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Il trionfo di Clelia Box set


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Product details

  • Orchestra: Armonia Atenea
  • Composer: Christoph Willibald Gluck
  • Audio CD (9 Sep 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: MDG
  • ASIN: B00701QXVW
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 224,070 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. OuvertÃ1/4re: Moderato - Allegro
2. OuvertÃ1/4re: Andante
3. OuvertÃ1/4re: Minuetto
4. Come! Oh Ardir Temerario!
5. Si, Tacerò, Se Vuoi
6. Vedesti, O Principessa
See all 17 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Misera, Ah Qual M'asconde
2. Mille Dubbi Mi Destano in Petto
3. Dei! Scorre L'ora, E Col Bramato Avviso
4. Dei Di Roma, Ah, Perdonate
5. Alla Tua Tenerezza
6. Si, Ti Fido Al Tuo Gran Core
See all 23 tracks on this disc
Disc: 3
1. Ma Larissa Che Fa?
2. Tanto Esposta Alle Sventure
3. Eccola Alfin...No, M'ingannai: Di Mannio
4. Ah, Già Vorrei Che Scoperta Ogni Frode
5. Dove S'asconde Mai? So Pur Che Altrove
6. Ah, Ritorna, Età Dell'oro
See all 15 tracks on this disc

Product Description

Review

'Giuseppe Sigismondi de Risio's performance with Armonia Atenea is one of tireless dynamism...' BBC Music Magazine, June 2012 Opera Choice - ***** Recording ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 'Ardent Gluckians with good Italian will certainly want to acquire this set and they will be rewarded by virtuosic and long-lined singing from Hélène Le Corre (Clelia), Mary Ellen-Nesi (Orazio) and Irini Karaianni (Tarquinio).' International Record Review, May 2012 --BBC Music Magazine/International Record Review

It is inevitable that prolific composers will be widely known for just a small proportion of their output; the great opera reformer Gluck is no exception. Written for the opening of the Teatro Communale in Bologna in May 1763, Il trionfo di Clelia was therefore completed the year after he had written the famous Orfeo for Vienna. The latter is hugely popular, whereas this new recording brings the opportunity to discover an unknown opera. The libretto is the work of Pietro Metastasio, that most prolific of 18th century writers for the opera houses of Europe. It is a tale of love and duty, of personal loyalty tested in the context of the Siege of Rome. The priorities of the new work were to show off the most up to date technology of the new theatre. For example during the second act the collapsing bridge leads to the need to swim across the River Tiber in order to survive: a true test of heroism. Then there were the singers assembled by the Bologna management, whose virtuosity was of paramount concern. In the light of this, anyone with a passing knowledge of operatic history and Gluck's role as a reformer, who took the older seria style towards a closer liaison of music and drama, will be curious to know what Il trionfo di Clelia has to offer. The answer is that it gives us further confirmation of imagination and mastery by this splendid composer. This performance from Athens is directed with a lively momentum by Giuseppe Sigismondi de Risio. The musicians of the original-instrument band Armonia Atenea acquit themselves with distinction. There is no lack of drama in delivering the quasi-military aspects of the score, which come to the fore during the overture and at regular intervals thereafter. Also the attention to detail of dynamic and textural sharing, and of instrumental colouring, gains from this subtle and warmly recorded acoustic. The singers too seem inspired by their voyage of discovery. Clearly an element of vocal virtuosity was one of the opera's priorities, and there is never any suggestion that such enthusiasms are denied in this performance. As such, several of the performances must be every inch as heroic as those experienced at Bologna in 1763, not least the leading soprano role of Clelia, brilliantly realized by Hélène de Corre. Irini Karaianni runs her close and the rest of the cast seem wholly in sympathy with their characters. The question is: does this opera represent the discovery of one of the era s great operas? Only time will tell, and anyone acquiring this recording will be well placed to make that judgement. --Terry Barfoot - MusicWeb

