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.
Gérard Lesne founded the Il Seminario musicale Ensemble in 1985. Since 1990, the Ensemble has been in residence at the Royaumont Foundation, where it attracts vocalists and instrumentalists who share Lesne's enthusiam for the 17th and 18th century Italian repertoire. The musicians perform on old instruments and strive to reproduce as faithfully as possible the lilt and narrative line characteristic of the baroque style as expressed in works by composers such as Monteverdi, Cavalli, Scarlatti, Vivaldi, Caldara, Pergolesi, and the others. The size of the ensemble is variable depending on the repertoire. Based on a rich and varied continuo section (theorbo, cello, basson, double bass, organ and harpsichord) supporting one or more soloists, it can be expanded with the addition of a string quartet to make a small chamber orchestra suitable for performing chamber operas. Responsibility for the Ensemble's musical direction is shared by the instrumentalists and vocalists.
This opera first came to my attention in a pirate recording from a festival in Germany, and it is good to see that CPO have been bold enough to commit such a worthwhile work to disc. Although the booklet seems not to say so, this is a live recording.
This is the strongest of the operas I have heard from the later eighteenth century (excluding the Mozart operas), easily putting most of the Haydn operas to shame. Like the Haydn operas, it does suffer from a certain uniformity of expression (most numbers are in a major key, for example), but there are some gifted touches of orchestration, bold bravura arias (including what must become a favourite with sopranos, 'Infelice! In van m'affanno') and stunning use of the chorus, things which don't redeem most of Haydn's works for the stage…
Listening to this work so soon after hearing Zauberflote one is amazed anew that Mozart could write two such totally contrasted pieces within months of each other. Here, in the composer's last opera seria, we are in another world, one of formality tempered by the deep emotions engendered by love and jealousy. Instead of birdcatchers and Masonic rights we are dealing with historic figures in a supposedly historic context with down-to-earth feelings. For each Mozart finds precisely the appropriate music.
A celebration of instrumental Baroque splendour! This set present an anthology of Italian Baroque composers, featuring their instrumental output. Obviously the famous composers have their fair share: Vivaldi, Albinoni, Locatelli, Corelli, but also lesser known composers are featured: Barsanti, Bassani, Veracini, Nardini, Stradella, Vitali, Mancini, Platti, Legrenze and many more, over 30 composers! Performances by leading ensembles specialized in the Historically Informed Performance Practice: L'Arte dell'Arco/Federico Guglielmo, Ensemble Cordia/Stefano Veggetti, Violini Capricciosi/Igor Ruhadze, MusicaAmphion/Pieter Jan Belder and many more. A treasure trove of solo concertos, concerti grossi, sinfonias, overtures, trio sonatas and solo sonatas from the Golden Era of the Italian Baroque, era of joy, passion and brilliance!
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.