Aria: Ombre, piante
from Rodelinda (HWV 19)
for soprano (f’#-a’’), flute & strings
Handel’s opera Rodelinda, Regina di Langobardi, was composed for performance at the King’s Theatre Haymarket in London, where it received its first performance in 1724. The libretto was written by Niccolo Haym, based on a play of the same title, produced in Florence in 1710. Haym was both a composer and a cellist whose career in the London theatre was initially at Drury Lane, and subsequently with the Italian opera company at the Haymarket Theatre. He wrote or revised the texts of a number of Italian operas, including Rodelinda, and others by Handel.
Rodelinda has lost her husband Bertarido, King of Lombardy he has been deposed, and she believes him dead. A tomb has been erected to him, and this seems to confirm this belief. Rodelinda with her son Flavio approach the tomb to lay a wreath, watched, unknown to her, by her husband who has returned secretly. This is Rodelinda’s sad reflection on her situation