Tuesday, July 10, 2007

And Speaking of Trees

I was walking today (not a very long walk) along a beautiful trail. The sun was so intense. And so whenever I came across a large tree, I paused under it where a perfect breeze cooled me off. There is nothing like the shade of a tree. I suppose as the leaves are stirred by the breeze, they in turn build on the strength of the breeze.

The character of King Xerxes - in Handel's opera Xerxes - sings to his favourite tree, in a beautiful Largo, sort of a love song to it. Yes, it's a little odd, but it works. The words are as follows:

Ombra mai fu
di vegetabile,
cara ed amabile,
soave più.

The literal translation is:

Never was shade
of dear and amiable vegetable
More sweet.

Dmitri Hvorostovsky, the wonderful Russian baritone, is seen here singing the aria.

In a very different take, Jennifer Larmore, an American mezzo-soprano, made a video of it, sung very slowly (too slowly IMO), in which the ravagement of the environment is a moving backdrop to the words.

My favourite YouTube version has to be this one, by American counter-tenor David Daniels. He sung in a production done here in Toronto, but he played Arsamenes, Xerxes' brother.

I love it any way I can get it.

1 comment:

Capt. Luke said...

Trees and Opera in the same blog seemlessly sequed. You are good.