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Coming up for air…

August 31, 2011

Whew!  I almost let August slip by without a single post.  You know, when I started this blog I didn’t expect that I would post too frequently, but I did plan on being a little more reliable than this!  Honestly, life has been hard, and that’s why.  As I’ve chronicled a little in these two posts, the last two months have been some of the emotionally hardest of my  life.  This month, in particular, has been a grueling journey through the vast, dark, and uncharted wilds of my relationship with my love.

The good news is that I think we’re finally out of the rough.  The bad news?  We’ve not arrived yet – rations are in short supply and wounds are still healing.  We’re both very weary from the length of the journey, and are wishing to be back home, safe and secure.  We’re trekking onward, though.  We’re rebuilding and making progress.  It’s slow, but it’s progress nonetheless, and hopefully we’ll not have to come this way again.

Tonight I wanted to share a special piece of music that is very dear to my soul.  It’s one of my favorite moments in opera – the final scene of Claudio Monteverdi’s (bap. 1567 – 1643) L’incoronazione di Poppea (The Coronation of Poppea).  While there is some doubt to the details of the composition and premiere of the work (as is often the case), it is generally considered by scholars to be Monteverdi’s fourth and final opera, finished in 1642 and premiered the following year.  Giovanni Francesco Busenello (1598-1659) wrote the libretto.

In this scene, the Emperor Nero and his mistress Poppea sing the love duet “Pur ti miro, pur ti godo.”  Previously in the act, Nero had exiled his wife, the Empress Ottavia, and then subsequently crowned Poppea as the new Empress.  It’s a fascinating opera, and unusual in the fact that evil appears to triumph at the end.  The clip below is from Glyndebourne Opera’s 2008 production.  Nero is sung by Alice Coote and Poppea by Danielle de Niese.  Emmanuelle Haïm conducted the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

“Pur ti miro, pur ti godo” from Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea (1642)

Pur ti miro, Pur ti godo,
Pur ti stringo, Pur t’annodo,
Più non peno, Più non moro,
O mia vita, o mio tesoro.

Io son tua, Tuo son io,
Speme mia, Dillo, dì,
Tu sei pur, L’idol mio,
Sì, mio ben, Sì, mio cor, mia vita, sì.

English Translation:

Still I gaze at you, Still I delight in you
Still I hold you, Still I am entwined with you
I suffer no longer, I live no longer,
O my life, O my treasure!

I am yours, Yours I am,
My hope, Say it, say,
You are still, My idol,
Yes, my dear, Yes, my heart, my life, yes!

Isn’t that stunning?  I absolutely love this duet – it’s rapturous and heavenly.  It’s been tempting at times when things have been especially rough and there is little to no light is on the horizon for both me and Emmy to ask ourselves if it was worth it.  When so much has been damaged, is it worth the energy and time to repair?  Our relationship had severely deteriorated, and between that and other situational circumstances from one of life’s more threatening storms it was very nearly destroyed.  I found it helpful to listen to this sincere, powerful duet to help me regain my bearings – to realize what a rare and beautiful treasure I have in her.  She makes me happy in so many ways!

Love is the key.


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