Antonio VIVALDI (1678–1741) Heroes – Opera arias Orlando finto pazzo (RV 727):
Se in ogni sguardo [03:11] Giustino (RV 717): Vedrò con mio diletto [05:11] Ottone in villa (RV 729):
Frema pur, si lagni Roma [04:24] L'Olimpiade (RV 725):
Mentre dormi amor fomenti [07:42] Tito Manlio (version 1719; RV 738):
Vanne perdida va – Fra le procelle, rec & aria [05:04] Andromeda liberata (RV deest):
Sovente il sole [09:23] Demofoonte (RV deest):
Sperai vicino il lido [05:36] Giustino (RV 717):
Deh perché – Bel riposo de'mortali [04:15] Il Tigrane (RV 740):
Farà la mia spada [02:44] Tieteberga (RV 737):
Sento in seno ch'in pioggia di lagrime [04:06] Orlando furioso (version 1714; RV Anh 84):
Cara sposa [02:41] Farnace (version 1738; RV 711):
Perdona, o figlio amato [06:29] Orlando finto pazzo (RV 727):
Alla rosa ruggiadosa [02:22]
Ensemble Matheus/Jean-Christophe Spinosi (violin)
rec. July 2006, Auditorium de l'Ecole Nationale de Musique,
de Danse et d'Art dramatique in Brest, France. DDD VIRGIN
CLASSICS 3634142 [63:15]
About ten years ago a disc like this
would not have been possible. Vivaldi had only just been rediscovered
as a composer of
operas, and most of them were not available in modern editions.
When opera singers were looking for baroque repertoire for
their recitals their attention went to the many operas by
Handel. Today a number of Vivaldi's operas are available
on disc, and they enjoy an increasing popularity among music-lovers
and interpreters alike. More and more share the view of the
Venetian nobleman Abbé Antonio Conti - quoted in the booklet – who,
in a letter, praised Vivaldi's opera arias as being "varied
both in … sublime and tender passages". This is the
basic idea behind this disc by artists who have a vast experience
in performing Vivaldi’s theatrical works.
The fact that for a long time Vivaldi went unrecognized as an
important composer of operas is not as strange as it may seem.
reason is to be found in what we now know about his output
in this genre. Even in his own time his reputation was first
and foremost based on his instrumental works. In fact, Vivaldi
was already 35 years of age, when his first opera, Ottone
in villa, was performed in 1713. But from that moment forward
he "produced a series of masterworks that make his one
of the most important and prolific opera composers of the
era"; this according to Frédéric Delaméa in the booklet.
On the basis of this and other recordings of arias from the
operas one can only agree. That said, an opera is more than
a collection of arias. Although I don't know all of Vivaldi's
operas, those I have heard have failed to convince me that
his dramatic development is equal to – in particular – Handel.
I also think that Vivaldi's arias are more interesting because
of the instrumental parts rather than the vocal lines. There
can be no doubt, though, that most arias on this disc are
exceptionally fine in this regard as well.
In the baroque era it was common to give the leading roles
to a high voice, be it a soprano or an alto. Those roles
sung by castratos, and so are most arias on this disc. One
exception is mentioned in the booklet: 'Mentre dormi amor
fomenti' from L'Olimpiade (track 4) was written for a female
contralto. It has to be added, though, that Vivaldi didn't
care that much about what was common use, as he also wrote
some virtuosic arias for bass, when a particularly fine singer
crossed his path: see the disc 'Arie per basso', with Lorenzo
Regazzo and Concerto Italiano on Naïve – OP 30415.
The arias on this disc range from sublime to tender, as the
quotation by Abbé Conti indicates. The first and last items
are from the same opera, 'Orlando finto pazzo': 'Se in ogni
is a virtuosic bravura aria, whereas 'Alla rosa ruggiadosa'
depicts bees flitting from one flower to another, symbolizing
love directed from one woman to another. In between are other,
often remarkable, examples of Vivaldi's ability to illustrate
an idea or a mood in music. 'Fra le procelle' from 'Tito
Manlio' is about the title character being rescued from a
storm at sea. The instrumental accompaniment shows strong
similarity to the concerto 'La Tempesta di Mare'. Comparable
with this aria is 'Sperai vicino il lido' from 'Demofoonte',
written to a libretto by Metastasio, although it isn't absolutely
clear that Vivaldi did compose the whole opera. Only a few
passages have been preserved.
Many operas in the baroque era contained rage arias as well as sleep
arias. 'Bel riposo de' mortali' from 'Giustino' belongs to
the latter category. It is an aria of supreme beauty: the
singer has a very fine and delicate line, with long-held
notes on 'dolce sonne' (sweet sleep), and the instruments
(muted strings, two recorders and two oboes, playing a siciliano
marked 'andante') depict the protagonist drifting off. One
of the most brilliant pieces is the aria 'Sovente il sole'
from 'Andromeda liberata', a serenata with contributions
by several composers. Here it is not just the solo part which
makes a great impression, but also the obbligato part for
As I have said, both singer and ensemble are experienced interpreters
of Vivaldi's operatic oeuvre. In most items on this disc
they give exceptionally good performances, displaying all
the inherent qualities of Vivaldi's music. Philippe Jaroussky
has a refined and delicate voice, which results in the tender
arias faring better by far. It is the subtle side of Vivaldi's
compositional art that seems to fit him specifically well.
The more virtuoso arias are done pretty well too, and I was
pleased to hear that Jaroussky sings the lowest notes of
'Sperai vicino al lido' mentioned above with his chest register,
making them all the more dramatic. I also liked his rhythmic
freedom in the couple of recitatives which precede some arias
on his disc. Only in some arias, like the first on this disc,
I felt that his voice is a little too light and fragile to
be convincing. In those pieces I would have liked a more
'muscular' and extraverted performance.
On the whole this is a very impressive recital of some of Vivaldi's
finest opera arias. The playing of the orchestra is colourful
and vivid, and shows a great feeling for Vivaldi's operatic
style. Every reason to recommend this disc, not just to the
many admirers of Philippe Jaroussky.
see also review by Jonathan
Woolf (February 2007 Recording of
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