anja harteros

6

Leading ladies on Verdi’s operas, 12/?

MARIA BOCCANEGRA a.k.a AMELIA GRIMALDI and Come in quest’ora bruna

  • Who’s she: The Doge’s long lost daugher, raised by the Grimaldis
  • In love with: Gabriele Adorno
  • Cause of death: None, she survives
  • Appears in: Simon Boccanegra (1857, revised in 1881)
Come in quest'ora bruna
Sorridon gli astri e il mare!
Come s'unisce, o luna,
All'onda il tuo chiaror!
Ah! amante amplesso pare
Di due virginei cor!
Ma gli astri e la marina
Che dicono alla mente
Dell'orfana meschina?
La notte atra, crudel,
Quando la pia morente sciamò :
Ti guardi il ciel!
O altero ostel, soggiorno
Di Stirpe ancor più altera,
Il tetto disadorno
Non obliai per te!
Ah! solo in tua pompa austera
Amor sorride a me.
S'inalba il ciel!
Ma l'amoroso canto
Non s'ode ancora!
Ei mi terge ogni dì,
Come l'aurora la rugiada dei fior,
Del ciglio il pianto.

(How in this morning light
The sea and the stars shine brightly!
How your light, oh moon
joins with the distant waves!
It seems the fond embrace
of two virginal hearts!
But what do the stars and sea
bring to this poor orphan’s mind?
The dark and cruel night
when the pious dying woman exclaimed:
‘May Heaven watch over you!’
Oh haughty palace, home
of an even prouder lineage!
You never made me forget
about that humble roof!
But here, among your austere pomp,
love smiles on me.
Dawn has come, and still,
I don’t hear his loving song!
He dries my tears each day
as dawn dries the dew from the flowers.)


Amelia’s scene opens the first act of Simon Boccanegra, after a Prologue in which we are witness to Boccanegra’s ascension to power and the death of his lover Maria, daughter of his political rival Fiesco. After being orphaned Maria and Simon’s daughter will be raised at the Grimaldi palace, taking the place of the real Amelia Grimaldi, who died during her childhood. Yes, it’s complicated, but Antonio Gutiérrez (the opera is based on one of his plays) definitely had a thing with switching children (*). She soon will discover ther true parentage and name, after a visit of the Doge himself.

One of the greatest things of this scene (and the same can be said of Simon Boccanegra in its entirety) is how atmosferic the music sounds, you can almost smell the sea. The 1857 version sounded a little different, and included a cabaletta that Verdi eliminated in 1881.

Anja Harteros as Amelia/ Maria

(*) Verdi points if you get the reference. I know you’ll do.

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Jonas Kaufmann and Anja Harteros sing a duet from Giuseppe Verdi’s Don Carlos.

These two truly are marvelous together.

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Non è amor, né gelosia from Handel’s Alcina, sung by Anja Harteros, Vesselina Kasarova and Sonia Prina.

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Soprano Anja Harteros sings ‘Canzone del Salice’ from Verdi’s 'Otello.’  For some reason, this bit of music really relaxes me before I travel.  I’ll be away for the next week; I’ll put some stuff in the queue, but not sure what internet will be… HOWEVER, when I return, this blog turns a year old!  So, I’ll be thinking up ways to celebrate :D