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Full Operas - Released June 7, 2011 | Glossa

Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice
It's not necessary to make extravagant claims for Francesco Cavalli's originality to recognize his absolute mastery of the style of mid-17th century Venetian opera perfected by Monteverdi in L'incoronazione di Poppea. The fact that he was able to keep the operatic form so fresh and vital (and most importantly, hugely entertaining) for more than a generation after Monteverdi's death is achievement enough. The modern revivals of more and more unknown Cavalli operas continue to add luster to his legacy. Artemisia overflows with examples of the first-rate inventiveness of Cavalli's imagination; examples include the magical triple echoes of Eurillo's second-act "Regina, udiste mai"; the ravishing lyricism of the aria "Ardo, sospiro, e piango"; and the expressive intensity of his slithering Gesualdo-like harmonic digressions. Like Monteverdi (and all great opera composers), Cavalli had a consummate gift for using music to drive the drama forward, and Claudio Cavina knows how to exploit that gift; he and his ensemble La Venexiana make this obscure opera spring to startling life. His singers throw themselves into their roles with unguarded passion, and even though the details of the plots may be impenetrable, the characters' emotions are urgently immediate. All of the soloists are superb. Sopranos Francesca Lombardi Mazzulli, Roberta Mameli, Valentina Coladonato, and Silvia Frigato stand out; they are simply remarkable for the piercing purity and fullness of their voices, the extravagant agility of their coloratura, and the transparent honesty of their characterizations. The instrumental ensemble plays with wonderful fluidity and Cavina draws a maximum of timbral variety from his group of 12 bowed and plucked strings. The upper strings have a somewhat nasal quality that may require a period of adjustment for modern listeners. Like Cavina's exemplary 2010 recording of L'incoronazione di Poppea with La Venexiana, his world-premiere recording of Artemisia raises the bar very high for performances of Baroque opera, or any opera, for that matter. Glossa's sound is characteristically natural, absolutely clean, and warmly enveloping. Highly recommended. © TiVo
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Opera - Released May 27, 2016 | Glossa

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Sacred Oratorios - Released February 7, 2012 | Glossa

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Classical - Released August 15, 2007 | harmonia mundi

Distinctions Diapason d'or - Choc du Monde de la Musique - 4F de Télérama - The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Classical - Released May 31, 2019 | Challenge Classics

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When this recording was made in 2006, recordings and even performances of the operas of Francesco Cavalli were rare. Many are difficult to stage, but those who persist, find works that have a good deal of power and were critical to the development of opera as it is known today. For one thing, Cavalli moved opera away from the declamation of Monteverdi's works and toward a more contemporary concept of melody. Sample almost anywhere to hear Cavalli's not-quite-arias, not-quite-recitatives, perhaps the long speech of Linceo in Act One, Scene Nine. For another, although this opera was written for Florentine princely patrons, Cavalli was a man of the theater who realized the need to grab an audience's attention. G.A. Moniglia's libretto, later imitated by Pietro Metastasio, is a gory tale of a battle royal that follows the murder of 49 sons of an Egyptian king by their wives, and the refusal of the 50th wife, Ipermestra, to go through with the murder because she loves her husband, Linceo. There's plenty of action, and it comes through here in the performance by lutenist-director Mike Fentross and his ensemble La Sfera Armoniosa. This is something of a scholarly recording. The notes tell of the rediscovery of the opera's manuscript in a Venetian library, and the text is given only in the original Italian. However, non-Italophones will get the gist (although not the detail), and Fentross keeps things moving with his large continuo section: the performance was also pioneering in its recognition of the crucial role of the continuo. Further productions of the work, one by William Christie in England and one in Eastern Europe, have followed, but this one was the milestone. The lead roles of Ipermestra and Linceo, both sung by women, are competently and persuasively done, and the sound, within the limitations of live recording in 2006, is quite clear. This deserves a place in good opera collections. © TiVo
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Music by vocal ensembles - Released December 9, 2008 | K617

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Classical - Released March 8, 2019 | Warner Classics

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Although Francesco Cavalli’s twenty-seven operas that still exist today have increasingly become part of the world’s opera repertoire, there was a time when the works of this flamboyant composer had completely fell into obscurity. As they were not published like those of his master Monteverdi, Cavalli’s works remained as (often incomplete) manuscripts and were painstakingly reconstituted for a modern edition. By the end of the 1960s, Raymond Leppard and musicologist Alan Curtis set out to resuscitate this forgotten music through memorable stage performances at Glyndebourne Festival, featuring a brilliant casting of some of the greatest voices of the time: Janet Baker, Ileana Cotrubas, James Bowman and Hugues Cuenod. The staging and sound restitution were particularly extravagant, and audiences discovered − in both an album and a filmed performance − an incredibly varied music characterised by constant gender swapping and triumphant eroticism, in often uproarious situations! This extraordinary sensory exaltation, from tragedy to parody, is expertly expressed by Philippe Jaroussky – a countertenor very familiar with Cavalli’s work − on this album made up of around twenty extracts that perfectly encapsulate the Venetian public’s expectations. Around him, the voices of soprano Emöke Baráth and contralto Marie-Nicole Lemieux give rise to a few delightful duos. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Full Operas - Released October 26, 2006 | harmonia mundi

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Classical - Released August 15, 2007 | harmonia mundi

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Classical - Released January 1, 2004 | Fonè Records

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Classical - Released October 28, 2003 | naïve classique

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Classical - Released March 8, 2019 | Warner Classics

Booklet
Is countertenor Philippe Jaroussky's voice losing some of its uncanny leaping creaminess as he enters his fifth decade? Maybe marginally, but that's more than counterbalanced by his recent efforts to move into the new (or older) territory of the 17th century. Here he takes on the music of Francesco Cavalli in a wonderful collection that can serve as an introduction to this composer as well as a display of Jaroussky's vocal gifts; many of Cavalli's operas are sampled. Cavalli is not exactly a household name, but this Venetian composer as much as anyone else turned going to the opera into the public event that it remains today. He combined the epic mode of Monteverdi with more modern aria types and humorous elements, both of which are abundantly on display here. They are handled nicely by Jaroussky, and he goes into new vocal territory when doing so. Sample the aria "Cieche tenebre" from the opera Pompeo Magno, which gives the countertenor's low register a workout and finds it in good shape. Jaroussky leads off with "Ombra mai fu" from Cavalli's Xerse, an aria whose title will be familiar even to casual opera listeners because Handel set the same text, and the same libretto, 85 years later (spelling it as Serse). This shows not only the general persistence of 17th century ideas into the High Baroque, but also the influence of Cavalli specifically, and listeners will enjoy comparing the two settings. There are tender love songs, stirring martial arias, and action-packed scenes. Jaroussky is backed by his handpicked Ensemble Artaserse, and the ensemble seems to breathe. Highly recommended. © TiVo
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Classical - Released February 22, 2019 | Château de Versailles Spectacles

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Classical - Released January 18, 2019 | Warner Classics

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Full Operas - Released January 3, 2012 | Ludi Musici

Booklet Distinctions Diamant d'Opéra
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Classical - Released December 19, 2016 | Anima e Corpo Música

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Full Operas - Released January 1, 1972 | Decca

Distinctions Diapason d'or
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Art Songs, Mélodies & Lieder - Released January 1, 2006 | Accent

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Classical - Released May 26, 2015 | Dynamic

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Opera - Released May 1, 2012 | Dynamic