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Jaroussky: Caldara in Vienna, Forgotten Castrato Arias (FLAC)

Jaroussky: Caldara in Vienna, Forgotten Castrato Arias (FLAC)
Jaroussky: Caldara in Vienna, Forgotten Castrato Arias (FLAC)

Orchestra: Concerto Köln
Conductor: Emanuelle Haim
Composer: Antonio Caldara
Audio CD
Number of Discs: 1
Format: FLAC (tracks)
Label: Virgin Classics
Size: 359 MB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: yes

01. L’Olimpiade – Aria. Lo seguitai felice
02. Demofoonte – Aria. Misero pargoletto
03. La clemenza di Tito – Recitativo. Numi assistenza
04. La clemenza di Tito – Aria. Opprimete i contumaci
05. L’Olimpiade – Aria. Mentre dormi amor fomenti (Licida)
06. Temistocle -Aria. Non tremar vassallo indegno
07. La clemenza di Tito – Aria. Se mai senti spirarti sul volto
08. Scipione nelle Spagne – Aria. Se mai senti spirarti sul volto
09. Ifigenia in Aulide – Aria. Tutto fa nocchiero
10. Adriano in Siria – Aria. Tutti nemici e rei
11. Lucio Papirio dittatore – Recitativo. Son io Fabio?
12. Lucio Pairio dittatore – Aria. Troppo è insoffribile fiero martir
13. Temistocle – Aria. Contrasto assai più degno
14. Enone – Aria. Vado, o sposa
15. Achille in Sciro

Intact Artistic Integrity …

This is as artful a recital of Baroque opera arias as I’ve ever heard; the fact that most or possibly all of them were composed for castrati is totally incidental to the quality of the music and of the singing. I can’t imagine what more could be expected of a performance, assuming you have any taste for Baroque opera. Philippe Jaroussky is a specialist in the ‘Italian’ vocal techniques needed for 17th and early 18th C operas. To desire him to sing ‘trouser roles’ from the operas of Mozart and later composers is an absurd idea. Jaroussky isn’t the only male soprano in the world of ‘Early Music’ these days and countertenors are no longer a novelty, but Jaroussky’s mastery of inflection and his adroit use of dynamics set him apart from most others. The common assertion that countertenors are “hooty” and less expressive than women singers of the same range simply doesn’t apply to Jaroussky. He can do anything that the best women sopranos can do, yet there’s a distinctive masculine timbre to his voice. On this CD, Jaroussky is as spectacular as always, and for once the assertive conducting of Emmanuelle Haim serves both the music and the singer well. Concerto Köln has never played more incisely and expressively. This is a five-star-plus CD, a thrilling recital that will bear up to many listenings.

Antonio Caldara was just a little older than Handel, and followed the well-worn path through Rome, through the patronage of Cardinal Ruspoli, but then moved to Barcelona and finally Vienna as the great favorite of the Habsburg Charles. He wrote over 60 operas, none of which are available on DVD currently, so this CD is the closest you can get to his work. As an opera composer, judging by the arias here and by a few peeks at his scores, he was in no way inferior to Handel. The arias on this CD come from eleven of his operas, all in Italian, most of them with texts by the two most acclaimed librettists of the era, Apostolo Zeno and “Metastasio,” whose works were still in fashion as late as Rossini. Full texts and translations are included. “L’Olimpiade” was also set by Vivaldi, Ifigenia in Aulide by Gluck, and La Clemenza di Tito by Mozart, with some revisions. The variety of affect among these arias is truly astonishing, from despair to rage to ecstasy to mockery, and Jaroussky captures all of them.

Would you like to end 2010 with a CD worthy of the whole decade? This is one. If 2011 affords us even just a few recordings this fine, it’ll be a ‘Happy New Year’ indeed.

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