Monday, December 31, 2012

Handel Wants More Time – Voglio tempo

We all want more time. And this seemed like a good theme for New Year's Eve. This is a promo video from the lovely and talented (but annoying to watch at work) Emanulle Haim's recording of Handel's Il trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno (The Triumph of Time and Enlightenment). 

Some of the music here will sound familiar, as Handel either borrowed from this work for others, or vice versa. But there is certainly a lot of lovely music here, though it's not a scintillating plot. It's all very allegorical. Basically, Beauty wants to lead a life of Pleasure, while Time and Enlightenment try to convince her that Pleasure (who makes a good argument!) is fleeting. As with most Handel operas and oratorios, the work progresses in a series of (brief) recitatives and arias, with a few duets and this quartet mixed in. 

And the impressive cast turns in a fun and entertaining performance. Natalie Dessay is Beauty, Ann Hallenberg is Pleasure, Sonia Prina is Enlightenment, and Pavol Breslik is Time. I appreciate their distinctive voices; there's no confusing the contralto with the mezzo, or the mezzo with the soprano. I'll have to add Ms. Hallenberg to my stalking, my fanboy list. She is amazing!

The singers seem to have fun together, judging from this "behind the scenes" video. One almost wants to be there. But I think I would have to slap my singing colleagues when they tried to conduct. There's only one conductor (is that the stern choir director in me speaking out?) Below the video is a rough translation of the text of this quartet. Happy New Year!!

Quartetto: "Voglio tempo"

Beauty                         I want time to decide... 
Time                             Time is with you... 
Enlightenment         ...and also advice... 
Pleasure                      ...but the counsel is your pain. 
Time                             Before I turn you into dust, follow the good... 
Enlightenment         ...flee the danger! 
Pleasure                      Time will have to change his heart. 


  1. I liked this recording too - I haven't listened to it in a while, though; I will have to dig it up and hear it again!

    1. I was thinking,too, that they do a nice job making even the recitatives seem dramatically interesting. It's definitely worth moving to the top of the playlist again.


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