Here is one determined UW-Green Bay music student… Brooke DeGoey was scheduled to give her recital on April 19, 2020, but sadly, the event was cancelled because of the COVID19 pandemic. Undeterred, DeGoey acquired her piano accompaniments (recorded by Grant Colburn), put on her recital gown and recorded her performance of Bel Piacere (Great Pleasure) in her living room!
Thanks to UW-Green Bay Music for an excerpt with details and translations of the Italian texts. As your faculty members said, “Congratulations, Brooke, on your beautiful performance and your willingness to push through the obstacles and share your music with us! We’re proud of you. You are a #CAHSSforInspiration!”
Bel Piacere (Great Pleasure)
It is great pleasure to enjoy a faithful love!
it pleases the heart.
Splendor is not measured by beauty
if it does not come from a faithful heart.
(Translation by Gillian Gingell Wormley)
“Bel Piacere” is from George Frideric Handel’s opera Agrippina written in 1709 in Venice. It tells the story of Agrippina, the mother of Nero, as she plans the downfall of the Roman Emperor Claudius in hopes that her son will take his place. Immediately after its premiere, Agrippina was an instant success in Vienna. Critics and observers praised the music, much of which was actually adapted and borrowed from other composers. The opera is still performed and recorded today.
In this scene, Poppea, the second wife of Nero, is speaking about how happy she is to have a love that is faithful and true. The irony here is that she is not speaking about her husband Nero, but his rival Claudius, whom Aggripina is trying to take down. This is one of the many scenes of irony present throughout Handel’s Agrippina.
Un Moto di Gioia ( A Feeling of Joy)
A feeling of joy
Stirs in my breast,
It proclaims delight
Amid my fears!
Let us hope that in contentment
Our distress will end
For fate and love
Are not always a tyrant.
(Translation by Bard Suverkrop)
“Un Moto di gioia” is an aria from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s opera Le nozze di Figaro, written in 1786. This opera is known as one of Mozart’s three “da Ponte” operas based on librettos by Lorenzo da Ponte. Le nozze di Figaro tells the story of the wedding day of Figaro and Susanna. While preparing for their day, the couple finds out that the Count plans on sabotaging their wedding. With the help of the Countess and the Count’s page, Cherubino, the two devise a plan to ruin the Count’s plot. At this point in the story, Susanna and the Countess are dressing up Cherubino as a girl in order to send him to the Count to create confusion.
The aria “Un moto di gioia” was not originally included in Le nozze di Figaro. When Mozart first composed the opera, he wrote the role of Susanna specifically for the voice of Nancy Storace. In a 1789 revival, Adriana Ferrarese del Bene, an Italian operatic singer, was slated to play Susanna and demanded that Mozart write a new aria for her vocal talents. The result was “Un moto di gioia.” In this scene, Susana is singing to Cherubina as she fits him for dress to confuse the Count. She is excited to “beat” the Count but she is also nervous about the outcome.
Stizzoso, mio stizzoso (Irritable, my irritable)
Irritable, my irritable
You behave with arrogance.
But no! It won’t help your position.
You must stay to my prohibitions
and keep silent,
and not talk!
Shut up !…Shut up!…
These are Serpina’s commands.
Shut up !…Shut up!…
These are Serpina’s commands.
Now, I think you have understood
Yes, you have captured the message,
Because it’s already been a long time
that I made acquaintance with you.
(Translation by Mario Giuseppe Genesi)
“Stizzoso, mio stizzoso” is Serpina’s aria from La Serva Padrona, written by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi in 1733. Pergolesi played a huge role in the rise and development of the pre-classical style and Italian Opera Buffa during the 18th century . Additionally, he was an accomplished violinist and organist and he wrote a handful of sacred music on top of his operas. Unfortunately, his life ended early and he passed away from tuberculosis at the age of 26.
La Serva Padrona is about an old bachelor named Uberto and his arrogant servant, Serpina, who already considers herself mistress of the household. Uberto becomes fed up with Serpina’s behavior and calls for his other servant, Verspone, to find him a wife so he can kick Serpina out. Ironically, by the end of the opera Serpina finally becomes the mistress of the household when she marries Uberto. Today, it is Pergolesi’s most frequently performed and renowned stage work.
In this scene, Uberto is planning to go out but Serpina thinks it too late. She lectures him about it, but forgets that it was she who made him late by not bringing his chocolate to him earlier. She tells him to shut up and listen to her commands in a sassy and flirty tone because while she wants him under her control, she also has a little crush on him.