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"Tornami a vagheggiar"

from Alcina (HWV 34; 1728)

George Frideric Handel (1685–1759)

Handel, George F.
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Handel’s Alcina was written for the composer’s first season at the newly built Covent Garden in London’s West End. An opera in three acts, it is based in part on Ludovico Ariosto’s poem Orlando Furioso and tells the story of a paladin, Ruggiero, who runs afoul of two sorceresses—the sisters Alcina and Morgana—on Alcina’s enchanted island. Alcina has a history of seducing heroes who visit her island, turning them rocks, streams, plants, or wild animals when she tires of them. She falls for Ruggiero and tricks him into loving her, but his fiancé, Bradamante, arrives in search of him, dressed as her brother, Ricciardo. Morgana, in turn, falls in love with “Ricciardo.” More deception and magic ensue, but eventually Ruggiero and Bradamente overcome the women, thus freeing themselves and all the other men previously transformed by Alcina. “Tornami a vagheggiar” is sung at the end of the first act by Morgana, expressing her love for “Ricciardo.” (In some productions, this aria is sung by Alcina to Ruggiero.)














Program notes by:
Dr. Jessica Getman

Assistant Professor of Musicology/Ethnomusicology
California State University, San Bernardino

Tornami a vagheggiar,

Te solo vuole amar

Quest' Anima fedel,

Caro mio bene.


Già ti donai ’l mio cor:

Fido sarà el mio amor.

Mai ti sarò crudel,

Cara mia spene.

My soul is full of you alone,

My dearest youth,

You only can I love.


Since now I’ve given you my heart,

I never more will change,

But ever will be kind and true,

My dear, alone to you.

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