Love plays a significant part in most operas, but all too often it is frustrated, or entangled with deception, humiliation and betrayal. With her new disc Camilla Tilling presents a near-comprehensive catalogue of the emotions that the vagaries of love can raise in the breast of an operatic heroine. And these emotions are universal and timeless, afflicting servants and countesses, Grecian princesses, a sorceress from Damascus and a young lady of 18th-century Naples alike.
Gluck’s Armide glories in having Renaud in her power – until she realizes that her feelings makes it impossible to destroy him as she had planned. Newly raised from the dead, his Euridice is defenceless against the strong emotions of the living, and beset by doubts when Orpheus refuses to acknowledge her on their way back to earth. In the bravura aria Come scoglio, Mozart’s Fiordiligi proclaims her steadfast love for Guglielmo, but in the following act of the opera she regretfully admits to having been enamoured by another. And from The Marriage of Figaro we hear Susanna inviting the loved one to a nocturnal rendez-vous (‘Deh vieni, non tardar’) as well as her mistress, the Countess, wondering in ‘Dove sono’ what happened to the loving marriage she once had.
With a soprano typically described as ‘radiant’, ‘vernal’ or ‘silvery’, Camilla Tilling has performed several of the roles featured here at venues such as Opéra National de Paris, Covent Garden, Salzburg Mozarteum and Drottningholm Slottsteater. On this recording she partnered by Philipp von Steinaecker and his Musica Saeculorum, whose period instruments bring out all the sweetness, pain and regret that Gluck and Mozart magically worked into their scores.