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Operafragmenten - Verschenen op 2 maart 2018 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen Diapason d'or - Diapason d'or / Arte - Qobuzism - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
Nowadays it might seem rather strange to describe a composer as a “singing master”, but, during the eighteenth century, this was not the case at all. In Italy, almost every composer worthy of the name wrote opere serie (Porpora wrote at least forty- ve): serious opera was the dominant musical genre, glorifying the human voice above everything else. It was the maker or breaker of musical reputations, with its nest singers the rst superstars of music. Therefore composers, though generally eclipsed by the fame of their leading men and women, needed to understand the human voice and all its remarkable capabilities, both technical and histrionic, in order to be able to exploit the possibilities of the operatic form at a time when those “machines made for singing”, the castrati, had brought the vocal art to a pitch of perfection never known before, nor equalled since. Though this recording is bringing Porpora’s name to public attention again on the 250th anniversary of his death, his fame as a singing teacher has probably obscured, until recently, his remarkable qualities as a composer, quite simply because two of the most famous castrati were among his many pupils, namely Gaetano Majorano, known as Caffarelli, whom Porpora once called “the nest singer in Europe”, also famed for his amorous antics and arrogance on- and off-stage, and the even more celebrated Carlo Broschi, who, under his stage name of Farinelli, amazed audiences and set hearts a- utter for fteen years throughout Europe, before being called to Spain to heal a crazed King by the power of his voice. Max Cencic remarks: “Porpora was a severe teacher, I think, maybe almost sadistic in his demands — you need 120% control of breath, brain and voice”. Legend indeed has it that he taught Caffarelli one page of exercises, and those alone, for six years. The formal alternation of aria and recitative in opera seria conceals a great range of emotional expression, that varietas that Erasmus famously described as “so powerful in every sphere that there is absolutely nothing, however brilliant, which is not dimmed if not commended by variety”. In such forms as the orid aria di bravura or the lyrical aria di sostenuto, the composer’s fantasy only provided a framework for the singer to embroider: the performer’s skill in ornamentation and other emotional devices was of paramount importance. Porpora’s many years of both teaching and composing experience made him, in Max Cencic’s opinion, “one of the top ten composers of Italian Baroque opera. I chose the arias for this recording almost by instinct, by what ‘felt right’. There is no way one can encompass a composer of such quality in one album, and each piece is a treasure in its own right. Though technical display is everywhere — leaps, rapid scales, trills, long phrases — Porpora’s special and utterly captivating melodic gift always shines through.” The arias are all taken from works composed at the height of Porpora’s fame, from Ezio (Venice 1728; “Se tu la reggi al volo” is a semiquaver spectacular) to Filandro (Dresden 1747, with a ravishing siciliano in “Ove l’erbetta tenera, e molle”), including three of the operas he composed for London during the 1730s, in direct competition with Handel (Arianna in Nasso 1733, Enea nel Lazio 1734 — real reworks here in “Chi vuol salva” — and I genia in Aulide 1735). The Teatro San Carlo in Naples, perhaps the most famous of all opera houses at that time, saw the premiere of Il trionfo di Camilla in 1740, and the two arias recorded here show Porpora at his best: the music of “Va per le vene il sangue” evocatively matches its darkly suggestive text, while “Torcere il corso all’onde” combines rapid- re coloratura with elegance of line. In the three arias from Carlo il Calvo (Teatro delle Dame, Rome 1738) the singer is similarly called to match Porpora’s varietas with his own: from the scurrying oriture of “So che tiranno io sono” to the high-lying phrases of “Se rea ti vuole il cielo”, and the beguilingly hypnotic sostenuto of “Quando s’oscura il cielo”. Porpora’s orchestral writing is also remarkably varied, all the more so in that he generally uses only strings, nowhere better than in the elaborate lines of “Torbido intorno al core” from Meride e Selinunte (Venice 1726), where voice and violins entwine in an elaborate and emotionally suggestive web of divisions. However, sometimes he pulls out all the sonority stops, as in the martial “Destrier, che all’armi usato” where, at the rst performance in the Teatro Regio, Turin in 1731 trumpets and horns vied with the unmatchable power of the voice of Farinelli. As Max Cencic has said: “How can we emulate the great castrati? That is hard to pin down, but these voices were the very soul of Porpora’s music.” -Nicholas Clapton © 2018 – Decca Group Limited
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 9 juni 2017 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Editor's Choice - Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik
