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Dame Joan Sutherland – “Tornami a vagheggiar” Aria of Alcina I Act Scene XV – “Alcina” (1735) – Georg Friedrich Händel (1685 – 1759)

by Luca

Dame Joan Sutherland – “Tornami a vagheggiar” Aria of Alcina I Act Scene XV – “Alcina” (1735) – Georg Friedrich Händel (1685 – 1759).

Unique Opera Records & Melodram – ℗ 1981
Recorded in Köln on May 15, 1959. Radio broadcasting.
Sutherland sang the role of Alcina for the first time in Italian at very short notice. Wunderlich and Monti both came to rehearsal expecting to sing the role of Oronte and Wunderlich sight-read the part of Ruggero and sang it in performance a few days later (See «A Prima Donna’s Progress» by Joan Sutherland p.77).

Cappella Coloniensis
Kölner Rundfunkchor
Conductor M.° Ferdinand Leitner
Alcina – Dame Joan Sutherland
Ruggiero – Fritz Wunderlich
Bradamante – Norma Procter
Oronte – Nicola Monti
Morgana – Janette van Dijck
Melisso – Thomas Hemsley.

In the original libretto of Alcina the aria “Tornami a vagheggiar” is sung by Morgana. “Several other sources attribute ‘Tornami a vagheggiar’ to Alcina, instead of Morgana, for example the fundamental 1868 Leipzig edition act I scene 15 p. 51
or p 13/35 (“Alcina sola” = alone).
The aria-database says about Alcina and Tornami a vagheggiar: different versions of this opera give this aria to different characters. While originally this aria was sung by Morgana, other versions give it to Alcina.
According to “Il dizionario dell’opera” (ed. Baldini & Castoldi) ‘from 1736 several changes [to Alcina] became necessary. The aria ‘Tornami a vagheggiar’ (I, 15), written originally for Morgana, was given to Alcina, perhaps for rivalry between singers’ (a partire dal 1736 si resero necessarie diverse modifiche: l’aria “Tornami a vagheggiar” (I,15), scritta originariamente per Morgana, fu affidata ad Alcina, forse in seguito a rivalità tra le interpreti).
All these evidences are “redundant”, if one knows a little the history of music and the extreme freedom once enjoyed by singers, that often moved arias and scenes from an opera to another, or asked their preferred composers to replace an aria or scene they didn’t like.”


Tornami a vagheggiar,
te solo vuol amar
quest’anima fedel,
caro mio bene.
Già ti donai il mio cor;
fido sarà il mio amor;
mai ti sarò crudel,
cara mia speme.

(Return to me to languish,
Only you it wants to love
this faithful heart,
My dear, my good one, my dear!

Already I gave you my heart :
I trust you will be my love;
but you will be too cruel,
my dear hope.

Translation by Robert Glaubitz).