Claudio MONTEVERDI (1567 - 1643)
1. Si dolce è ‘l tormento [4:07]
Francesco CAVALLI (1602 - 1676)
2. Instrumental [3:27]
Claudio MONTEVERDI ? Benedetto FERRARI (1603 - 1681)
? Francesco CAVALLI ?
L’incoronazione di Poppea
3. Pur ti miro [4:25]
Francesco PROVENZALE (1624 - 1704)
4. Squarciato appena havea [10:48]
L’incoronazione di Poppea
5. Signor, oggi rinasco [5:22]
6. Instrumental [2:18]
Luigi ROSSI (1598 - 1653)
7. Lamento de la regina di Suezia [10:32]
8. Vivo per te [1:44]
9. Dolcissimi baci [6:34]
10. Sinfonia [5:20]
11. Doriclea lamento [6:42]
Il ritorno de’Ulisse in patria
12. Di misera regina [10:06]
Anne Sofie von Otter (mezzo)
Sandrine Piau (soprano) (3, 5, 9), Susanna Sundberg (contralto) (12)
Ensemble Cappella Mediterranea/Leonardo García Alarcón
rec. January 2012. Gävle Konserthus, Sweden
Sung texts with translations in French, English and German enclosed
NAÏVE V 5286 [71:00]
Some years ago Anne Sofie von Otter went back to where she began her solo career,
as a Bach singer. That highly successful album obviously whetted her appetite
for baroque, since this is the third disc of such repertoire. Seventeenth century
Italian baroque is a far cry from eighteenth century Bach but with von Otter’s
sure sense for style that’s not a problem. Monteverdi and Cavalli were
probably the two greatest 17th century opera composers and whether
they co-operated on L’incoronazione di Poppea is open to debate.
Even Ferrari is suggested as a possible collaborator. Whoever penned the famous
final duet was inspired and this is, by the side of Dido’s lament from
Dido and Aeneas, the best known opera melody from the whole century.
Luigi Rossi composed only two operas, one of them based on the Orpheus myth,
but his fame today rests largely on the Lamento recorded here. Francesco
Provenzale is the newcomer on this disc. He seems to have been the first Neapolitan
composer to write an opera. The piece here is an isolated scena, but it is a
lovely piece with thrilling dance rhythms (tarantella!) and exotic instrumentation
and if his operas are of the same calibre they are worth reviving. Anne Sofie
von Otter is as always expressive and in ebullient mood. The disc is worth buying
for this piece alone. The Rossi lament describes the pain and desperation of
the Queen of Sweden upon learning that her husband, Gustavus II Adolphus had
been killed during the battle of Lützen in 1632, during the Thirty Years’
War. 380 years later the music and the words grab you by the throat and von
Otter sings it with total identification. She is not afraid of sacrificing beauty
of tone for dramatic and psychological truth. I have never heard a better reading.
We meet another sad queen in Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria, Penelope,
who is waiting for Ulysses to return from Troy. This is Monteverdi at his best
and von Otter is magnificent. I wish she would record the complete opera. Susanna
Sundberg’s dark contralto is briefly heard as Eurycleia.
The three duets with Sandrine Piau are also highlights, the voices blending
beautifully and both singers are so sensitive to nuances. You can’t expect
to hear better baroque singing.
There are also three instrumental pieces from Cavalli’s Elena.
They are full of beauty and colour.
The Ensemble Cappella Mediterranea, founded in 2005, by its conductor, Leonardo
Garcia Alarcón, is a splendid band, specializing in ‘the aesthetic
ideals of the great composers of southern Europe’. The recording made,
surprisingly, in Gävle in central Sweden, is excellent and the disc is
a must for baroque enthusiasts.
A must for baroque enthusiasts.