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Classical - Released November 27, 2007 | Naxos

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Choc du Monde de la Musique
Arguably, Haydn's best opera isn't an opera at all. The oratorio Il ritorno di Tobia, Hob. 21/1, composed in 1775 and recorded here with two choruses added in 1784, is putatively a sacred work, drawing on the biblical (at least for Catholics and the Orthodox) Book of Tobit. But the narrative, featuring the return of a prodigal son, a fish-liver cure for blindness, a grieving mother and wife, and a disguised angel who ascends into heaven midway through, is a dramatic whole, full of tension and passionate arias, not a group of expected set pieces. The work clocks in at nearly three hours, which consigned it to the dustbin from its time until ours, and the present box is one of just a few contemporary performances. It's very nicely done. Much of the most spectacular vocal writing goes to the disguised Raphael, a pants role for soprano, and the marvelous Roberta Invernizzi is impressively athletic. Bass Nikolay Borchev as the blind father Tobit is also strong, with quietly sad arias unlike almost anything else in Haydn's output. The Capella Augustina under Andreas Spering keeps the energy level high throughout this large work. Negatives include residence on the flat side of the pitch from alto Ann Hallenberg as Tobit's wife Anna, surprisingly boxy studio sound from the Cologne offices of Deutschlandfunk, and the absence of libretto text in any language other than Italian. Translations would seem to be of paramount importance in introducing an unfamiliar work, and in a three-CD box there is plenty of room for a few extra pages in the booklet. The action is nonetheless intelligible to non-Italophones with the help of a detailed synopsis in the booklet commentary, and lovers of the two great oratorios from the end of Haydn's life can turn with confidence to this recording of a work from the composer's underappreciated middle period. The recording may well stimulate others by top-level vocal stars, and it convinces you that the music is strong enough to stand up to such a thing. The libretto, incidentally, is by Giovanni Gastone Boccherini, brother of the composer Luigi Boccherini. © TiVo
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Opera Extracts - Released April 2, 2013 | Glossa

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice - Hi-Res Audio
I Viaggi di Faustina is part of a series from Spain's Glossa label, with each album examining the legacy of a singer from the 18th century, re-creating the repertory sung and even the sound of the voice insofar as such a thing is possible. The title I Viaggi di Faustina refers to Faustina Bordoni, the Neapolitan singer who became famous for her onstage brawl with her rival Francesca Cuzzoni, shrewdly egged on by Handel's promoters in London. But her career was centered on Naples, where she married German-born composer Johann Adolf Hasse; the "viaggi" here are trips both to and from Naples, and the music consists of excerpts from operas she is known to have sung. A similar album by American mezzo soprano Vivica Genaux brings Handel into the mix, but Italian mezzo Roberta Invernizzi sticks with Italian composers, and the scale of the music, more delicate than fiery, is suited to her voice. The music blooms into high notes only occasionally, but it demands agility and finesse, according well with contemporary descriptions of Bordoni's own voice. And Invernizzi is sympathetic to the music, which includes no killer Handelian tunes but has plenty of charm. The program is mostly by three composers, two known only to Baroque and Classical opera enthusiasts, Leonardo Vinci and Nicola Porpora (the latter Haydn's teacher), and one Neapolitan local unknown to all but serious specialists, Francesco Mancini. The fact that the Mancini pieces are perhaps the most charming of all will recommend this album automatically to anyone with an interest in the period. It all comes together in a piece like "Canta e de caro usignolo," from Mancini's opera Traiano, a night piece that shows off the smooth sound of the Baroque orchestra I Turchini under Antonio Florio to great advantage. A worthwhile addition to any library of Baroque opera and a pleasant foretaste of delights to come in Glossa's series. © TiVo
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Classical - Released October 30, 2015 | Glossa

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice
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Opera - Released May 1, 2012 | Glossa

Booklet Distinctions 4 étoiles Classica
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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released February 4, 2014 | Glossa

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice
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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released April 1, 2014 | Fra Bernardo

Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice
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Classical - Released July 19, 2019 | Glossa

