One Charming Night


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Christina Pluhar

Several arias such as "The Plaint", "Thrice happy lovers" and "Hark! The orchestra for The Fairy-Queen consists of two recorders , two oboes , two trumpets, timpani, string instruments and harpsichord continuo. Following Purcell's premature death, his opera Dioclesian remained popular until well into the eighteenth century, [8] but the score of The Fairy-Queen was lost and only rediscovered early in the twentieth century. Changing tastes were not the only reason for this; the voices employed had also become difficult to find.

The list of singers below shows the frequent employment of the male alto, or countertenor , in the semi-opera, a voice which, after Purcell, essentially vanished from the stage, probably due to the rise of Italian opera and the attendant castrati. After that Romantic opera emerged, with the attendant predominance of the tenor. Until the early music revival, the male alto survived mainly in the ecclesiastical tradition of all-male church choirs and twentieth-century American vocal quartets.

One charming night (from "The Fairy Queen"), alto aria, Z. 629/13

However, Purcell's music and with it The Fairy-Queen was resuscitated by two related movements: a growing interest in Baroque music and the rise of the countertenor, led by pioneers such as Alfred Deller and Russell Oberlin. The former movement led to performances of long-neglected composers such as Purcell, John Dowland , John Blow and even George Frideric Handel , while the latter complemented it by providing a way of making such performances as authentic as possible as regards the original music and the composer's intentions less true for Handel, where countertenors appear as castrati replacements.

The format of the work presents problems to modern directors, who must decide whether or not to present Purcell's music as part of the original play, which uncut is rather lengthy. Savage calculated a length of four hours. In July , two months before the th anniversary of Purcell's birth, The Fairy-Queen was performed in a new edition, prepared for The Purcell Society by Bruce Wood and Andrew Pinnock, which restored the entire theatrical entertainment as well as the original pitch used by Purcell.

One charming night (from "The… | Details | AllMusic

The role of Mopsa was originally performed by a soprano; however, a later revision by Purcell stated that it was to be performed by "Mr. Pate in woman's habit", presumably to have a grotesque effect and highlight the refrain "No, no, no, no, no; no kissing at all" in the dialogue between Corydon and Mopsa. The record is ambivalent as to whether Purcell himself a countertenor used a tenor with a particularly high range though lighter at the top and tessitura known sometimes as a haute-contre , the descendants of the contratenors alti of medieval polyphony or a falsettist.

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It seems that throughout his career he used both. For a list of non-singing characters see A Midsummer Night's Dream , with the exception of Hippolyta. That character was cut by Purcell's librettist.

One Charming Night

For the plot of the play see A Midsummer Night's Dream. Only a synopsis of scenes provided with music is given here.

Henry Purcell. "The Fairy Queen" One charming night.

The first scene set to music occurs after Titania has left Oberon, following an argument over the ownership of a little Indian boy. Two of her fairies sing of the delights of the countryside "Come, come, come, come, let us leave the town".


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A drunken, stuttering poet enters, singing "Fill up the bowl". The stuttering has led many to believe the scene is based on the habits of Thomas d'Urfey.


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However, it may also be poking fun at Elkanah Settle , who stuttered as well and was long thought to be the librettist, due to an error in his biography. The fairies mock the drunken poet and drive him away. It begins after Oberon has ordered Puck to anoint the eyes of Demetrius with the love-juice. Javascript is required for this feature.

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These file s are part of the Werner Icking Music Collection. Performers MIDI.


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  6. Editor Martin Straeten. Editor John South Shedlock London: Novello and Company , n.

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