Listen here! Benedetto Ferrari, mascalzone

Listen here! Benedetto Ferrari, mascalzone

Careful there, when you fall for a woman. He’s been there, done that, got the night shirt all in pieces.

The game of choose your version. Amanti, io vi so dire, by Benedetto Ferrari (also possibly the author of the  closing duet Pur ti miro in Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea).

Roberta Invernizzi‘s rendition, recorded in church-like acoustics, is lavish. She takes the time by changing tempi and since music is almost the same level as the voice, the performance sounds like there’s a small orchestra beside her.

Then there’s the counter-tenor Philippe Jaroussky. This kind of voice sang  the balletto to its original audiences. The opposite gender is back in its place (a male narrator talking about women), but only pro forma. The voice remains high and ornamentation what we now read as highly feminine.

This version is actually the most mezzo-masculine of the three. Anne Sofie von Otter gives a devilish, visceral narrator who lets his vizzi & rimorsi speak unhindered. It’s a voice that conveys a body language – it’s easy to see how the jokey, nervy fella is moving with every new phrase.

Look here for lyrics.

6 thoughts on “Listen here! Benedetto Ferrari, mascalzone

  1. wow, thanks for the beautiful music. without knowing the translation, i really like Roberta Invernizzi‘s rendition. I think it’s partly because of the warm sound of… so it’s not an orchestra? sounds like one indeed. The version by ASVO definitely has more characterization, i’ll definitely look for a translation now that i hear her rendition.

  2. I am going mad about this stuff. I am just listening to a L’Incoronazione di Poppea CD, a version from the eighties conducted by John Eliot Gardiner, with the English Baroque Soloists playing on baroque instruments. ASvO’s Ottavia is beyond description.

    There’s something to be said about the prominence of voice with a very discreet presence of the ensemble. Somehow the full Romantic orchestra is like adding the CGI and special effects.

  3. hi DtO, yes, the period instruments are so much more intimate, they’re meant for close space settings after all, not gigantic auditoriums. Actually ASvO came to ucla for a 1/2 hr song recital (Dvorak) just a few months ago. I attended but didn’t know much about the songs so it’s hard to say… appearance-wise however, i must comment she’s so tall and handsome :-D

  4. *swoon*

    I got a copy of the book ‘En Travesti: Women, Gender Subversion, Opera’ and Terry Castle in her pean to Brigitte Fassbaender mentions ASvO as one of the first mezzos who have developed an army of sapphic followers.

  5. Hey there ;) This time, I ended up on your blog because I was looking for the libretto; In the meantime I have found it. It’s so lovely, and one of my all time favourites. Base-line is, “Been here, done that,” vaguely. Needless to say, I prefer Jaroussky’s version, just because it is the most gender-ambivalent, which gives every line such a variety of meanings. Here’s the libretto. (Or do you say lyrics in this case, this not being an aria? I am always unsure in English. In German, it is just ‘text.’)

    *Benedetto Ferrari, “Amanti, io vi sò dire” – “Lovers, I will tell you”*

    Amanti, io vi sò dire
    Ch’è meglio assai fuggire
    Bella donna vezzosa:
    Ò sia cruda o pietosa,
    Ad ogni modo e via
    Il morir per amor è una pazzia.
    Lovers, I will tell you
    that it is much better to flee
    a beautiful and charming woman,
    whether she is cruel or merciful;
    whatever happens,
    it is madness to die for love.


    Non accade pensare
    Di gioir in amare,
    Amoroso contento
    Dedicato è al momento,
    E bella donna al fine
    Rosa non dona mai senza le spine.
    Do not think
    to find joy in love:
    Amorous contentment
    is devoted to the moment,
    and a beautiful woman, in the end,
    never gives roses without thorns.


    La speme del gioire
    Fondata è su ’l martire;
    Bellezza e cortesia
    Non stann’ in compagnia;
    Sò ben dir con mio danno
    Che la morte ed amor insieme vanno.
    The hope of pleasure
    is based on suffering;
    beauty and kindness
    do not go well together;
    I can say to my detriment


    Vi vuol pianti a diluvi
    Per spegner i vesuvi
    D’un cor innamorato,
    D’un spirito infiammato;
    Pria che si giunga in porto,
    Quante volte si dice:
    Ohimè son morto.
    It takes floods of tears
    to extinguish the volcanoes
    of an amorous heart,
    of a soul that has been set alight;
    before reaching safety
    how many times has one said:
    ‘Alas, I amdead.’


    Credetel a costui
    Che per prova può dir:
    Se creder nol volete,
    Lasciate star che poco importa a me:
    Believe him who can say
    from experience: ‘I saw it, I was there.’
    If you will not believe him
    forget it, it’s nothing to me:


    Seguitate ad amar; ad ogni modo,
    Che de’ rompersi il collo non accada
    Che schivi od erta o fondo,
    Che per proverbio senti sempre dire;
    Dal destinato non si può fuggire.
    go on loving, in every way,
    for he who breaks his neck has never been able
    to avoid the steep climb or the fall,
    for I have always heard say, by the proverb,
    that no-one can escape his destiny.


    Donna, so chi tu sei;
    Amor, so i fatti miei.
    Non tresco più con voi;
    Alla larga ambi doi!
    Sogn’un fosse com’io
    Saria un balordo Amor e non un dio.
    Woman, I know who you are;
    Love, I know what to expect.
    I will have no more to do with you;
    keep away from me, both of you!
    If everyone was like me
    Love would be a fool and not a god.

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