Meet the Vivaldi Girls, Blessing and Cecilia


“We may have different religions, different languages, different colored skin, but we all belong to one human race” Kofi Annan.

Today you are receiving this late because I have been battling with a storm within; to write or not to write, to share or not. But I have decided to share, no matter how short. Yes we believe to one human race and apart from sports which makes us forget our different cleavages – ethnic, religious, creed, race, tongue, music does.  Not just any kind of music though, but amazing classical music.

Recently I shared with you my new found love of Antonio Vivaldi’s works. The most recent is the aria Agitata in La Grasielda, dramma per musica in three acts that was composed by Antonio Vivaldi. According to Wikipedia, “The opera uses a revised version of the 1701 Italian libretto by Apostolo Zeno that was based on Giovanni Boccaccio's The Decameron (X, 10, "The Patient Griselda").The celebrated Venetian playwright Carlo Goldoni was hired to adapt the libretto for Vivaldi. The opera was first performed in Venice at the Teatro San Samuele on 18 May 1735.”.
The First Act
Years before the action begins, Gualtiero, King of Thessaly, had married a poor shepherdess, Griselda. The marriage was deeply unpopular with the king's subjects and when a daughter, Costanza, was born, the king had to pretend to have her killed while secretly sending her to be brought up by Prince Corrado of Athens. Now, after the recent birth of a son has led to another rebellion from the Thessalians against Griselda as a queen, Gualtiero is forced to dismiss her and promises to take a new wife. The proposed bride is in fact Costanza, who is unaware of her true parentage and unknown to Griselda. She is in love with Corrado's younger brother, Roberto, and the thought of being forced to marry Gualtiero drives her to despair.

The Second Act
Griselda returns to her home in the countryside where she is pursued by the villainous courtier Ottone, who is completely besotted with her and has surreptitiously fomented the popular uprisings in order to derail her marriage. She angrily rejects his advances. Gualtiero and his followers go out hunting and come across Griselda's cottage. Gualtiero foils an attempt by Ottone to kidnap Griselda and allows her back to the court, but only as Costanza's slave.

The Third Act
Ottone still resolutely pursues Griselda and Gualtiero promises him her hand as soon as he himself has married Costanza. Griselda absolutely refuses and declares she would rather die. At this point, Gualtiero embraces her, having demonstrated her virtue to the rebellious people, and takes her back as his wife. Gualtiero and Corrado reveal the true identity of Costanza, Ottone is pardoned and the girl is allowed to marry Roberto.
Image result for Vivaldi Agitata 
The performance of Agitata da due venti by multiple Grammy award winner and Italian coloratura mezzo-soprano opera singer and recitalist Cecilia Bartoli is simply phenomenal! She makes classical singing looks easy and her expression is simply divine.

One person that reminds me of her is the Nigerian Blessing Agu. Blessing’s soprano texture is simply unique and her ability to switch effortlessly between pitches, layering her way up is just cool. She makes singing so easy.

You can click on this link and listen to Blessing Agu in one of her entry at the Splash Heroes Semi Finals contest. Do not forget to like the video once you are done viewing.

Now as I write, I feel some clarity in my mind, the challenge before me no doubt daunting, but I am certain I will not be consumed.

For the love of a friend, classical music and sanity!


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