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Porpora / Broschi / Giacomelli - Arias for Farinelli

Vivica Genaux Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: 23.71
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Product details

  • Conductor: Ren Jacobs
  • Composer: Baldassare Galuppi, Geminiano Giacomelli, Johann Hasse, Nicola Porpora, Riccardo Broschi
  • Audio CD (13 May 2002)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Harmonia Mundi
  • ASIN: B0000646XA
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 414,627 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Dall'amor pi sventurato from "Orfeo" - Nicola Antonio Porpora
2. Ombra fedele anch'io from "Idaspe" - Riccardo Broschi
3. Qual guerriero in campo armato from "Idaspe" - Riccardo Broschi
4. Mancare Dio mi sento from "Adriano in Siria" - Geminiano Giacomelli
5. Concerto a 4 in C minor - Baldassare Galuppi
6. Oh volesser gli Dei...Dolci freschi aurette from "Polifemo" - Nicola Antonio Porpora
7. Or la nube procellosa - Nicola Antonio Porpora
8. Per questo dolce amplesso from "Artaserse" - Johann Adolf Hasse
9. Quell'usignolo from "Merope" - Geminiano Giacomelli

Product Description


You've seen the film, now hear the CD. Well, not the soundtrack of the film Farinelli, with its synthetically produced re-creations of the sound of the great 18th-century castrato, but American mezzo Vivica Genaux's impressive collection of operatic arias inspired by Farinelli's genius. The astoundingly gifted Carlo Broschi detto Farinelli was feted across Europe, not least by royalty. The often fabulously florid arias featured here showcase a cross-section of the composers who were captivated by his talents--Porpora, Broschi, Giacomelli and Johann Adolf Hasse. Given the wide range of Farinelli's voice (and barring the unthinkable intervention of a scalpel) these arias must now be the preserve of female singers. Genaux's voice offers the ideal compromise: evenly produced throughout the range, not too "fat" nor too feminine--and able effortlessly to cope with the virtuoso pyrotechnics of arias such as "Qual guerriero in campo armato" from Broschi's opera Idaspe, as well as delivering melting sounds in the likes of Giacomelli's "Mancare Dio mi sento" from Adriano in Siria. The Berlin players are immaculate, sensitively directed by counter tenor René Jacobs... maybe wishing he could tackle these arias himself.--Andrew Green