One should not think that at the time when Handel was around, an opera was a finished product, etched in stone, the score of which was some kind of Holy Grail that would not suffer any tampering with, be it so benign. From that point of view, Handel’s Ottone is a case in point. Some extensive adjustments probably arose from Handel’s collaboration with the famous prima donna Francesca Cuzzoni, who had arrived in London in December 1722, but a fortnight before the first performance, and immediately threw a tantrum. Several of her arias she rejected and had had Handel substitute with entirely different new music. According to Mainwaring’s Memoirs of the Life of the Late George Frederic Handel (1760), having one day some words with Cuzzoni on her refusing to sing the aria Falsa imagine, the composer had shouted, in French: “I know very well that you are a veritable she-devil: but I will show you that I am Beelzebub the Chief of the Devils ” and with this he took her up by the waist, and, if she uttered another word, swore that he would fling her out of the window. This being said, many of the modifications he made during the rehearsal period had nothing to do with Cuzzoni. All in all, eleven arias and one duet were finished but then discarded and replaced before the first performance, and several other arias were considerably revised . It is impossible to determine which changes were instigated by Handel himself on artistic grounds and which were compromises in order to satisfy his singers’ whims and overblown egos. In addition to rejections, redrafts of scenes and wholesale substitutions by Handel during the opera’s composition and preparation, further amendments were also made during its first run . Moreover, he replaced and also added several extra arias for the twelfth performance, which took place on 26 March 1723 after a break of several weeks because of Lent. So: what does “the real” Ottone look like? This recording presents a reconstruction of the complete first performance version, but it also incorporates Handel’s expansions to two scenes reworked especially for Cuzzoni. As an appendix, there are three bonus tracks of new arias composed for the title-role in Handel’s 1726 revival, making it an Ottone as complete as possible. All this extra music will allow the listener to enjoy even more the great voices of the recording, to begin with the countertenor Max Cencic, but also the soprano Lauren Snouffer – who sings the part initially held by the infamous Cuzzoni –, accompanied by the ensemble Il pomo d’oro playing on period instruments and conducted by George Petrou. © SM/Qobuz
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 3 november 2014 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen Diapason d'or - Gramophone Editor's Choice - 4 étoiles Classica
The rediscovery of the almost forgotten opera seria repertory of the 18th century has led to spectacular aria recitals by stars as big as Renée Fleming as well as a host of European and American specialists. Recordings of entire operas, other than those by Handel, have been a good deal rarer; even Vivaldi hasn't really gotten his due. Now comes this major-label release of an opera by Johann Adolf Hasse, a German composer who conquered Italy (they called him "Il Caro Sassone," the dear Saxon) and married one of the leading sopranos of the age, Faustina Bordoni. Siroe is an adapation of a story also set by Handel, in a slightly different version; the libretto here is by Pietro Metastasio, despite his cancer-evoking name the most famous operatic dramatist of the century. Those who have been intrigued by the big arias heard on recitals, which are undeniably a great deal of visceral fun, can rely on finding more in abundance here, with several really spectacular vocalists --countertenors Franco Fagioli and Max Emanuel Cencic and soprano Julia Lezhneva -- on hand. Listeners will be plunged into glittering soprano scales and arpeggios and high-range countertenor heroics almost immediately, and they never really let up. What Handel had that Hasse lacked (at least here) was the capacity for a really good slow tune where the action seems to stop, and in general the tale, typical in its royal family drama, is not terribly compelling. One can see why Hasse was forgotten: the opera is made up of a set of conventions that were specific to its time and place, conventions that the fearless Mozart swept away. Ultimately, though, opera is about the singing, and much of it is breathtaking here. The opera was recorded during live performances in Athens, and the sound is clear, not boxy. © TiVo
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Volledige opera's - Verschenen op 12 januari 2018 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen Diapason d'or - 4 étoiles Classica - Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik
Until now, Porpora’s Germanico in Germania has, with the exception of one or two virtuoso arias, remained firmly hidden on library shelves. However, during his lifetime Porpora was as famous for teaching singing (one of his pupils was Farinelli) as for his compositions, so it’s no wonder that his score is a veritable feast of vocal delights ripe for resurrection. As a composer, Porpora’s reputation spread throughout Italy, especially to Venice, where he was “maestro delle figlie at the Ospedale degli Incurabili” (one of the city’s famous music schools for orphans) from 1726 to 1733, and Rome, where the Teatro Capranica saw the premiere of Germanico in Germania in February 1732. In Rome, by Papal edict, operas were “all-male”, and this cast was seriously “all-star”. Clearly Porpora enjoyed stretching the singers to their utmost potential, employing every vocal trick at his command. Germanico was played by the experienced alto castrato Domenico Annibali. The en travesti female roles were taken, as was often the case, by young singers at the start of their careers. For this recording boasting another “all-star” cast led by countertenor Max Emanuel Cencic, female roles are of course held by female singers. The excellent Capella Cracoviensis, playing on period instruments, is led by Jan Tomasz Adamus. © SM/Qobuz
