On February 24 1711, the curtain at the Haymarket theater went up for 'Rinaldo,' the first opera George Frideric Handel produced for London. It had a libretto by Giacomo Rossi, based on a somewhat mangled outline of Tasso's epic poem of the Crusades, 'Gerusalemme Liberata,' which had been prepared by impresario Aaron Hill with the aim of allowing for as many special machinery effects as possible. Handel clearly wanted to impress London, for his sparkling music contained liberal borrowings from some of his best recent scores. While many changes and cuts were made up to the time of Handel1s final revision in 1731, this recording attempts as much as possible to return to the version that would have been heard in the first London production. Though there are no featured castrati, the cast is strong and youthfully vigorous, with David Daniels in the title role and the radiant Cecilia Bartoli as his betrothed, Almirena. Christopher Hogwood leads an altogether bracing performance, drawing beautifully atmospheric sounds from the Academy of Ancient Music.
The ever-increasing popularity of Handel and his contemporaries, and their employment of alto castratos, has encouraged the development of countertenors capable of similar vocal feats to the original interpreters of the heroic roles in these works. Among these the distinguished American, David Daniels, who burst on to the scene here a couple of years ago at Glyndebourne in Theodora, is a leading contender. If I would place Scholl in the category of Deller and Esswood, with their luminous, soft-grained tone, Daniels is closer to the more earthy sound of Bowman, his voice — like Bowman's — astonishingly large in volume.
The ever-increasing popularity of Handel and his contemporaries, and their employment of alto castratos, has encouraged the development of countertenors capable of similar vocal feats to the original interpreters of the heroic roles in these works. Among these the distinguished American, David Daniels, who burst on to the scene here a couple of years ago at Glyndebourne in Theodora, is a leading contender. If I would place Scholl in the category of Deller and Esswood, with their luminous, soft-grained tone, Daniels is closer to the more earthy sound of Bowman, his voice — like Bowman's — astonishingly large in volume.– Gramophone [11/1998]
This disc is a tour de force, a world premiere recording of stunning music splendidly performed. The unjustly obscure Antonio Maria Bononcini was appointed late in life to be maestro di cappella in Modena, a post which allowed him to pour his store of invention into two grand sacred works, a Mass and a Stabat Mater. Conductor Rinaldo Alessandrini engages deeply with the composer’s imagination, opening up his dense counterpoint and delicately binding together his vocal and obbligato lines. The musical rhetoric of the Concerto Italiano is spellbinding, particularly when band and singers heighten gestures to surge powerfully towards a passage’s final cadence. However heated their delivery becomes – and the Stabat Mater does sizzle – the artists never rush. This is particularly crucial for bringing out Bononcini’s modulations and textures, which, because they shift rapidly, need space to breathe.
This is a reissue of a recording that was previously issued by Nuova Era and Mondo Musica. It allows us to hear Marilyn Horne in one of her signature roles, and it was presumably for her that this production was mounted at Venice’s La Fenice. Horne’s performance is what one would expect; she tosses off the coloratura with ease, and her performance is very assured. Her colleagues provide generally good support. Gasdia does not make as strong an impression as some of her recorded competition as Almirena, but her singing is technically assured.
Skin-tight rubber and lacrosse sticks bring contemporary chic to this timeless fantasy of warriors and witches in Robert Carsen's fun-filled transformation of Handel's first London triumph. Conducting from the keyboard just as Handel himself did, Ottavio Dantone leads a youthful cast of today's luminaries in the dramatic art of Baroque opera, the 'affecting' Sonia Prina, the 'unadorned intensity' of Anett Fritsch and 'fire-breathing flair' (The Observer) of Brenda Rae.
The music for harpsichord has been considered an inexplicable chance occurrence in Alessandro Scarlatti's output, and in assessing it, we should avoid unfair and unappropriate comparisons with the work of his exceptionally gifted son. Alessandro's cultural background was quite different and very precise in the way it affected keyboard music: Frescobaldi was the first in a series of figures who are known to a greater or lesser extent today and whose teaching came down to Scarlatti in a solid stylistic tradition. Pasquini, his extremely diligent and prolific contemporary, the last of the line, was strongly motivated by his patron, the Prince Borghese in writing harpsichord music. Alessandro also wished to try his hand in this area. 250th Anniversary Release. On the occasion of the 350th anniversary of Alessandro Scarlatti's birth (Palermo, 2 May 1660), Arcana is re-releasing this anthology of toccatas and fugues by the elder Scarlatti, father of the better-known Domenico.
"L’Inimico delle Donne" which means someone who doesn’t like women, is an opera written by Galuppi in 1771. He was very well-known at this time but when he died, suddenly his works disappeared from the stages. Among them ”L’Inimico delle Donne” disappeared so well that nobody knew it existed. Hence it has never been played since its first venue in Venice in 1771. Some years ago its manuscript was found in Lisbon and Royal Opéra de Wallonie decided to recreate and to stage it.
Monteverdi was only 23 when he published his Second Book of Madrigals in 1590, but he was already a master of the form, and these contrapuntally lively pieces, with their supple and astute text setting, are crowning works of late Renaissance secular polyphony. With this release of the Second Book, Rinaldo Alessandrini moves closer to his goal of recording all of Monteverdi's eight Books of Madrigals, performed by Concerto Italiano, the ensemble he founded in 1984. The series has received much-deserved critical acclaim; three of the releases won Gramophone Awards, and this 1994 recording won a Diapason d'Or. Concerto Italiano is a group whose roster is flexible, based on the requirements of the music performed, and here seven unaccompanied singers configure themselves in a variety of combinations in the five-part madrigals.