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Classical - Released March 8, 2001 | Naxos

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Cantatas (secular) - Released July 5, 2011 | Glossa

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Opera - Released February 16, 2018 | Glossa

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The latest striking release from soprano Roberta Invernizzi acts as a lightning conductor for this new vocal extravaganza from Glossa devoted to the Italian Baroque composer Francesco Gasparini. Invernizzi finds herself very much home both in the music – which was originally first-performed around the turn of the eighteenth century and which provided “influences” for Handel, who was Gasparini’s junior by some 20 years – but also, so noticeably, with the words: librettos from the likes of Zeno, Piovene or Salvi find this singer exercising her customary intelligence. Carlo Ipata, directing his ensemble Auser Musici, combines his natural and obvious flair for Italian and music of the time – he has also recorded the opera Il Bajazet for Glossa – with the painstaking demands of the research required to identify brilliant arias from slumbering the various shades of neglect. Gasparini wrote some sixty operas, as well as oratorios and many cantatas. For Invernizzi Ipata has crafted a beguiling selection from this abundance of music which proved so successful in both princely soirées in Rome and public theatres in Venice. Arias come from operas such as Il Roderigo and Amleto and oratorios such as L’oracolo del Fato and Atalia. As well as the cantata, Andate o miei sospiri, composed by Gasparini as part of a challenge undertaken jointly with Alessandro Scarlatti, Ipata and Auser Musici have added an attractive flute concerto written during his time as a teacher at Venice’s Ospedale della Pietà. © Glossa
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Classical - Released August 30, 2019 | Brilliant Classics

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Opera - Released February 17, 2017 | Glossa

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Classical - Released January 1, 2006 | Glossa

Not all of these solo cantatas for soprano were written "for Cardinal Pamphili," as the cover states; two were written for some other unknown Italian patron. But all date from early in Handel's career, when he was living in Italy. The picture that emerges from the detailed, informative notes by Ellen T. Harris is of a young composer working in private, chamber genres rather than the highly public ones of opera and oratorio that would form the basis of Handel's career in England. All of Handel's solo secular cantatas date from before his move to London, and they have been largely neglected. It's hard to say why, for they are extremely compelling pieces. It may be because few singers specialize in this type of material -- the cantatas are highly virtuosic but small in scale, which makes them all the more difficult for the singer. (Bach's church cantatas are similar in scale in many cases but require a different kind of intimacy.) Sample track 9, the aria Giacché il sonno a lei dipinge (As the sun draws for her), from the cantata Pensieri notturni di Fili (Phyllis' Thoughts at Night), for a taste of the distinctive qualities of the music and the performance here. Despite the unfamiliar genre, there are many Handelian trademarks in the music -- here he builds a complex, highly ornamented, perfectly balanced structure out of the seemingly lightweight jig rhythm. The soprano has a lot to do, and she has to do it in a quiet voice. Two of the cantatas, Tra le fiamme (Among the Flames) and Il delirio amoroso (The Ecstasy of Love), have a richer, more varied scoring that allows soprano Roberta Invernizzi to stretch out a bit more, and here the talents of the orchestra La Risonanza and conductor Fabio Bonizzoni come into play; the group is supple and precise, with an extremely agile pair of recorder players. Hear also the instrumental "sonata" that opens Il delirio amoroso: the group captures the timing in Handel's motoric passages without ever lapsing into a mechanical feel. This is one of a group of recordings of Handel's Italian-language cantatas that have been released by this group of performers, and all of them should help elevate these pieces to the level of standard vocal repertory items. They are especially recommended to young sopranos, for they are of ideal dimensions for vocal recitals. © TiVo
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Classical - Released June 26, 2007 | RTSI Multimedia

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Classical - Released May 23, 2002 | Stradivarius

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Classical - Released January 1, 1997 | naïve classique

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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released April 1, 2014 | Glossa

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Classical - Released March 24, 2014 | naïve classique

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Classical - Released January 27, 2015 | Glossa

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Classical - Released March 25, 2016 | Glossa

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