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.
The opera is starring countertenor Valer Sabadus - one of opera's most exciting newcomers - now exclusively signed to Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, a division of Sony Classical. Christoph Willibald Gluck, widely known for fundamentally reforming the 'opera seria' wrote some of the greatest and exemplary masterpieces of this great genre before he started his famous reform of the opera. This makes this work a fascinating and enlightening piece in the puzzle for the evolution of opera and the eminent character Gluck. Gluck's setting of La Clemenza was first performed in Naples in 1752, ten years before his first reform opera.
Premiered not very successfully, in Prague on September 6th 1791, La Clemenza di Tito had turned into a considerable triumph within a month and was the first Mozart opera to be heard in London in 1806. The opera celebrates one man’s wisdom and regal benevolence and his struggle to maintain clemency no matter what the provocation. Vitellia, daughter of the deposed Emperor, believes the title of Empress to be hers by right of birth. Despite her love for Tito she seeks revenge when he plans to marry another. A dreadful conspiracy begins to unfold where passion overrides loyalty, and integrity is tested to the extreme. For his last opera, written for the coronation of Leopold II as King of Bohemia in 1791, Mozart used a formal opera seria libretto, but at its heart are intimate scenes of intense emotional conflicts.
Baldassare Galuppi held the position of church organist, from which he composed operas for the Italian stage. Since his forte was the keyboard, his operas have nice harpsichord recitatives (which usually I detest) and the harmonics are contrapuntal. Galuppi as a youth had studied counterpoint under Antonio Lotti, the first organist at St Mark's. Galuppi became cembalist in the great opera houses of Venice, and was involved in the first presentations of Vivaldi's operas there. Galuppi himself wrote at least 111 operas, the best of which are collaborations with the librettist Goldoni. The young Mozart reused some of the librettos that already existed in settings by Galuppi, and the mature Mozart raised to sublime heights the dramma giocoso form which Galuppi practically invented. This release supplies a missing link between Mozart and the opera world before his time.
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.
…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)…
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.”
“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