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Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741)
Arie ritrovate - Alternate arias for the operas
La Verita in Cimento RV 739 (1720): Sarai qual padre mio; Se vinncer non si puo; Mi vuoi trader lo so. Scanderberg RV732 (1718): Con palme ed allori; S’a voi penso, o luci belle. Teuzzone RV 736 (1719): Per lacerarlo; Abbia respire il cor; Perche lacer oil foglio; vedi le mie catene; Alma mia frat anti affani. Tito Manlio RV 738-A (1719): Tu dormi in tante pene. Orlando Furioso RVRV Anh 84 (1714: Port ail sol del suo sembiante
Concerto per archi RV136; Concerto per violin RV 369
Sonia Prina (contralto)
Stefano Montanari (violin)
Academia Bizantina/Ottavio Dantone
rec. Museo nazionale, Ravenna, Italy, June 2007
includes texts and translations
NAIVE OP30443 [70:26]
Experience Classicsonline

Some two years ago I reviewed in these pages the Naive issue of Tito Manlio. It was performed by Academia Bizantina, on that occasion conducted by Ottavio Dantone, and I greatly enjoyed it (see review). Co-incidentally, and unluckily for my pocket, I happened to be working in London that summer when a certain record store had a series of special offers on the Naive’s Vivaldi edition.
The result? Over a period of about three months I added to my collection Griselda, La Verita in Cimento, L’Olympiade, Orlando finto pazzo and Orlando Furioso under, variously, Alessandrini, Spinosi and de Marche. I have never regretted this splurge and therefore was intrigued, to say the least, by the prospect of this CD of re-discovered arias.
Researcher and sleeve-note writer Frederic Delamea vividly describes the on-going investigations into Vivaldi’s manuscripts in the Biblioteca Nazionale of Turin as reminiscent of: “..opening secret drawers in antique furniture or hidden staircases in old palaces.”
The current issue brings to light a selection of these unpublished compositions, arias “...buried in anthologies made by Vivaldi himself or forgotten alternative(s) tucked away in the folds of opera scores”.
What unifies them is that most have not seen the light of day for some three centuries.
All of which rather begs the question: are they worth reviving? Having heard the results I’m inclined to believe that they are, albeit that not every one is a hidden masterpiece.
Instantly taken by what I perceived as the seductive lilt of “Se vincer non si puo” (tr. 2), I found on closer inspection the gist of the text: “if tears won’t do let blood be shed instead.” This is actually a bit gruesome and sure enough the aria ends with a deliciously off-key scrunch in the strings. In complete contrast the very next track “Mi vuoi trader lo” plunges us into a world of spasmodic rage, the brief middle section providing some relief, before being re-introduced to a hectic world of deceit and infidelity.
And so the anthology continues; rage, heroism and traitorous deeds interspersed with oases of calmer waters, praising sleep, love and the beautiful eyes of a beloved.
No fewer than five items come from “Teuzzone” the composer’s tenth opera, first heard during the Mantuan Carnival season in 1719. On the strength of this selection it’s a piece I’d very much like to hear complete ... if only perhaps to hear what replaced some of this excellent music in the published score.
Track 9 introduces us to “Abbia respire il cor – Allow your heart a moment’s respite” – doubly welcome since as soon as it concludes it is rapidly succeeded by “Perche lacer oil foglio” a rage aria of traitorous deeds par excellence! Indeed Frederic Delamea speculates that the aria didn’t make it to the first performance because it was simply too difficult to perform, being replaced by a more restrained extract from “Ottone in Villa”.
Teuzzone” also supplies the final item in the recital, “Alma mia frat anti affani – my soul amid so many troubles”. Well by this stage I was well and truly enchanted and any troubles I had seemed to be pushed into the far distance.
As well as the arias the compilers of the CD have introduced variety with the addition of two concertos - for violin and strings and for string ensemble - which exhibit the same expertise as the players provide in the accompaniments to the vocal pieces. That said, the engineers have picked up Stefano Montanari’s sniffing quite clearly in the slow movement of the solo concerto.
I must not conclude without mention of our excellent soloist Sonia Prina! She encompasses the various moods expertly, managing languor and warmth, as well as dealing with some fearsome passages of fast divisions with equal aplomb.
Incidentally, I see that there is a version of Teuzzone available (Brilliant Classics 93351) but if Naive have got Ms Prina booked I think it’ll be well worth the wait.
Ian Bailey


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