Even in these enlightened, authentic-instrument, period-performance
days, Broschi's is not a well-known name. Several decades ago Marilyn
Horne recorded one of his arias for Decca. Now the young mezzo Vivica
Genaux, a Horne protégée, returns to the composer presenting,
in this sample release offered by Harmonia Mundi, an excerpt from a
forgotten opera by this (mostly) forgotten composer.
It's a dazzler, one of those "rise and shine" trumpet-and-rapid-division
vehicles that Horne, in her prime, used to revel in.
Genaux, who made her initial impression in Rossini
revivals, has been quoted as turning her interest to the baroque composers.
To judge from this single excerpt, her attention will be much to the
baroque's advantage. Hers is not a small, "authentic-performance" instrument
but, make no mistake, the size of her voice proves no limitation to
her agility. If, here and there, the roller coaster almost threatens
to go off the rails (Jacobs presses his soloist to honour the fierce
demands of the tempo as well as the wide tessitura), it never does.
In short, Genaux, whose timbre and vocal production
are somewhat reminiscent of Horne's in her youth, does her mentor proud
and shows herself a vocalist of achievement and even more potential.
Calvin M Goodwin