Tuesday, February 24, 2009

World-Premiere Recording of Virtually-Unknown Vivaldi Opera La Fida Ninfa

all-star cast including Sandrine Piau, Marie-Nicole Lemieux, and Philippe Jaroussky led by Jean-Christophe Spinosi

Antonio Vivaldi: La fida ninfa
Lorenzo Regazzo, Veronica Cangemi, Philippe Jaroussky, Sandrine Piau, Marie-Nicole Lemieux, Topi Lehtipuu, and Sara Mingardo
Ensemble Matheus / Jean-Christophe Spinosi
CD and downloads available February 24 from naïve
The [Ensemble Matheus] gives a crisp and exciting performance under the direction of Jean-Christophe Spinosi … . Vivaldi’s delectable arias, with their unexpected curves, jagged, irregular phrases, and gleaming string colors, reflect the seductive light and rhythm of Venice, his water-ringed home town.
– New Yorker review of Spinosi’s recording of Griselda

Jean-Christophe Spinosi leads his Ensemble Matheus with an all-star cast in the world-premiere recording of Antonio Vivaldi’s La fida ninfa, which was originally premiered during the Verona carnival of 1732 at the Teatro Filarmonico. The work was composed to help celebrate the opening of the theater, which had been postponed for two years because the city had been surrounded by foreign troops. The production was spectacular, and included elaborate dances by Andrea Cattani, a famous ballet master from Poland , as well as sumptuous sets by Francesco Bibiena. The story concerns the fate of two long-lost brothers who had been kidnapped, one after the other, in their youth, and brought to the island of Naxos , the stronghold of the pirate Oralto.

This new release from naïve, recorded after a highly-successful European tour by the featured artists, is the ninth opera to be issued in the label’s landmark Vivaldi Edition, a project launched in 2000 with the aim of recording the massive collection of Vivaldi autograph manuscripts preserved today in the Biblioteca Nazionale Universitaria in Turin . The collection includes 15 operas and several hundred concertos, as well as sacred compositions and secular cantatas, most of which have not been heard since the 18th century. La fida ninfa is the fourth opera in the series to be performed by Ensemble Matheus under the direction of Jean-Christophe Spinosi. The previous three, Griselda, Orlando furioso, and La verità in cimento, have received many international accolades.

Among the cast on the new recording are three remarkable singers who sang on Spinosi’s recording of Griselda, which won a 2007 BBC Music Magazine Award: Marie-Nicole Lemieux (contralto), Veronica Cangemi (soprano), and Philippe Jaroussky (countertenor). ClassicsToday.com gave the album its highest rating, 10/10 for Artistic Quality and Sound Quality, summarizing the performances of Spinosi and the three singers as follows:

“This performance is sublime. Jean-Christophe Spinosi leads a dramatically taut reading, with his period-instrument Ensemble Matheus underpinning the vocal theatrics with snap and a huge range of dynamics all its own … Marie-Nicole Lemieux has a simply beautiful voice, its darkish timbre ideal for Griselda’s humility, sadness, and, when needed, vitriol … . Veronica Cangemi’s lovely soprano is marvelously used throughout … . Philippe Jaroussky’s countertenor Roberto … is well-formed and beautifully sung; he can caress a vocal line with great tenderness.”

Other cast members on La fida ninfa include Sandrine Piau (soprano), Lorenzo Regazzo (bass), Topi Lehtipuu (tenor), Sara Mingardo (contralto), and Christian Senn (bass-baritone).


Michael Quinn of the BBC gives a glowing review of this CD here stating:

Vocal performances are above and beyond the call of duty, with especially agile and vivid contributions from sopranos Sandrine Piau (Licori) and Verónica Cangemi (Morasto), countertenor Philippe Jaroussky (Osmino) and tenor Topi Lehtippu (Narete) altogether outstanding.The playing, from Spinosi's own period-instrument Ensemble Matheus is fresh and vital, fizzing with energy and bursting with exuberant colour, their begetter conducting with incisive winning conviction.

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