One of the most haunting, complex, rich arias in all of opera: “Scherza infida” from Handel’s “Ariodante”. To say I’m ‘grateful’ to be able to sing this piece of music seems a tad ‘trite’, perhaps, but it is the unadulterated truth. As with most Handel arias, the range of interpretive possibilities seems endless, so one can employ countless colors, shades and meanings that change with each performance. Perhaps the opportunities are even greater with this particular collection of notes and words centered on Ariodante’s learning that his love has seemingly betrayed him, for being the victim of such perfidy can morph into so many different colors: red hot anger, bitterness, despair, devastation, white-hot pain, black emptiness, the list goes on and on.
I marvel at how opera can freeze a moment in time (in this case, the freezing takes about 10 minutes!): often Handel is berated because “they keep repeating the same text over and over”, but silly dismissers, this gives the opportunity for such rich exploration – the ten times I utter “infida” (“unfaithful one”) in this aria can each carry a different weight – different percentages of venom, loss, rage and even love. The complexity of human emotion takes a long time to sort out, to sift through and to digest – yet another reason I love singing Handel.
Yep – gratitude abounds in this opera score!!