NaBloPoMo I: What I’ve Been Singing: Per la Gloria d’Adorarvi: Bononcini


What can be said about the late great Dame Joan Sutherland‘s voice and technique that hasn’t already been said? I chose her version of Bononcini’s aria because it is the most expressive of all the versions I found on You Tube. Dame Joan is singing at a slightly slower pace, allowing for greater expression, than the prescribed Andante (meaning at walking pace for those not up on musical terms). Others seem to have gone for a slightly faster Andantino. Dame Joan was famous for her trill, and she demonstrates why in this aria. Of course, her technique was impeccable. Her diction in this is outstanding, and used to add to the feeling. I mean, after all, the song’s not cheerful (in English, the title is For the Love my Heart doth Prize and some of the lyrics include the lines For me, my love is pain and I know ’tis all in vain, vain, vain,) so why do some versions interpret this at the pace and in the manner of a pretty prancing pony?

Giovanni Battista Bononcini (1670–1747) was a baroque composer, cellist, singer and teacher. He was born in Modena, Italy, the eldest of 3 sons. By the time he was 8, he was an orphan. At 15, he published 3 collections of instrumental works. In 1691 he moved to Rome; in 1697 to Vienna. From 1720-22 he lived in London where he was so celebrated as to have become a rival in popularity to Handel, though between 1719-23 Handel was in Dresden – attending the newly built opera house – looking for fresh singers, on the orders of the Lord Chamberlain, the First Duke of Newcastle.

While in Dresden, Handel attended the opera Teofane, by Antonio Lotti (1667-1740). Bononcini left London in 1722 for France, in disgrace, after having been prosecuted successfully for plagiarism, for passing off a madrigal by Antonio Lotti as his own work.  Curious!  I can’t help surmising that Bononcini was somehow, framed.  In 1748 Bononcini was summoned back to Vienna then moved to Venice, dying in poverty, leaving behind him a wife and 4 children. Handel died rich and was buried in Westminster Abbey.

From the Bononcini web site:  Admired both by his peers and by the public for his musical abilities, besides being a gifted composer he was also a brilliant cellist. Bononcini was sought after by royalty and the aristocracy and worked throughout Europe from his beginnings in Bologna, then to Rome, via Vienna to London, Paris, Madrid, Lisbon and returning to Vienna.

Per la Gloria is an aria from Bononcini’s opera, Griselda. Griselda was based on a libretto of Apostolo Zeno (1669-1750) which he based on Boccaccio’s (1313–1375) The Decameron. The Decameron was a collection of 100 tales told by 10 students. Chapter 10 tells the tale of The Patient Griselda. (Chaucer is believed to have developed his Canterbury Tales around the structure of Boccaccio’s Decameron).

Griselda premiered in London in 1722, when Handel was at the court of Queen Anne as Kapellmeister to the Hanoverian Prince, later King, George I.

Griselda is a peasant woman. A great beauty, she has been the mistress of King Gualtiero for a long time. The king decides to marry Griselda, but thinks she might be given a hard time by the nobles. He decides he has to prove her worthy to be queen and subjects her to a series of cruel tests. In one, he lies to her that their daughter, who has by some means, been long lost, was killed on his orders. He also banishes Griselda from court. He announces he’s to marry another woman – Almirena – who turns out in the end to be the missing daughter!  Almirena doesn’t want to marry the king as she is in love with Ernesto.

The banished Griselda has gone back to live in her humble peasant cottage. Her beauty catches the eye of Rambo – sorry, Rambaldo. She resists Rambo’s advances, but he threatens to kill her infant son Everardo unless she marries him.  She flees back to the palace and is tolerated there by the king, but only as a servant to Almirena. As a final test, the king orders Griselda to marry Rambaldo, but she refuses. The king then admits that he was only joking (about the tests) the true identity of Almirena is discovered, who marries her Ernesto, Rambaldo is forgiven and all’s well that ends well. How relationships have changed since those days.

Here are the lyrics to the song if you want to sing along.  Go on, have a go!

Per la gloria d’adorarvi voglio amarvi, o luci care;
per la gloria d’adorarvi voglio amarvi, o luci care.
Amando penerò, ma sempre v’amerò, sì, sì, nel mio penare:
Amando penerò, ma sempre v’amerò, sì, sì, nel mio penare,
penerò, v’amerò, luci care,
penerò, v’amerò, luci care.
Senza speme di diletto vano affetto è sospirare,
senza speme di diletto vano affetto è sospirare,
ma i vostri dolci rai chi vagheggiar può mai e non, e non v’amare?
ma i vostri dolci rai chi vagheggiar può mai e non, e non v’amare?
penerò, v’amerò, luci care.

