of all time. It was not the very first to be composed, but it is certainly the first great opera. The fact that it has been recorded dozens of times and is still performed frequently speaks to its value. Once Italian opera was an established form of art and entertainment by 1637, when the first public opera house opened in Venice, most other major European countries tried to establish their own form of the new genre – forms that would be specific to their own languages. Henry Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas was England’s first attempt at the creation of an English opera. There had been plays with songs interspersed, but never a completely sung drama. Purcell died shortly after the premiere of Dido and never wrote a second opera. Soon, George Frideric Handel arrived in London and brought with him Italian opera which fascinated audiences for the next several decades. There was not another real opera composed in England in the English language until the twentieth century.
Dido the Queen of Carthage is distraught. She is in love with Aeneas from Troy, and she knows that this love will destroy her. She attempts to ignore her feelings but confides in Belinda. Belinda and the other ladies-in-waiting hope to convince Dido that only good can come from a union between the two kingdoms.
Shake the cloud from off your brow,
Fate your wishes does allow;
Fortune smiles and so should you.
Banish sorrow, banish care,
Grief should ne'er approach the fair.
Ah! Belinda, I am prest
With torment not to be Confest,
Peace and I are strangers grown.
I languish till my grief is known,
Yet would not have it guest.
Grief increases by concealing,
Mine admits of no revealing.
Then let me speak; the Trojan guest
Into your tender thoughts has prest;
The greatest blessing Fate can give
Our Carthage to secure and Troy revive.
When monarchs unite, how happy their
They triumph at once o'er their foes and
Whence could so much virtue spring?
What storms, what battles did he sing?
Anchises' valour mixt with Venus' charms
How soft in peace, and yet how fierce in
A tale so strong and full of woe
Might melt the rocks as well as you.
What stubborn heart unmov'd could see
Such distress, such piety?
Mine with storms of care opprest
Is taught to pity the distrest.
Mean wretches' grief can touch,
So soft, so sensible my breast,
But ah! I fear, I pity his too much.
Belinda and First Woman
Fear no danger to ensue,
The Hero Loves as well as you,
Ever gentle, ever smiling,
And the cares of life beguiling,
Cupid strew your path with flowers
Gather'd from Elysian bowers.
Cosi fan tutte, Act 1 duet
Wolfgang Mozart. Opera buffa in 2 Acts, text by Lorenzo da Ponte (1790).
Cosi fan tutte is a comic story of two pairs of insecure lovers. The two men decide to test the fidelity of their girlfriends by dressing up as Albanians and seducing the other’s girlfriend.
This duet, found early on in the first act, shows the two girlfriends looking adoringly at pictures of their boyfriends. For this out-of-context performance, however, each is not looking at one man, but at pictures of dozens and dozens of men – in search of the perfect specimen.
Ah, guarda sorella, se bocca piĚ bella,
se aspetto piĚ nobile si puė trovar.
Osserva tu un poco che fuoco ha ne’ sguardi! Se fiamma, se dardi non sembran scoccar.
Si vede un sembiante guerriero ed amante.
Si vede una faccia che alletta e minaccia.
Felice son io!
Io sono felice!
Se questo mio core mai cangia desio,
Amore mi faccia vivendo penar.
Oh, look sister, if a mouth more lovely,
if a face more noble could ever be found.
Look you a little what fire he has in his gaze!
If he doesn’t seem to fling flames and arrows.
One sees a face of a warrior and a lover.
One sees a face that entices and menaces.
Happy I am!
I am happy!
If my heart ever changes its affections,
May Love make me live in misery.
Candide, “The Best of All Possible Worlds”
Bernstein’s great musical comedy Candide is based on Voltaire’s novel by the same name (1759). It follows the adventures of a naēve young man named Candide who sees horrors and terrible sites wherever he goes – he sees war, murder, executions, he sees his dear friends parish before his eyes. Yet, always the optimist, Candide goes on wide-eyed and happy, trusting in what he learned from his tutor, Dr. Pangloss.
Bernstein completed the first version of the musical in 1955 and it premiered on Broadway in December 1956. This was the same time in which he was composing West Side Story. He came back to Candide many times over the next several decades – reordering songs, composing new songs, restructuring the acts, etc. The song texts and dialogue also underwent extensive changes. There are now several very different versions of Candide in publication. In the 1989, Bernstein completed the “Final Revised Version.” Since then and after Bernstein’s death, there have been several more re-workings and adaptions of the show.
In this song and chorus from the first act, Pangloss explains to his class of students how it is that everything can be for best in this best of all possible worlds.