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 12 februari 2016 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen 5 de Diapason - 4 étoiles Classica
Handel's Arminio was first performed in 1737, was abandoned, and was revived only in 1935, in a German-language performance in Leipzig (the original is Italian). That revival is easy to understand: Arminius, or Herrmann, was a tribal chieftain who stalled the Roman advance into Germany with a brilliant forest ambush and arguably was the reason for the survival of Teutonic rule in northern and central Germany. In 1935 he would have been a hero to the Nazis. The story here, based on a 30-year-old libretto, is both fanciful and largely incoherent, assigning a major role to Arminius' wife, Tusnelda, of whom absolutely nothing is known. The weak libretto, along with the growing unfashionability of Italian opera seria in general, probably accounted for the interment of the opera. The lack of performances and recordings in the modern era stems from musical factors: Arminius rests on some very demanding countertenor duets, and until recently the prospect of assembling a pair (here you get a bonus: the contralto role of the Roman tribune Tullio is sung by countertenor Xavier Sabata) of capable countertenors was daunting. A 2001 recording conducted by veteran keyboardist Alan Curtis featured mezzo-soprano Vivica Genaux as Arminius, but the edge of the countertenor voice seems preferable in Handel's writing. The lush voice of countertenor Max Emanuel Cencic gets top billing here, but it's the young countertenor Vince Yi, in the role of Tusnelda's brother Sigismondo, who makes the strongest impression in the difficult soprano castrato role. Sample his Act Two area "Quella fiamma, ch'il petto m'accende" (CD 2, track 2), with its perilous soprano-oboe interplay, for a taste of this rising star. The rest of the cast is uniformly strong, and the story, compact if not always dramatically convincing, unfolds in persuasive arias. A neglected Handel work, well sung here, and recommended. © TiVo
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 22 oktober 2012 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Booklet Onderscheidingen Diapason d'or - Choc de Classica
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 2 oktober 2015 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen 5 de Diapason - 4 étoiles Classica
Countertenor Max Emanuel Cencic has emerged as a new star of the specialty partly through fearless programming, and this collection of Arie Napoletane, Neapolitan arias or arias from Naples, is no exception. There really isn't a "Neapolitan school." Rather, Naples was on the musical cutting edge in the second quarter of the 18th century, and the arias here represent both a classic opera seria style, in the pieces by the massively prolific Alessandro Scarlatti, and music by the composers who pointed the way toward the melodically simpler future of Gluck and eventually Mozart, like Leonardo Leo and Leonardo Vinci. These latter are hardly household names, and Cencic, offering several recorded premieres, renders a valuable service simply by finding and choosing the deliberate and sensuous arias heard here. Moreover, the album's stylistic contrasts play to Cencic's strengths. Countertenors have their specialties, but Cencic does it all well, from big heroic pieces like Nicola Porpora's "Quel vasto, quel fiero" (track one) from the opera Polifemo, to Leo's "No, non vedete mai" (track eight), from Siface. The next step, as with Handel and Vivaldi, is to mount a modern production of one of these pieces -- Cencic has laid all the groundwork in introducing the repertory. A curious feature of the album is the inclusion at the end of a Harpsichord Concerto in D major, credited to Domenico Auletta. The birth and death dates given for this composer actually correspond to those of that composer's father, Pietro Auletta. Nothing about this work appears in the album notes, and it seems to have been tacked on at the end, performed by the album's conductor, Maxim Emelyanychev, whose ensemble Il Pomo d'Oro is beautifully matched to Cencic's range of skills. The concerto form seems more likely for the younger Auletta, but whoever composed the thematically expansive work, it's another unique discovery on an album with a lot of them. © TiVo
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 20 januari 2014 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen Diapason d'or - Hi-Res Audio
