Antonio Vivaldi: Gelido in ogni vena (Winter): Christopher Lowrey, Voices of Music

The aria Gelido in ogni vena from Vivaldi’s opera Farnace. Live, 4K video from the Voices of Music “Harmonic Labyrinth” concert, December, 2019. Chirstopher Lowrey, countertenor. Vivaldi borrows lavishly from his “Winter” concerto from the Four Seasons for the introduction and ritornelli. The trills in the repeated notes are not notated in the manuscript, and are typically not performed nowadays, but in Vivaldi’s time everyone in the orchestra would have known to add the trills for the “Frozen” effect–an effect that by then had been widely used by composers all over Europe, and so they are presented here. One of Vivaldi’s finest works. The manuscript is unusual for the rich layer of carefully notated ornaments for the voice–clearly, Vivaldi had a skilled soloist in mind, possibly the contralto Maria Maddalena Pieri. Text and translation:

Gelido in ogni vena (Il Farnace) Scorrer mi sento il sangue L’ombra del figlio esangue M’ingombra di terror E per maggior mia pena, Credo che fui crudele A un’anima innocente, Al core del mio cor —Antonio Maria Lucchini I feel my blood like ice Coursing through every vein. The shadow of my lifeless son Is a burden of terror. And to make my agony even worse I realize that I was cruel To an innocent soul To the heart of my heart