Young Women's Chamber Choir Fall 2015
Magnificat by Niccola Porpora
Niccola Porpora, in full Nicola Antonio Giacinto Porpora (born Aug. 17, 1686, Naples—died March 3, 1768, Naples), leading Italian teacher of singingof the 18th century and noted composer between 1708 and 1747 of more than 60 operas in the elegant, lyrical Neapolitan style. He taught singing in Venice and Naples; among his pupils were the poet and librettist Pietro Metastasio, the composer Johann Adolph Hasse, and the celebrated castrati Antonio Uberti (known as “Porporino”), Farinelli, and Caffarelli.
His most important teaching post was in Venice at the Ospedale degli Incurabili, the famous music school for girls, from 1726 to 1733. In 1733 he went to London as chief composer to the Opera of the Nobility, a company formed in competition to Handel’s opera company. In London he wrote five operas, among them Polifemo, Davide e Betsabea, and Ifigenia in Aulide, with parts for his remarkable pupil Farinelli. When the Opera of the Nobility and Handel’s company closed, Porpora left England, in 1736. He subsequently taught in Venice and Naples, where he produced several comic operas. In 1747 he was in Dresden and from 1748 to 1751 was chapelmaster there. He went to Vienna in 1752, where he gave composition lessons to the young Haydn, and in 1758 returned to Naples. A revision of his opera Il Trionfo di Camilla (first produced 1740) was given there in 1760 but failed, and Porpora’s last years were spent in poverty. In addition to about 50 operas, he composed a number of oratorios, masses, motets, and instrumental works.
Note: A castrato (Italian, plural: castrati) is a type of classical male singing voice equivalent to that of a soprano, mezzo-soprano, or contralto. The voice is produced by castration of the singer before puberty, or it occurs in one who, due to an endocrinological condition, never reaches sexual maturity.
TRANSLATION OF LATIN TEXT
1. Magnificat anima mea Dominum.
My soul magnifies the Lord.
2. Et exultavit spiritus meus in Deo salutari meo.
And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.
Quia respexit humilitatem ancillae suae.
For He has regarded the lowliness of His handmaiden.
Ecce enim ex hoc beatam me dicent
Behold, from henceforth, I will be called blessed
by all generations.
Quia fecit mihi magna,
For the Mighty One has done
qui potens est, et sanctum nomen ejus.
great things for me, and holy is His name.
3. Et misericordia a progenie in progenies, timentibus eum.
His mercy is for those who fear Him from generation to generation.
4. Fecit potentiam in bracchio suo,
He has shown strength with His arm,
dispersit superbos mente cordis sui.
He has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
Deposuit potentes de sede et exaltavit humiles.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones and lifted up the lowly.
Esurientes implevit bonis,
He has filled the hungry with good things,
et divites dimisit inanes.
and sent the rich away empty.
Suscepit Israel puerum suum
He has helped His servant Israel
recordatus misericordie suae.
in remembrance of His mercy.
Sicut locutus est ad patres nostros,
According to the promise He made to our ancestors,
Abraham et semini eius in saecula.
to Abraham and to His descendants forever.
5. Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit
6. sicut erat in principio
as it was in the beginning,
et nunc et in saecula saeculorum,
is now, and for ever and ever,