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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 21 April 2012
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Il trionfo di Clelia was premiered in Bologna in 1763, just one year after the famous and innvative Orfeo ed Euridice. Despite of composition's date, the work luckily follows the recitative-aria scheme of Gluck earlier operas. I think the so called italian operas by Gluck are definitely better than the latter ones. Unfortunately the discography of Gluck is still needing of an effort to present his earlier work. This wonderful 3CD set proves that Gluck was a master composing in the italian style. All of the arias are of an unbelievable beautiness, full of melodic invention. There are very few baroque operas I can think of with such a succesful progression of amazing arias (Hasse's Cleofide, and Ferrandini's Catone in Utica, and Schuster's Demofoonte come to my mind). This is my favourite Gluck opera to date concerning the musical quality.
The orchestra Armonia Atenea is first rate, serving very well to the rich orchestration of Gluck (flutes, horns, hautbois etc). A harpsichord was used in the arias whereas a pianoforte was chosen for recitatives, and I think this was a good decision, beacuse of the timbric contrast (also, the pianoforte player is awesome).All the singers are very good, being Burcu Uyar the weakest point, her singing is not bad, but she tends to scream in high notes, and her style seems not very accurate to baroque. Nessi is the only singer I knew previously from other recordings, and she mades a good job. LeCorre and Karaianni are also very good, as well as Cezar Ouatu (a pity he only sings one aria). The tenor Kavayias plays the role of Porsenna and is the surprise of the recording (this is apparently his first recording). He has a very agile voice, and a beautiful colour in the highest notes, his arias are also the most charming from the whole opera (especially "Sai che piegar si vede" and "Spesso, se ben l'afretta"). I only hope more early Gluck operas are recorded soon.
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5 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Benedikt Binz on 17 Jun 2012
But no star at all for the booklet, unless you are able to understand 18th-century-style italian. The booklet contains the libretto only in italian!!! Why printing the librretto at all in the original language, when the singers are wonderful and you can hear every word clearly? But I don't understand Italian.

The synopsis provided in the booklet only gives a general description of the constellation of characters and summary of the plot for each act. This is almost completely useless. How on earth am I supposed to deduce from the general constellation of characters what Larissa is saying (during more than 10 minutes) to Clelia in Scene III? I am painfully missing a translation or, at the very least, a scene-by-scene synopsis. Unfortunately, I was also unable to find anything like this anywhere on the internet.

Instead, the booklet tells me for example that "The orchestra also assumes the function of tome painting by representing natural phenomena in Arias Nos. 6 and 22. Thank you very much for pointing this out to me. Maybe if I had any clue what the arias are about, I would know what natural phenomena you are referring to?

In music, the single sentences, often single words, are usually much more important than the general plot. Summaries are excellent for technical texts or to pass a literature exam without having read the books. But they say almost nothing about the artistic content.

