Christopher Lowrey will be appearing at the Goettingen Handel Festival in the oratorio “Susanna,” May 5th, 2016. For more information:
Countertenor Christopher Lowrey sings the aria Ombra mai fù, from Handel’s opera *Serse.* 4K, Ultra HD video from the Voices of Music “Art of the Countertenor” concert, March, 2016.
Handel’s arias form one of the core repertories for singers of 18th-century music, owing not only to the quality of the compositions but also to the variety of affects and styles present in his operas, oratorios and sacred music. The aria “Ombra mai fù,” known also as “Handel’s Largo,” is one of his best-known works; somewhat surprisingly, it comes down to us through a circuitous path. The original version was composed by Cavalli in the mid-17th century, then “borrowed” by Bononcini for his 1694 production of the opera Serse, then substantially revised by Handel for his own version of Serse which premiered in London in April of 1738. Handel’s version retains the overall texture, scoring and melodic shapes of the original, but Handel reworks the vocal line and creates more interplay between the singer and the violins.
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Ombra mai fù
cara ed amabile,
Never was the shade
from any plant
more dear, more lovely,
or so sweet.
The Musicians and their Instruments
Voices of Music performs on original instruments: hear the music played on
instruments from the time of the composer.
Lisa Grodin, baroque viola by Mathias Eberl, Salzburg, Austria, 1680
Kati Kyme, baroque violin by Johann Gottlob Pfretzschner, Mittenwald, 1791
Carla Moore, baroque violin by Johann Georg Thir, Vienna, Austria, 1754
Maxine Nemerovski, baroque violin by Joseph Gaffino, Paris, 1769
Elisabeth Reed, baroque cello, anonymous, 1673
Farley Pearce, violone by George Stoppani, Manchester, 1985, after Amati, 1560
David Tayler, archlute by Andreas von Holst, Munich, 2012, after Tieffenbrucker, c1610
Hanneke van Proosdij, baroque organ by Winold van der Putten, Finsterwolde,
Netherlands, 2004, after early 18th-century northern German instruments
Gabrielle Wunsch, baroque violin by Lorenzo Carcassi, Florence, Italy, 1765