Rokoko is Croatian counter tenor Max Emanuel Cencic's 2014 release on Decca, in which he explores the elaborate and emotionally stirring arias of Johann Adolf Hasse, one of the neglected masters of 18th century opera. These 11 vocal selections reflect the popular taste of the period, oriented as it was to the extraordinary abilities of the great castrati. Supported by George Petrou and the period instruments group Armonia Atenea, which plays with authentic rococo sonorities, rhythmic vigor, and precision, Cencic displays astonishing virtuosity and power in the arias taken from Hasse's long forgotten operas, Arminio, Il Siroe, Tito Vespasiano, L'Olimpiade, Ipermestra, Il Trionfo di Clelia, La Spartana Generosa, and Tigrane, as well as an aria from the oratorio, Il Cantico de’ Tre Fanciulli. Cencic demonstrates both control and flexibility in the ornate passages, and an intensity of expression and richness of tone comparable to a mezzo-soprano. For an instrumental break in the program, Theodore Kitsos performs the Mandolin Concerto in G, a charming work reminiscent of Vivaldi, though it is much lighter than the vocal pieces that make this album essential listening. Cencic has already established an enviable legacy on Capriccio and Erato, and this stellar album suggests that his prospects in recording for Decca are bright indeed. © TiVo
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 16 maart 2015 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen 5 de Diapason
The title The 5 Countertenors, with definite article, might suggest something similar to The Three Tenors or one of the similar supergroups that have seen commercial success. That's not what happens here: the five singers represented on the album don't sing together. Instead, each is allotted a pair of arias from operas that not long ago would have been called obscure, but which these young singers and their teachers have been bringing into general circulation. Consider the startlingly light, high voice of countertenor Vince Yi, who emerged from the music program at the University of Michigan in the American Midwest, the program that also produced David Daniels. Yi is at the opposite end of the voice production spectrum from Romanian Valer Sabadus, heard in works by Jommelli and Gluck. The best-known singer is probably Croatian countertenor (and former Vienna Choir Boy) Max Emanuel Cencic. But really, each of the singers has his own virtues and transmits hope for the continued growth of the countertenor specialty. The historical-instrument group Armonia Atenea under George Petrou is light and flexible, and the sound is clear even in the high-volume highs. Think of this 2015 release not as a self-contained project, but as an advance look at the countertenors coming down the pike, and you'll really enjoy it. © TiVo
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 5 juni 2020 | Parnassus Arts Productions

Hi-Res Booklet
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 8 maart 2010 | Warner Classics

Booklet
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 4 februari 2013 | Warner Classics

Booklet
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 5 mei 2017 | CapriccioNR

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Klassiek - Verschenen op 12 januari 2018 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Booklet
Until now, Porpora’s Germanico in Germania has, with the exception of one or two virtuoso arias, remained firmly hidden on library shelves. However, during his lifetime Porpora was as famous for teaching singing (one of his pupils was Farinelli) as for his compositions, so it’s no wonder that his score is a veritable feast of vocal delights ripe for resurrection. As a composer, Porpora’s reputation spread throughout Italy, especially to Venice, where he was “maestro delle figlie at the Ospedale degli Incurabili” (one of the city’s famous music schools for orphans) from 1726 to 1733, and Rome, where the Teatro Capranica saw the premiere of Germanico in Germania in February 1732. In Rome, by Papal edict, operas were “all-male”, and this cast was seriously “all-star”. Clearly Porpora enjoyed stretching the singers to their utmost potential, employing every vocal trick at his command. Germanico was played by the experienced alto castrato Domenico Annibali. The en travesti female roles were taken, as was often the case, by young singers at the start of their careers. For this recording boasting another “all-star” cast led by countertenor Max Emanuel Cencic, female roles are of course held by female singers. The excellent Capella Cracoviensis, playing on period instruments, is led by Jan Tomasz Adamus. © SM/Qobuz
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 2 maart 2018 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Booklet
Nowadays it might seem rather strange to describe a composer as a “singing master”, but, during the eighteenth century, this was not the case at all. In Italy, almost every composer worthy of the name wrote opere serie (Porpora wrote at least forty- ve): serious opera was the dominant musical genre, glorifying the human voice above everything else. It was the maker or breaker of musical reputations, with its nest singers the rst superstars of music. Therefore composers, though generally eclipsed by the fame of their leading men and women, needed to understand the human voice and all its remarkable capabilities, both technical and histrionic, in order to be able to exploit the possibilities of the operatic form at a time when those “machines made for singing”, the castrati, had brought the vocal art to a pitch of perfection never known before, nor equalled since. Though this recording is bringing Porpora’s name to public attention again on the 250th anniversary of his death, his fame as a singing teacher has probably