One of Handel’s finest arias, As steals the morn, performed on original instruments by the Early Music ensemble Voices of Music. Live, 4K video from our award winning concert “As steals the Morn,” March, 2019. This concert placed first in the SFCV “Best of the Bay” awards, 2018-2019. Amanda Forsythe and Thomas Cooley, soloists.
March Schachman and Anna Marsh, baroque oboe & bassoon. As steals the morn upon the night, And melts the shades away: So Truth does Fancy’s charm dissolve, And rising Reason puts to flight The fumes that did the mind involve, Restoring intellectual day. —William Shakespeare, John Milton & Charles Jennens “As steal the morn” shows Handel at his very best as a composer: he employs full, rich counterpoint throughout the aria, and he provides extended melismas for the soprano and tenor voices as well as the oboe and bassoon.
The text originally is drawn from Shakespeare’s Tempest: (aside) “The charm dissolves apace, And as the morning steals upon the night, Melting the darkness, so their rising senses Begin to chase the ignorant fumes that mantle Their clearer reason… (Act 5, Scene 1) The play as a whole (and these lines in particular) was widely imitated in the baroque period, in this case, by Milton, and later by Handel and his librettist, Charles Jennens.
L’Allegro premiered in February of 1740. The original cast was soprano Elisabeth Duparc (‘La Francesina’) a boy treble, tenor John Beard, and basses Henry Reinhold and William Savage.