"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
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.
For the festivities marking the Pergolesi’s tercentenary in his native Jesi, Ignacio García created a new staging of the imperial drama Adriano in Siria. His staging in Jesi’s exquisite 18th-century Teatro Comunale Pergolesi includes the delightful comic intermezzo Livietta e Tracollo, thus following the precedent set at the premiere in 1734. A fine Italian cast and the distinguished Accademia Bizantina are led by the Accademia’s director, Ottavio Dantone.
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 The concerto RV283 also includes a previously unpublished cadenza from the notebook of Vivaldi’s protégé Anna Maria.
With The All-Baroque Box we realize one of our fondest dreams: harnessing the deep catalogue of Archiv Produktion (supplemented on occasion by Decca L oiseau lyre recordings) to create a comprehensive collection of great music from Monteverdi to Bach. The music ranges from huge Baroque (Missa Salisburgensis, Venetian polychoral, Charpentier Te Deum) to intimate Baroque (the Goldberg Variations, Bach cello suites, solo cantatas) overwhelming in its impact and emotional content.
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