Spotlight: Aminta e Fillide (G.F. Handel)

In the tale of this cantata, Shepherd Aminta falls head over heels for the nymph Fillide who is seemingly indifferent to his flattery, until ‘the blind god’ (Cupid) arrives on the scene and manages to change Fillide’s mind.

George Frideric Handel Aminta e Fillide (Arresta il passo) HWV 83

Georgie Malcolm Aminta
Camilla Seale Fillide

Andrew Taheny, Georgina Finlayson  violins
Susanna Ward viola
Lucy Mcluckie cello
Maria Fernandez double bass
Philip Turner theorbo
Edward Campbell-Rowntree harpsichord


1. Overture
A pastoral scene.

2. Recitative (A)
Aminta pleads with Fillide to stop running from him.

3. Aria (A)
Stay, don’t flee! Let me die, rather. Observe my constancy, and if you will still be so harsh, cast me from your heart.

4. Recitative (A&F)
Aminta seeks Fillide’s listening ear, but Fillide tells him he’s behaving like a madman.

5. Aria (F)
A flame that changes its direction with the wind should be left to follow its path. If I cast you from my heart, look for love elsewhere.

6. Recitative (A&F)
Fillide asks Aminta to leave her in peace; she has never believed in love. Aminta begs to differ, seeing love sparkling in her eyes.

7. Aria (A)
One day Love will give you a fatal wound, and I’ll rejoice in your suffering.

8. Recitative (A&F)
Fillide assures Aminta that that will never happen, while he continues to exercise his powers of persuasion.

9. Aria (F)
Those who believe the fire of love brings happiness, jest; a heart free from love’s harsh chains goes delighting on its way.

10. Recitative (A&F)
Aminta explains that those pains can turn in a flash to the greatest pleasure. She admits his words are powerful but seeks to push him away still. Aminta can’t understand why she doesn’t return his love with equal fire.

11. Aria (A)
While wandering streams may break their silver flow on rocks, at last they come to rest happily in the sea; my flowing tears however find no heart to ease their pain.

12. Recitative (F)
Fillide feels the rising warmth of love and bids goodbye to peace.

13. Aria (F)
I feel Cupid piercing my breast; and my heart no longer refuses love.

14. Recitative (A)
Aminta is very pleased.

15. Aria (A)
My soul will be forever faithful to you. If Fillide loves me, the vindication of my fidelity is clear!

16. Recitative (F)
Fillide admits she’s enchained by Aminta, and discovers it’s actually a bit delicious.

17. Aria (F)
Love is a fire that penetrates the heart, but how? No one knows. It builds little by little, but finds nowhere to go, and consumes you.

18. Recitative (A&F)
Aminta rejoices at the sight of Fillide conquered and they vow faithfulness to each other.

19. Aria (A)
Those who love well needn’t fear; the ministers of contentment are constancy and fidelity.

20. Recitative (A&F)
They confirm their feelings. Aminta blows his own trumpet.

21. Aria (F)
No heart is happier than mine, and together our souls unite in one desire.

22. Recitative (A&F)
Isn’t this great?

23. Duet (A&F)
To break down the power of a pitiless heart, constancy is a strong shield, as is fidelity.
Look to the gods in heaven, who in our eyes may nourish hope of finding compassion.