In English:

For the love my heart doth prize, O charmful eyes, I would adore ye;
For the love my heart doth prize, O charmful eyes, I would adore ye.
For me, my love is pain, I know ’tis all in vain, vain, vain, Yet kneel before ye:
For me, my love is pain, I know ’tis all in vain, vain, vain, yet kneel before ye.
Love is pain, all in vain I implore ye,
love is pain, all in vain I implore ye.
Hopeless ’tis to look for kindness, Foolish fondness with sighs t’implore ye,
Hopeless ’tis to look for kindness, Foolish fondness with sighs t’implore ye;
But who-e’er might woo your gaze, Bask in your sunny rays, and not, and not adore ye?
But who-e’er might woo your gaze, Bask in your sunny rays, and not, and not adore ye?
Love is pain, all in vain I implore ye,
love is pain, all in vain I implore ye.

Enjoy!

About AnnIsikArts

Artist/Writer, Proofreader/Copy Editor
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15 Responses to NaBloPoMo I: What I’ve Been Singing: Per la Gloria d’Adorarvi: Bononcini

  1. Thanks for stopping by my blog. All the best to you.

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  2. Very interesting!!

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    • AnnIsikArts says:

      I love singing and the opportunity to begin having my voice trained came along at the absolute lowest point of my life. It transformed me. On a physical level, it’s hard work but pumps lots of oxygen and noradrenalin etc into the body, which are natural ‘highs’. When I feel sad or upset, I get my Vaccai out (well-known bel canto singing course) and sing through the entire book. I’d absolutely recommend singing to anyone with depression. Lessons cost, but there are choirs, groups and choral societies. Have you ever thought about singing?

      Liked by 2 people

      • If I took voice lessons, the instructor would flunk me and then kick me out of the class. HaHa! Seriously, my voice is that bad. I think it is wonderful that it is a creative outlet for you to heal from outside conflicts, no matter what they are (depression, anger, grief…or something else) In fact, I am beginning to believe (or understand) that depression and other mental illnesses are the result of the creative side of ourselves screaming for expression. I’m still working on that thought but the more I think about it, the more I agree with it. I think you must have a very beautiful singing voice.

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      • AnnIsikArts says:

        A huge topic. For what it’s worth, I think you’re absolutely on the right track. My personal view is that all illness, in particular illness dubbed ‘mental’ is down to spiritual ‘imbalance’ screaming for healing. For me, one of the functions of creativity is to address and adjust this spirituality – and is a conversation. Just who you’re talking to is up to the individual to define. I’ve had experiences that have confirmed for me the existence of a creator spirit who is interested in my conversations! As for singing, thank you for your ‘blind faith’ in my voice! I am hoping to record something though I’ve stopped lessons for now. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • I would love to her your voice music! I also would love for you to write a blog post on what you were just saying about a Creator Spirit. I would like to reblog it to some of my friends that are in therapy. Thank you!!

        Liked by 1 person

      • AnnIsikArts says:

        You are kind! As for a specific blog post to be passed to your friends in therapy, well, yikes, I’m sadly aware that there are those who are struggling with their mental health as a result of abuse from religious personnel. I’d be concerned about exacerbating rather than ‘helping’. I am trying to put some time aside for a little ebook of some experiences, which would be meant to aid those with cancer, in a tiny way.

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      • I’m not talking about a book, just a short post – less than 500 words. Just your thoughts regarding the Creative within us. I feel like you have more information on that than I do. I am only “beginning” to believe this, but that belief keeps getting stronger. I will also put a little in of what I believe when I reblog it so you won’t be standing alone.

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      • AnnIsikArts says:

        Less than 500 words. Yikes! There are lots of books out there. Have you come across Julia Cameron? The Artist’s Way? It’s a fabulous method, dealing with the artist’s block. I totally recommend it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I know someone that is taking some sort of class called The Artist Way. I will look that up because now, since you recommended it, I am very interested!

        Liked by 1 person

      • AnnIsikArts says:

        It’s a great read but the proof of the pudding is in the doing. Especially, for me, the ‘Morning Pages’. I’ll let you discover it all for yourself, though! I’d be interested to know how you get on with the book … 🙂

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      • That was what he said he had been doing, The Morning Pages. What is that??

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      • AnnIsikArts says:

        ‘Morning pages’ is one of the major tools of the programme. You write 3 longhand pages (on anything) before you do anything else, every morning. For me, it was about getting rid of the negativities accumulated during the previous day. Sort of giving myself a ‘clean sheet’ to create on for that day. I do ‘Evening pages’ too, which helps me to sleep peacefully. I have a journal writing program on my computer: LifeJournal. It’s fantastic (and password protected so I can ‘flow out’ without worrying who might get their hands on it.

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      • That sounds awesome! I think that is a great way to cleanse oneself for a fresh new day or a fresh night’s sleep.

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