Over 40 composers set this Metastasian libretto and Galuppi’s comes from 1760, one of his late forays into opera seria. Much trimming and shifting around was done to arias and recitatives and while the result is, of course, nowhere near as compelling as Mozart was to prove, this remains a valuable document of a genre in gentle decline.
A 2012 live recording of Baldassarre Galuppis Il Filosofo di Campagna. Born on an island in the Venice lagoon, Galuppi was an intensely prolific and highly esteemed composer of the Venetian Baroque era. His works included sacred music, sacred and profane cantatas, instrumental works, oratorios and operas, many of which are comic. Among the latter, of particular importance are those born of his collaboration with Carlo Goldoni. The deeply Venetian aspects of Goldoni and Galuppi together created a body of 18th century comic opera of which Il Filosofo di Campagna (The Country Philosopher) is arguably Galuppis best known. With the Ensemble Barocco della Filarmonica del Veneto led by Fabrizio da Ros and a pan-European cast of young singers mount a lively production.
Venetian composer Baldassare Galuppi’s reputation rests principally on his pioneering series of comic operas. But, trained by Antonio Lotti, Galuppi was also a keyboard player of distinction who served at the court of Catherine the Great in St Petersburg. Twelve keyboard sonatas were published during his lifetime, but Hedda Illy’s catalogue lists over 100 and reveals that Galuppi not only inherited the brilliance and panache of Domenico Scarlatti but anticipated the expressive writing of Mozart. The first volume in Matteo Napoli’s series (8.572263) was commended as “a good choice for connoisseurs of 18th century keyboard music.”
Commissioned for the coronation of Leopold II in Prague, Mozart’s last opera is a deep, humane reflection on relationships, power and forgiveness. With the composition of some of the most beautiful passages in his oeuvre, Mozart has succeeded in giving this opera seria both a noble sobriety and transparent instrumentation, to which this commanding production by the Herrmann partnership does full justice on all levels. Susan Graham’s most extraordinary Sesto and Christoph Prégardien’s superb Tito set the standard for this riveting Opéra national de Paris performance, conducted by the outstanding Sylvain Cambreling.
…The story is a historical fiction centering on the failed assassination plot against the Roman Emperor Titus Vespasiano (Tito) by his childhood best friend Sextus (Sesto) and Sesto’s ambitious girlfriend Vitellia (whose father was killed in the power struggle that put Tito on top)… and how Tito deals with this treason. There are some complications along the way as Tito keeps getting rejected by the women he proposes marriage to; first Berenice, and then Sesto’s sister Servilia (who wants to marry Sesto’s best-friend Annio instead), before finally settling on Vitellia (after she had already set in motion the assassination attempt)…
On the heels of the recent excellent Clemenza DVD from Opus Arte, comes this DGG DVD of a beautiful film of the opera directed by Jean-Pierre Ponnelle. It was filmed on location in Rome at the Baths of Caracalla, the Arch of Titus and at the Villa Adriana in Tivoli from 10 May-16 June 1980 with the sound recording made in Vienna at Wien-Film 6-12 May 1980. Ponnelle favored singers lip synching their arias so that they might concentrate on acting, thus improving the dramatic aspect of opera. It seems to work here. Clemenza, more than most Mozart operas, relies on lengthy expository recitatives to further the story. These recitatives, as is well known, were not written by Mozart but by his assistants, probably Sussmayr. Slightly less effective as they are, any dramatic enhancements are an improvement…
‘The 5 Countertenors’ draws together five of the world’s most renowned countertenors, who bring the rich world of baroque opera to life.
Described in their heyday as “beyond all creatures upon earth.” (William Congreve, 1700), countertenors are once again firmly established on concert platforms, opera stages, the covers of music magazines - and the subjects of heated on-line debate and of fan-pages on social media.
These world-class performers showcase the expressive variety of this unique genre. This album also celebrates the individuality of each singer’s voice and in turn the art of the countertenor. The countertenors are accompanied by the brilliant, ECHO-Klassik winning baroque group, Armonia Atenea, under George Petrou.
“This eighteenth-century premonition of The Mikado is a delight…The cast is good, though there's only one star: Anna Maria Panzarella (Agnesina) does the tomboy thing terribly well and as she falls in love it's not just her costumes and the music which become more feminine, it's also her acting and singing…'L'inimico delle donne is very simply filmed…You really feel you are there. And it's where I want to be. A delight from start to finish.”International Record Review, January 2012
Between 1990 and 2000 Ilario Gregoletto recorded four CDs of harpsichord sonatas by Baldassare Galuppi (1706-85) for the small Italian label Rivoalto. Newton Classics now reissues the discs together as a budget-priced set. The booklet notes are not completely clear in regard to the sonatas’ numbering, apart from mention of cataloging systems by Hedda Illy and Fausto Torrefranca. In any event, all but one of these 25 sonatas follow a three-movement scheme, and each is marvelously varied in mood and texture.