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La Libertà

First line:
O Libertà, o Dea Celeste, e Bella!
author of text
translator of text

A kind of cantata, La libertà has been identified as Faustina’s ‘farewell song’ to her English patrons performed just before her final departure from London in early July 1728, when she visited her most important English patrons, who included the King and Queen, to take a formal leave of them. (See Michael Talbot’s edition of La libertà published by Edition HH.) Although it was customary for eminent visiting singers to pay tribute to their hosts by singing a piece in praise of their nation, Faustina is not known either to have sung in English or to have sung in a public theatre except in an opera. Any performance by her as a leave-taking gesture was necessarily in Italian and in a private setting. (See Michael Talbot’s article ‘Maurice Greene’s Vocal Music on Italian Texts’, in RMA Research Chronicle, vol. 48 (2017).) Finding a piece of elegant Italian verse of the right length that flattered Britain is not an easy task, but in Greene’s cantata, which sets a stanza from a long poem by Joseph Addison conveniently already translated into Italian by his friend Anton Maria Salvini, a very ingenious and exquisitely realized solution is revealed—one that perhaps slyly commemorates in addition the reputed amorous relationship of Faustina and the violinist Mauro D’Alay (Maurino), her inseparable companion, since the framing aria sections treat the violin as a wordless partner to the voice in the manner of a love duet. The composition is in E major, one of Faustina’s favourite keys.

from notes by Bridget Cunningham © 2019


Handel's Queens
Studio Master: SIGCD579Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available


Track 14 on SIGCD579 CD2 [5'08] Download only

Track-specific metadata for SIGCD579 disc 2 track 14

Recording date
5 February 2019
Recording venue
St Augustine's Church, Kilburn, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Mark Brown
Recording engineer
Mike Hatch & Andrew Mellor
Hyperion usage
  1. Handel's Queens (SIGCD579)
    Disc 2 Track 14
    Release date: July 2019
    Download only
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