I am really disappointed. What can I do with an Opera (after all a drama), if I don't understand the words? I am left with three hours of beautiful but basically context-less music. What a pity for the hard work that the singers and instrumentalists have put into this CD. The playing and singing in is truly excellent.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Michail Kiriakakis on 16 Jan 2013
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RECEIVED IT IN BROKEN BOX WHICH IS NOT THE MOST APPROPRIATE FIRST TOUCH. ON THE OTHER HAND IT IS A MASTERPIECE WITH EXCELLENT PERFORMANCES, PERFECT RECORDING AND A WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE, VERY CLOSE TO THE OPERA I SAW LAST YEAR IN ATHENS, FIRST WORLD PREMIERE. I SUGGEST IT AS A UNIQUE PIECE
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 2 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Early Gluck opera shows off his dependable lyrical beauty and a little bit more. 31 July 2014
By David Maclaine - Published on Amazon.com
“Il Trionfo di Clelila” is a fascinating example of how poor a grasp most of us have of the main body of Gluck’s life work. We tend to think of him as a one-trick pony, because “Orfeo e Euridice” is produced so much more often than all his other operas put together. But releases like this one have made me realize that Gluck is a badly underrated composer. He’s one of the few 18th-century masters whose reputation stands or falls on his operas. Handel and Mozart are the best opera composers of the century, but they have other genres on which to hang their hats—oratorios, anthems and concerti grossi for the one, concertos, quartets, symphonies etc. for the other. Gluck had nothing like that to keep his name alive among classical radio listeners, except for the pretty dance movement with flute that he added to his Paris revision of Orfeo. But the new emphasis on neglected older music has brought a steady stream of his operas to record, and with each new one I hear, my estimation of the composer rises.
“Il trionfo di Clelila” is set to a text by the ubiquitous 18-century librettist Metastasio, and most of us know him from some early libretti that became second-tier operas by Handel, and by “La Clemenza Di Tito” where the old-fashioned formula is blamed for stifling Mozart’s last chance to display his genius. But the “Clelila” text is actually pretty good for its time. It’s a setting of incidents from early Roman history, related to those in Britten’s “Rape of Lucretia” but treating the defense of Rome when the ousted King Tarquin returns to recapture Rome in the company of a powerful Etruscan leader. Orazio is Rome’s emissary to the invaders, who have called a truce for negotiations, and his beloved Clelila is a hostage in their camp. Tarquino, as he is called, has his eye on both Rome and Clelila. The second act is dominated by that famous moment in Roman history, commemorated in art and poetry, “Horatio at the Bridge”, (Orazio=Horatio) when the hero discovers that after lulling him with his offer to yield his designs on Rome, Tarquino has actually ordered a surprise attack, which Orazio single-handedly thwarts. Modern opera companies seem afraid to tackle the more spectacular challenges of the 18th century stage, and we’re left to imagine how they handled Orazio’s brave defense of a burning bridge, followed by its collapse and his leap into the Tiber.
As an opera fan who has finally gotten to the point where he can follow an Italian opera libretto without requiring a translation, I can commiserate with the writer frustrated by the lack of translation for this recording, and can confirm that it’s a more enjoyable experience when you know what’s going on. The first act concludes with poignant arias by Orazio and Clelila, and it helps to know that Orazio has just been thrown for a loop by King Tarquino’s offer to spare Rome if Orazio with yield Clelila to him. Orazio doesn’t tell her about this offer, so she sings about her own forebodings, given how upset her fiancée seems. After Orazio’s Second-Act defense of the bridge, Tarquino in the Third Act tries another trick, sending men to abduct Clelila. She sees them coming, and after much agitated accompanied recitative, finally grabs a horse and rides it into the river. Her escape is one more incident Tarquino uses to convince the Etruscan king that it is the Romans who have broken the truce. He convinces his ally, though when Orazio shows up outraged by Tarquino’s betrayal, he is almost won over by his earnest tone. The climax of the Third Act is a very long, very flashy aria by Orazio, in which he expresses Rome’s defiance and determination to fight. Then Clelila shows up with proof that Tarquino was the real truce-breaker, and there’s peace and a happy ending after all.
As noted by other reviewers, the singing is very fine. The opera includes some of the elements Gluck’s celebrated opera reforms were directed against, but it’s instructive to see that the composer was actually pretty skillful in handling opera of the unreformed style, offering the expected opportunities for vocal display on the part of his lead singers. You can also see why Gluck wanted to trim back the fancy note-spinning of superstar singers; in “Clelila” as in his later operas, he repeatedly shows that his greatest gift as a composer was the creation of direct, beautiful melodies, emotionally expressive and uncluttered by excessive embellishment. If you’re at ease with the conventions of 18th-century opera seria, and want to deepen your appreciation for an often-neglected composer, “Il trionfo di Clelila” is well worth checking out.
11 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Five Stars for the Music! 17 Jun 2012
By Benedikt Binz - Published on Amazon.com
But the booklet contains the libretto only in italian. I am painfully missing a translation or, at least, a scene-by-scene synopsis. Unfortunately, I was also unable to find anything like this anywhere on the internet. This recording therefore does not make the Opera accessible, unless you are able to understand 18th-century-style Italian.

Printing the librretto in the original language wouldn't have been necessary. The singers are excellent and every word is clear - IF you understand Italian. The synopsis provided in the booklet only gives a general description of the constellation of characters and summary of the plot for each act. This misses the point. How are we supposed to deduce from the general constellation of characters what Larissa is singing about (during more than 10 minutes) to Clelia in Scene III? Instead, the booklet tells us for example that "The orchestra also assumes the function of tone painting by representing natural phenomena in Arias Nos. 6 and 22." Maybe true but unfortunately, I have no clue what the arias are about! In music, single text sentences, often single words, are usually much more important than the general plot. Summaries are excellent for technical texts, etc. But they say very little about the artistic content.

I am really disappointed. What to do with a drama (and Opera is a drama after all), if we don't understand the words? I am left with three hours of beautiful but basically context-less music. What a pity for the hard work that the singers and instrumentalists have put into this CD. The playing and singing is truly excellent.
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