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Arias For Farinelli
Riccardo BROSCHI (c. 1701-1756):

Dall'amor più sventurato -Orfeo (Porpora). Ombra fedele anch'io. Qual guerriero in campo armato - Idaspe (Broschi). Mancare oh Dio mi sento - Adriano in Siria (Giacomelli). Concerto in C minor (Galluppi). Oh volesser gli Dei... Dolci freschi aurette - Polifemo (Porpora). Or la nube procellosa (Porpora / Hasse). Per questo dolce amplesso Artaserse (Hasse). Quell'usignolo - Merope (Giacomelli).

Vivica Genaux (mezzo-soprano)
Akademie fur Alte Musik (Berlin)
Rene Jacobs, conductor
DDD
HARMONIA MUNDI SP 068 [7'45"]


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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


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