obscured, until recently, his remarkable qualities as a composer, quite simply because two of the most famous castrati were among his many pupils, namely Gaetano Majorano, known as Caffarelli, whom Porpora once called “the nest singer in Europe”, also famed for his amorous antics and arrogance on- and off-stage, and the even more celebrated Carlo Broschi, who, under his stage name of Farinelli, amazed audiences and set hearts a- utter for fteen years throughout Europe, before being called to Spain to heal a crazed King by the power of his voice. Max Cencic remarks: “Porpora was a severe teacher, I think, maybe almost sadistic in his demands — you need 120% control of breath, brain and voice”. Legend indeed has it that he taught Caffarelli one page of exercises, and those alone, for six years. The formal alternation of aria and recitative in opera seria conceals a great range of emotional expression, that varietas that Erasmus famously described as “so powerful in every sphere that there is absolutely nothing, however brilliant, which is not dimmed if not commended by variety”. In such forms as the orid aria di bravura or the lyrical aria di sostenuto, the composer’s fantasy only provided a framework for the singer to embroider: the performer’s skill in ornamentation and other emotional devices was of paramount importance. Porpora’s many years of both teaching and composing experience made him, in Max Cencic’s opinion, “one of the top ten composers of Italian Baroque opera. I chose the arias for this recording almost by instinct, by what ‘felt right’. There is no way one can encompass a composer of such quality in one album, and each piece is a treasure in its own right. Though technical display is everywhere — leaps, rapid scales, trills, long phrases — Porpora’s special and utterly captivating melodic gift always shines through.” The arias are all taken from works composed at the height of Porpora’s fame, from Ezio (Venice 1728; “Se tu la reggi al volo” is a semiquaver spectacular) to Filandro (Dresden 1747, with a ravishing siciliano in “Ove l’erbetta tenera, e molle”), including three of the operas he composed for London during the 1730s, in direct competition with Handel (Arianna in Nasso 1733, Enea nel Lazio 1734 — real reworks here in “Chi vuol salva” — and I genia in Aulide 1735). The Teatro San Carlo in Naples, perhaps the most famous of all opera houses at that time, saw the premiere of Il trionfo di Camilla in 1740, and the two arias recorded here show Porpora at his best: the music of “Va per le vene il sangue” evocatively matches its darkly suggestive text, while “Torcere il corso all’onde” combines rapid- re coloratura with elegance of line. In the three arias from Carlo il Calvo (Teatro delle Dame, Rome 1738) the singer is similarly called to match Porpora’s varietas with his own: from the scurrying oriture of “So che tiranno io sono” to the high-lying phrases of “Se rea ti vuole il cielo”, and the beguilingly hypnotic sostenuto of “Quando s’oscura il cielo”. Porpora’s orchestral writing is also remarkably varied, all the more so in that he generally uses only strings, nowhere better than in the elaborate lines of “Torbido intorno al core” from Meride e Selinunte (Venice 1726), where voice and violins entwine in an elaborate and emotionally suggestive web of divisions. However, sometimes he pulls out all the sonority stops, as in the martial “Destrier, che all’armi usato” where, at the rst performance in the Teatro Regio, Turin in 1731 trumpets and horns vied with the unmatchable power of the voice of Farinelli. As Max Cencic has said: “How can we emulate the great castrati? That is hard to pin down, but these voices were the very soul of Porpora’s music.” -Nicholas Clapton © 2018 – Decca Group Limited
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Vocale muziek (wereldlijk en religieus) - Verschenen op 1 januari 2003 | CapriccioNR

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Klassiek - Verschenen op 9 juni 2017 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Booklet
One should not think that at the time when Handel was around, an opera was a finished product, etched in stone, the score of which was some kind of Holy Grail that would not suffer any tampering with, be it so benign. From that point of view, Handel’s Ottone is a case in point. Some extensive adjustments probably arose from Handel’s collaboration with the famous prima donna Francesca Cuzzoni, who had arrived in London in December 1722, but a fortnight before the first performance, and immediately threw a tantrum. Several of her arias she rejected and had had Handel substitute with entirely different new music. According to Mainwaring’s Memoirs of the Life of the Late George Frederic Handel (1760), having one day some words with Cuzzoni on her refusing to sing the aria Falsa imagine, the composer had shouted, in French: “I know very well that you are a veritable she-devil: but I will show you that I am Beelzebub the Chief of the Devils ” and with this he took her up by the waist, and, if she uttered another word, swore that he would fling her out of the window. This being said, many of the modifications he made during the rehearsal period had nothing to do with Cuzzoni. All in all, eleven arias and one duet were finished but then discarded and replaced before the first performance, and several other arias were considerably revised . It is impossible to determine