Rinaldo, HWV 7, Act II, Scene 4: Lascia ch’io pianga
Another great rendition:
“Lascia ch’io pianga” is an Italian-language soprano aria by composer George Frideric Handel which has become a popular concert piece. Three years later, Handel re-cycled the melody and used it for an aria for the character Piacere in the second part of his 1707 oratorio Il trionfo del tempo e del disinganno (also entitled El tronfo del Tempo e della Verità. This version of the aria is entitled, “Lascia la spina”. Chrysander’s score for this aria can be seen on page 76 of Vol. 24. The text and lyrics for this version of the aria are as follows: Lascia la spina, cogli la rosa; tu vai cercando il tuo dolor. Canuta brina per mano ascosa, giungerà quando nol crede il cuor. Leave the thorn, take the rose; you go searching for your pain. Gray frost by hidden hand will come when you heart doesn’t expect it. In 1711, Handel recycled the music yet again, this time for his 1711 London opera Rinaldo, using a new text (see below) and giving the aria to the character Almirena (portrayed by soprano Isabella Girardeau in the opera’s premiere) in act 2. Rinaldo was a major triumph for Handel, and it is with this work that the aria is chiefly associated. Handel’s 1739 pasticcio Giove in Argo also features a shorter and lesser known “Lascia la spina”. Lascia ch’io pianga mia cruda sorte, e che sospiri la libertà. Il duolo infranga queste ritorte de’ miei martiri sol per pietà.