MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around 2024
60,000 reviews
... and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             


Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

alternatively AmazonUK AmazonUS


Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741)
La VeritÓ in Cimento, RV 739 (1720)á Highlights (track details at foot of review)
Rosane – Gemma Bertagnoli (sop); Rustena – Guillemette Laurens (mezzo); Melindo – Sara Mingardo (contralto); Damira – Nathalie Stutzmann (contralto); Zelim – Philippe Jaroussky (counter-tenor); Mamud – Anthony Rolfe Johnson (tenor)
Ensemble Matheus/Jean-Christophe Spinosi
rec. Sept. 2000, Abbaye de Daoulas, France
Notes and plot summary in French and English, texts in Italian, French and English.
NA¤VE OP30452 [66:36] 
Experience Classicsonline

This CD has all the usual advantages and disadvantages of operatic highlight discs, which are pretty obvious and needn’t be elaborated here. Suffice it to say that if you want to come to something like a full appreciation of La veritÓ in cimento (‘Truth put to the test’ or an ‘Truth on trial’) you will need to hear the full version from which these extracts are taken. It’s still available as a 3 CD set on NA¤VE 30365. If you simply want to relish the joy of some astonishing singing and playing, or want to understand why the operas released in The Vivaldi Edition have generated so much passionate enthusiasm, then this single disc would be a good place to start.

And how this disc itself starts! In the three movements of the Sinfonia Jean-Christophe Spinosi and the Ensemble Mattheus produce playing of astonishing forcefulness, in which the gut-stringed basses and cellos attack the accented notes with startling force; one suspects that audiences in baroque opera houses sometimes went as much for social as musical purposes (when were things ever otherwise?), but the audience in the Teatro San Angelo in Venice for the first night of this opera in 1720 must surely have had their attention very firmly gripped by the opening bars of this sinfonia. And it is hard to imagine that their attention flagged very often in what followed. 

The opera has as convoluted a plot as many of its fellows, this time revolving around the complicated consequences of a substitution made some years previously, when Mamud, the Sultan of Cambaja, fathered two sons, one on his wife the Sultane (Rustena) and one on his mistress Damira. Born on the same day, for all the years since the illegitimate son (Melindo) has passed as the legitimate heir and vice-versa. Now, the Sultan wants to reveal the truth, but the complications of love and jealousy make it difficult, to put it mildly, for him to do so. Eventually all is sorted out, primarily through the magnanimity of Zelim, the Sultan’s legitimate son. 

The plot gives rise to plenty of occasions for the expression of a variety of emotions – love and hope, jealousy and scorn, anger and generosity of spirit. At every turn Vivaldi (and his librettist Giovanni Palazzi) rise to the occasion. The performers here relish every emotional twist and turn and respond with uniform bravura. Gemma Bertagnolli sings with great vivacity and ravishing coloratura; Sara Mingardo brings a rich expressiveness to the role of Melindo and Guillemette Laurens is memorable in her Act I aria ‘Fragil fior, ch’appena nasce’. Philippe Jaroussky – less well known at the time of this recording than he is now – sings with an astonishing purity of voice and grace of line. Nathalie Stutzmann comes close to stealing the show as Damira, expressing the text with marvellous venom and vehemence, creating in every way a character with whom few would be in a hurry to tangle, her performance of ‘Lagrimette alle pupille’ in Act III a virtuoso display of vocal control and, simultaneously, a wonderful piece of characterisation. Anthony Rolfe Johnson dazzles less, but brings great judgement and a shrewdness of psychological perception to his portrayal of the Sultan Mamud. There are, in short, absolutely no weak links in a marvellous cast. The interplay of voices in two ensemble arias, the trio ‘Aure placide, e serene’ in Act I and the quintet ‘Anima mia, mio ben’ on Act II gives the lie to the charge that is sometimes made, that Vivaldi can only write for soloists. In ‘Aure placide’, indeed, there are early glimmerings (in miniature) of the kind of thing that Mozart and da Ponte were later to bring to perfection, as Rosane, Zelim and Melindo express contrasting emotions in musical lines which are beautifully synthesised. 

Vivaldi’s orchestral writing is a constant source of delight too – the brass held back until Act III and wonderfully potent on their arrival – especially as interpreted by Spinosi and the Ensemble Matheus. Spinosi may be a bit on the melodramatic or exaggerated side for some tastes, but I confess to finding him utterly persuasive in this music. A vivid recorded sound adds yet more lustre to the whole.

Glyn Pursglove 

Track Details
Sinfonia [4:08]
Act I:
Mi fŔ reo l’amor d’un figlio [4:12]
Solo quella guancia bella [2:08]
Tu m’offendi [5:49]
Se l’acquisto di quell Soglio [3:31]
Fragil fior, ch’appena nasce [3:37]
Aure placide, e serene [3:07]
Mi vuoi tradir, lo so [3:26]
Amato ben tu sei la mia speranza [6:31]
Act II:
Un tenero affetto [4:17]
Anima mia, mio ben [3:59]
Act III:
Crudele, tu brami [4:06]
Quando serve alla ragione [3:29]
Lagrimete alle pupille [3:46]
Cara sorte di chi nata [3:47]
Con cento, e cento baci [2:52]
Sia conforto alle tue piaghe [2:59]
Doppo I nimbi, e le procelle [1:09]




Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing




Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Past and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Return to Review Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.