which changes were instigated by Handel himself on artistic grounds and which were compromises in order to satisfy his singers’ whims and overblown egos. In addition to rejections, redrafts of scenes and wholesale substitutions by Handel during the opera’s composition and preparation, further amendments were also made during its first run . Moreover, he replaced and also added several extra arias for the twelfth performance, which took place on 26 March 1723 after a break of several weeks because of Lent. So: what does “the real” Ottone look like? This recording presents a reconstruction of the complete first performance version, but it also incorporates Handel’s expansions to two scenes reworked especially for Cuzzoni. As an appendix, there are three bonus tracks of new arias composed for the title-role in Handel’s 1726 revival, making it an Ottone as complete as possible. All this extra music will allow the listener to enjoy even more the great voices of the recording, to begin with the countertenor Max Cencic, but also the soprano Lauren Snouffer – who sings the part initially held by the infamous Cuzzoni –, accompanied by the ensemble Il pomo d’oro playing on period instruments and conducted by George Petrou. © SM/Qobuz
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Vocale muziek (wereldlijk en religieus) - Verschenen op 1 januari 2005 | CapriccioNR

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Klassiek - Verschenen op 2 oktober 2015 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Booklet
Countertenor Max Emanuel Cencic has emerged as a new star of the specialty partly through fearless programming, and this collection of Arie Napoletane, Neapolitan arias or arias from Naples, is no exception. There really isn't a "Neapolitan school." Rather, Naples was on the musical cutting edge in the second quarter of the 18th century, and the arias here represent both a classic opera seria style, in the pieces by the massively prolific Alessandro Scarlatti, and music by the composers who pointed the way toward the melodically simpler future of Gluck and eventually Mozart, like Leonardo Leo and Leonardo Vinci. These latter are hardly household names, and Cencic, offering several recorded premieres, renders a valuable service simply by finding and choosing the deliberate and sensuous arias heard here. Moreover, the album's stylistic contrasts play to Cencic's strengths. Countertenors have their specialties, but Cencic does it all well, from big heroic pieces like Nicola Porpora's "Quel vasto, quel fiero" (track one) from the opera Polifemo, to Leo's "No, non vedete mai" (track eight), from Siface. The next step, as with Handel and Vivaldi, is to mount a modern production of one of these pieces -- Cencic has laid all the groundwork in introducing the repertory. A curious feature of the album is the inclusion at the end of a Harpsichord Concerto in D major, credited to Domenico Auletta. The birth and death dates given for this composer actually correspond to those of that composer's father, Pietro Auletta. Nothing about this work appears in the album notes, and it seems to have been tacked on at the end, performed by the album's conductor, Maxim Emelyanychev, whose ensemble Il Pomo d'Oro is beautifully matched to Cencic's range of skills. The concerto form seems more likely for the younger Auletta, but whoever composed the thematically expansive work, it's another unique discovery on an album with a lot of them. © TiVo
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CD€ 34,99

Klassiek - Verschenen op 3 november 2014 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Booklet
The rediscovery of the almost forgotten opera seria repertory of the 18th century has led to spectacular aria recitals by stars as big as Renée Fleming as well as a host of European and American specialists. Recordings of entire operas, other than those by Handel, have been a good deal rarer; even Vivaldi hasn't really gotten his due. Now comes this major-label release of an opera by Johann Adolf Hasse, a German composer who conquered Italy (they called him "Il Caro Sassone," the dear Saxon) and married one of the leading sopranos of the age, Faustina Bordoni. Siroe is an adapation of a story also set by Handel, in a slightly different version; the libretto here is by Pietro Metastasio, despite his cancer-evoking name the most famous operatic dramatist of the century. Those who have been intrigued by the big arias heard on recitals, which are undeniably a great deal of visceral fun, can rely on finding more in abundance here, with several really spectacular vocalists --countertenors Franco Fagioli and Max Emanuel Cencic and soprano Julia Lezhneva -- on hand. Listeners will be plunged into glittering soprano scales and arpeggios and high-range countertenor heroics almost immediately, and they never really let up. What Handel had that Hasse lacked (at least here) was the capacity for a really good slow tune where the action seems to stop, and in general the tale, typical in its royal family drama, is not terribly compelling. One can see why Hasse was forgotten: the opera is made up of a set of conventions that were specific to its time and place, conventions that the fearless Mozart swept away. Ultimately, though, opera is about the singing, and much of it is breathtaking here. The opera was recorded during live performances in Athens, and the sound is clear, not boxy. © TiVo