Pamela Dellal, mezzo soprano


uncommon intelligence, imagination and textual awareness...



Motet Notes

Henry Purcell: The Blessed Virgin's Expostulation

The Blessed Virgin's Expostulation is undoubtedly inspired by Monteverdi's famous Lamento D’Arianna. Published in Henry Purcell’s collection of sacred solo vocal works Harmonia Sacra, it expands on a small scene in Luke Chapter II, when the twelve-year-old Jesus is inadvertently left behind in Jerusalem by Joseph and Mary.  The text presents a doubtful, passionate, and very human Mary who, in her terror at her Son's absence, even wonders whether her vision of the Archangel Gabriel was only a "waking dream."  The episodes of dance meter punctuating the highly expressive recitative sections are elements of Italian monody, transformed by Purcell into a unique scena that suggests sacred opera.

© Pamela Dellal