Henry Purcell: Thrice happy lovers – Drew Minter

from The Fairy Queen (Z.629), 1692

Drew Minter – countertenor
Mitzi Meyerson – harpsichord

Why this music? Because I like it.
Why these pictures? Because it happened five years ago.


Thrice happy lovers,
May you be for ever, ever free
From the tormenting devil, Jealousy;
From all the anxious cares and strife
That attends a married life.
Thrice happy lovers,
May you be for ever, ever free.
Be to one another true,
Kind to her as she’s to you.
And since the errors of the night are past,
May he be ever constant, she be ever chaste.


This «Epithalamium» is sung at the beginning of the Act V masque by Juno, who has just descended in a heavenly chariot drawn by peacocks, at the behest of Oberon who wants to exhibit his magical powers. «While a Symphony plays, the Machine (the mechanism propelling the chariot) moves forward, and the Peacocks spread their tails, and fill the middle of the Theatre», according to the stage directions. This was one of the most famous of all the extravaganzas produced on the stage of Dorset Garden Theatre in that period.

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