D’un dolce ardor la face
was written for Baletti in 1790, as a replacement number most probably for Salieri’s comic opera La grotta di Trofonio
. This brief aria speaks in touching terms of the sorrows and emotions of love, pouring them out first in a gentle Cantabile, then in a brisk Allegro. The vocal writing, though still marked by virtuosity, here seems to tend towards the calm nobility of Gluck, especially as it also pays close attention to the text, while the different sections of the orchestra are handled in autonomous fashion, as is shown most notably by the flute and bassoon solos at the start. When this piece was written, the French Revolution had already broken out; in 1792, Viotti, guilty of friendship with the queen, fled to London, abandoning the Théâtre de Monsieur and taking with him many of its Italian singers, including Baletti. Meanwhile, in 1791, Cherubini had presented his comédie héroïque, Lodoïska
, which this time earned him a resounding success in Paris.
from notes by Francesco Ermini Polacci ę 2012
English: Charles Johnston