Beethoven: Sparks of Joy — Op. 65, Ah Perfido!, which will it be: rage or enduring love?
In his youth, Beethoven had been steeped in the Italian vocal tradition, often playing the continuo for visiting opera troupes and composing variations on popular operatic numbers. The concert aria “Ah, Perfido!” (Oh, Deceiver!), composed shortly after his arrival in Vienna, remains a favorite among sopranos today. It relates the anguish of Deidamia, Princess of Scyros, whom Achilles has abandoned to fight the Trojan War, leaving her pregnant and alone. Cheryl Studer’s performance eloquently expresses Deidamia’s emotional turmoil, alternating rage with enduring love. [Notes by Margaret Scialdone.]