"The Accademia Bizantina under conductor and keyboardist Ottavio Dantone is one of a number of young Italian historical-instrument groups that have been revolutionizing the world of Baroque instrumental music performance. (…) The fugues are fast, intense, and dramatic, with wide dynamic range gaining momentum toward a climax. Perhaps the most satisfying of all are the cello sonatas under the care of Baroque cellist Mauro Valli, you get the feeling in the slow movements that you're hearing the Baroque cello, still an acquired taste for many listeners, take on its proper sound as its bendable tones connect with highly expressive lines. An excellent release…" ~AMG
Despite the popularity of works such as The Four Seasons and La Stravaganza, many of Vivaldi’s 250 concertos for violin remain largely unknown. The new recordings of the concertos RV 187 and 281 are based on Vivaldi’s original manuscript scores and capture the thrilling spontaneity of his compositional style. The concerto RV283 also includes a previously unpublished cadenza from the notebook of Vivaldi’s protégé Anna Maria.
'L’incoronazione di Dario' must be considered one of Vivaldi’s most successful operas. Immediately opening with exceptional arias, it moves at a rapid pace, holding the listener’s attention throughout. Recitatives are interspersed with arioso interludes and there no less than eight 'big' numbers sure to join the ranks of 'Vivaldi’s best opera arias'. The excellent cast acts out this drama with conviction: Anders Dahlin’s sings Dario, with impeccable intonation and stunning coloratura passages; Sara Mingardo, as Statira, brings great depth and beauty, most especially in her Act 2 solo Cantata accompanied only by viola da gamba. Delphine Galou sings with an impressive natural ability and passion and two of her arias in particular are sure to remain benchmarks: 'D’un bel viso' and 'Ferri, ceppi, sangue, morte'; Roberta Mameli, Riccardo Novaro, Sophia Soloviy and Lucia Cirillo are all excellent and each of them has at least one star aria. Ottavio Dantone’s conducting is marked by his ability to bring out the many subtilties in this music and by his profound understanding of recitativos which he is able to bring fully to life as theatre.
Despite the popularity of works such as The Four Seasons and La Stravaganza, many of Vivaldi’s 250 concertos for violin remain largely unknown. The new recordings of the concertos RV 187 and 281 are based on Vivaldi’s original manuscript scores and capture the thrilling spontaneity of his compositional style. The concerto RV283 also includes a previously unpublished cadenza from the notebook of Vivaldi’s protégé Anna Maria. Very much a man of the 21st Century, Giuliano Carmignola combines his passion for the baroque with his love of motorcycling, which he calls, “Vivaldi con moto - motion and emotion from a MOTOcyclist-musician.”
Most of Vivaldi's operas were composed for Venice, but between 1718 and 1720, he was in the employ the Austrian governor of Mantua, and he composed Tito Manlio for the governor's wedding celebration. The wedding never took place, but the opera was performed in 1719. The Mantuan court was very wealthy, and this is clear from the lavish scoring of Manlio: in addition to the usual strings, Vivaldi uses horns, trumpets, oboes, bassoon, two different registers of flutes, timpani and viola d'amore. The plot is concerned with Tito, the leader of the Romans, and his battles with the Latins, led by Gemino, whose sister, Servilia, was engaged to Manlio, Tito's son. Gemino was engaged to Tito's daughter, Vitellia. Manlio goes on a reconnaissance mission to the Latins and kills Gemino despite his father's instructions not to do so; Tito therefore sentences Manlio to death. Interwoven loves and angers make for emotion-laden arias, many with superb obbligato instruments. Bass Nicola Ulivieri is a powerful Tito, and soprano Karina Gauvin sings with great heart as his son, Manlio, while mezzo Maijana Mijanovic's Vitellia offers a full-range of feelings and superb singing, both plaintive and vengeful. The rest of the cast is fine, and Ottavio Dantone leads a crisp, dramatic performance. There are acres of good music here. Highly recommended, and a feast for Vivaldi fans. –Robert Levine
The 2010 Jesi production is conscious of the complexity of Flaminio for all its seeming simplicity and cleverly exploits the suggestive milieu of the Teatro Valeria Moriconi, in particular its shape and relatively small scale. Without any attempt at realism, (the main action takes place “in a villa on the outskirts of the city of Naples, complete with hunting lodge, etc.”, but just a handful of props to symbolise the bucolic atmosphere), the production concentrates on establishing a kind of meta-theatrical relationship to this repertoire work which sets out to highlight the interweaving and overlayering of truth and fiction, passion and irony, tragedy and comedy.
Senesino, the voice that inspired Handel's greatest operas showpiece arias by Handel, Lotti, Albinoni, Porpora and Scarlatti. One of the truly outstanding voices of today, star countertenor Andreas Scholl celebrates one of the 18th Century's greatest vocal superstars, the remarkable male alto known as Senesino. Senesino's place in history was secured by his extraordinary association with Handel, who after travelling to Dresden to hear him, brought him to London to join his Italian Opera Company, where he was greatly celebrated by the public, and much admired by the ladies. Inspired by this unique singer, Handel wrote for him a dazzling succession of operatic roles which showcased the beauty and power of his extraordinary vocal personality. Scholl's exquisite voice, beloved of critics and audiences, pure, penetrating, virtuosic and deeply characterful, is a remarkable match for the voice of Senesino.