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Classical - Released November 27, 2020 | Brilliant Classics

Christoph Willibald Gluck's Demofoonte was premiered in 1743 and revived several times in the 1740s, only to disappear into the mists of history, overshadowed by the composer's "reform" operas that wove music and drama more closely together. Its modern premiere came in 2014 in Vienna, at the hands of Baroque opera conductor and researcher Alan Curtis and his ensemble Il Complesso Barocco. Curtis wrote most of the recitatives, which were missing, basing their style on other early Gluck operas. He also added a three-part Sinfonia in the style of Gluck's mentor, Giovanni Battista Sammartini, to replace the missing original. The present recording, knitted together from recordings made in Italy and Switzerland, features many of the singers from Curtis' premiere production, including the impressive countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen and soprano Sylvia Schwartz as the pair of secretly married lovers Timante and Dircea, with the latter under threat of being sacrificed due to a Thracian oracular command. Modern-day audiences are at a disadvantage in that viewers in the 18th century would have known the story well; the libretto, by Pietro Metastasio, was set about six dozen times. It's action packed, and even if three hours plus of unknown opera may be a lot for the general listener, the story is engaging. Most interesting is the music. It's true that the naturalness of Orfeo ed Euridice was still almost two decades away, and the opera seria march of recitatives and big arias was still fully in force, but melodically, the arias float on new breezes, with fetching melodies and little showy virtuosity. With a booklet that doesn't even get to the work at hand until its third page, this release will be of the most interest to serious students and fans of mid-18th century opera, though its appeal may extend beyond those circles, and the recording could easily stimulate further performances from operatic stars. © TiVo
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Opera - Released January 1, 2016 | Orfeo

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Classical - Released May 18, 2018 | Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
This is the first-ever recording of this particular version of Orfeo ed Euridice by Gluck: the one he wrote for the Royal Theatre of Naples, for the 1774 Carnival. That said, it is based in part on the first, Viennese, version, dated 1762 (in which Orpheus was sung by an alto castrato), but also on the 1769 revision for Parma, where the role of Orpheus was given to a male soprano. The notes, the tonalities, the instrumentation, the tempos and the number of dynamics underwent substantial modifications in the version for the Neapolitan Carnival: the work is at once perfectly recognisable, and yet different from its normal form; and some completely new numbers are added, of which the first is quite possibly the work of dilettante aristocrat Diego Naselli, and maybe the second, too. The orchestration has also undergone many modifications, surely to do with local constraints and availabilities. The Neapolitan success of 1774 was such that in November of the same year, the famous Teatro San Carlo took on the work – again in a new version, with not three but eight characters and several apocryphal numbers from Johann Christian Bach and other contemporary stars, which stretched the work out to three acts, whereas the present version only has one, split into six scenes. Orpheus is sung by Philippe Jaroussky, Eurydice by Amanda Forsythe, Amore by Emöke Baráth, while Diego Fasolis gives a spirited lead to the ensemble I Barocchisti and the Coro della Radio Svizzera (The Swiss Radio Choir). Lovers of Gluck will be delighted to discover yet another of the many possible facets of a work which has seen countless revisions and wanderings. © SM/Qobuz
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Opera - Released January 1, 2000 | Accent

Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
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Classical - Released January 1, 2001 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Classical - Released September 18, 2015 | Archiv Produktion

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - 4 étoiles Classica
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Classical - Released December 18, 2006 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released January 1, 2004 | Archiv Produktion

Booklet
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New Age - Released June 5, 2016 | Metafon Music

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Classical - Released December 18, 2006 | Warner Classics

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Classical - Released September 5, 2011 | Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Hi-Res Audio
Gluck wrote his opera seria Ezio in 1750 for production in Prague. (In 1762, after the formal and stylistic breakthroughs of Orfeo ed Euridice, he revised the opera for a Vienna production, but it's the original version that's recorded here.) The opera has many of the characteristics of Italian late Baroque opera; it's essentially a series of arias separated by accompanied recitatives, the formula that the composer reacted against in Orfeo. It's not Gluck at his most innovative or original, but it's a fine example of opera seria, with a number of impressive arias and some very expressive recitatives, and it can make quite an impact in a performance as fine as this one. Alan Curtis has a deep understanding of what makes early opera tick, and he conducts Il Complesso Barocco in an elegant, engaging performance that has plenty of momentum. The recording comes from a live 2008 concert performance at Théâtre de Poissy, but there is absolutely no audience noise, and the sound is immaculate and well-balanced. All the soloists are absolutely superb, and although this was a concert rather than a staged performance they convey a heady dramatic heat in their interactions. Contralto Sonia Prina exudes masculine aggressiveness in the title role and delivers Ezio's aria "Se fedele mi brama il regnant," a coloratura tour-de-force, with dazzling command. Tenor Topi Lehtipuu seems to grow in artistic stature with each new recording he makes, and he comes across with great dramatic force and effortless vocal agility. His aria "Se povero il ruscello" is one of the highlights of the album (and also of the opera; Gluck recognized this and lifted it for use in Orfeo ed Euridice). It's easy to hear the growth in countertenor Max Cencic's already formidable assurance and vocal distinctiveness. Highly recommended for fans of late Baroque or early Classical opera. © TiVo
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New Age - Released January 10, 2016 | Metafon Music

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Classical - Released May 1, 1988 | Warner Classics International

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Opera - Released January 1, 1994 | naïve classique

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Classical - Released January 1, 1976 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Classical - Released May 4, 2004 | deutsche harmonia mundi

Most opera fans are familiar with Gluck the reformist -- the composer of Orphée et Eurydice who sought to balance drama and music in his works. But few know his early works which show him to be a master of the Baroque opera seria tradition he later rejected. L'innocenza giustificata, a festa teatrale written in 1755, is one of these works. Its structure -- cobbled together from aria texts by Pietro Metastasio, but with new recitatives by Giacomo Durazzo -- already shows a desire to create more dramatic continuity and interest than was commonly found in the Baroque period. The music is a jumble of Baroque and Classical elements: florid da capo arias, almost Mozartian recitative, and ensembles that show the emerging influence of comic opera. But the opera seria influence is unmistakable. The resulting stylistic hodgepodge can't be considered entirely successful. But it is interesting, and Christopher Moulds and the Capella Coloniensis make about as compelling a case as possible for it. Leading the cast, María Bayo struggles somewhat with the more ornate passages and has some intonation problems, but she also clearly understands this music, and in the end she makes for a satisfying heroine. Andreas Karasiak's short top range is a liablility in his role as the Roman Consul Valerio. Marina de Liso is excellent as Flaminia. But the show belongs to Verònica Cangemi in the role of Flavio, the hero. She tears into florid runs and rangy phrases as if she could sing them all day, and turns in a thoroughly exciting performance. Her tracks are the ones you're most likely to play over again when you listen. If you're curious about Gluck's work from the 1750s, you won't have many better opportunities than this. © TiVo
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Opera - Released July 28, 2017 | The Art Of Singing

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Opera - Released July 5, 2010 | Wigmore Hall Live

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Classical - Released March 22, 1986 | Sony Classical - Sony Music

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New Age - Released March 2, 2016 | Metafon Music