I was listening to Reinhard Keiser’s opera Croesus the other day. This is one of those fairly obscure baroque operas that is generally a lot of fun, although some parts of it I tend to skip when listening to it. This aria, Liebe, Sag’, Was Fangst Du An, is not one of those.
It’s sung by Elmira (Dorothea Röschmann in this case) right before she is presented with a young slave who looks exactly like her beloved, Atis. This is because he is Atis, but Elmira doesn’t know that yet. At this stage she is merely preoccupied with trying to anticipate how she will react to seeing the likeness of her young man.
The relationship between the B section (beginning about 2.24) and the A section in this aria strikes me as different from the way such things are often related in (for example) Handel’s operas, but it’s hard to pin down in what the difference consists. The mood change is more abrupt, as is the change back to the A section just after 3.00, and I expected the repeat of the A section to develop more than it does. But then again, abrupt mood changes are fairly characteristic of Elmira herself – and this opera is full of short-ish arias that you end up wanting slightly more of.