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars STAR ON THE RISE!! 18 May 2002
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
Well...here it is at last! When I first read that Rene Jacobs had found a new talent and was recording an album with arias that Farinelli made famous I was very exited, to put it mildly!!
When I brought the CD back home, the whole ritual began - somewhere comfortable to sit and no one to disturb you. I was completely blown away by the voice and the vocal technique was outstanding.The first track, "Dall'amor piu sventurato" is a a beautiful piece of music and it stuck by me for the next couple of days - could not get it out of my head. There have been a few CDs with arias that Farinelli was supposed to have sung and maybe the most "accurate" and well known is the soundtrack to the film "Farinelli, Il Castrato", where they mixed the voice of a countertenor, Derek Lee Ragin, and a soprano voice, Eva Mallas Godlewska. This produced the most extraordinary sound. Anyway...the second aria on this new CD, "Ombra fedele anch'io", written by the brother of Farinelli, Riccardo Broschi, is as moving as in the film and Vivica Geneaux treats it with such delicacy and beauty - truly a stunning aria. The rest of the arias has an individuality and I like to listen to them 1-2 at a time, as the whole CD in one go is a tour de force and you might find yourself overdosed on this beautiful voice (not saying this a bad thing, but you will appreciate the music more if you listen to a few pices at a time). The technique of this fine singer is unbelivable and must be heard to be belived. She makes easy work of the most demanding arias and uses the whole of her range, top to bottom, in the most striking way. She is superbly assisted by the Berlin Akademie fur Alte Musik and the whole thing is held together by Rene Jacobs.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars farinelli almost lives 15 April 2008
By gabrial
Format:Audio CD
I didn't much like the film (this is better than the soundtrack) but this is how to sing the rep. Maybe one day someone like Jörg Waschinski will be able to do it (his Gedeone is pretty good) but for the moment we'll have to rely on women, pace the overambitious Jarrousky. Wonderful da capos using some of Farinelli's original ornamentations (on already unbelievable arias). In Venice 'people of all condition' would follow him about and in London people arrived four hours early IN the theatre to Hear him. Now we know why.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  16 reviews
40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most satisfying CD purchase I think I've ever made 3 Feb 2003
By Raven - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
While people informed in music history and historical performance debate the merrits of whether the voice is authentic, or whether its qualities are the match of legends like Marilyn Horne, the fact remains for me that I have never been so satisfied with a baroque music CD purchase. The quality of the music is incredible, all these composers were contemporaries and even rivals of Handel, yet lost to history as vocal composers until recently. The players and conductor bring life to the scores with sensitive, imaginitive, and highly sophisticated playing. I enjoyed every aspect of the recording, including the instrumental tracks. They are lively and interesting, yet also historically informed, and have a rightness to the sound that is lacking in a lot of the less enthusiastic recorded performances.
The singer, Genaux, possesses a voice surprisingly similar in timbres to the electronically blended sound on the Farinelli soundtrack. While a little grainy or edgy in parts of her range, it has the burnished warm sounds that float and are easy throughout much of the very difficult tessitura. These is a terrific activity or direction in all the coloratura that is never rushed or pushed in tempo, but keeps moving forward and gives shapes to the very long florid lines. The long stretches of the cantabile arias are wrapped in velvet and have several heart-stopping moments.
It is not hard to understand why these arias were the purview of one of the greatest singers of a bygone age, what is hard to understand is why this music has been missing from the repertoire for so long. Also, when considering the voice of the castrato, it is important to remember that they were boy sopranos originally, whose mutilation maintained their pre-pubecent vocal condition of "falsetto". However, the real facility of their voices came from very long years of incredibly rigorous vocal and musical training, castrati often were already a part of the conservatorios before their mutilation. This training cultivates the head voice in ways that only few of the modern day countertenors have achieved. It is wrong to think that the sound is vastly different from countertenors, and that the clarity of the female voice is the only comparison.
Whatever the problems with the album, it is a fantastic performance, more perfect than any other that I for one have ever heard, it still can be ranked with a landmark recording, one that can be held up with those of the legends.
34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impossibly Beautiful - A Talent for All Time 9 Jan 2003
By Lawrence Landis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
While it's easy to go on and on when a performance has problems, praising a perfect one runs the risk of sounding too cloying; yet, Vivica Genaux has given us just that - a perfect performance. These arias were originally written for Farinelli, greatest of the castrati. As such performers are no longer among us, some would say we'll never know what Farinelli sounded like. Well, who cares - we have Vivica Genaux. This must be the most pyrotechnic vocal recording ever made - Genaux goes through these arias seemingly without breathing and without a misstep or a bad note. Faultless, flawless, complete perfection...while in the future other mezzos may record these pieces, I cannot imagine anyone will ever do them better. We can only wish her a long career, though that she will ever top this performance seems quite impossible to believe. Genaux's technique is absolutely perfect, and her voice divine. I, for one, feel blessed to be alive not only when Vivica Genaux performs, but when those performances are so easily available. I wait - impatiently - for her next album, and have already ordered her previous ones.
No small credit should be given also to Rene Jacobs and the wonderful musicians of the Akadamie fur Alte Musik Berlin. Indeed, they are the instrumental equals of both Genaux's voice and her technique.
I have read other reviewers who have said that Rene Jacobs waited for twenty years to find someone with a voice to handle these arias, and that the world waited two hundred and twenty - since Farinell's death. Well, the wait is over, and we are the lucky ones!
Simply put, if I were stranded on the proverbial desert island, and could only take, say, five CDs, please believe this would be one.
38 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally these arias sung in a way that can move the heart! 20 Jun 2003
By BDSinC - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I was quite excited to hear this CD when I saw it. I have listened to a number of "Farinelli Arias" disks, and to tell the truth really saw no merit in the music at all, at least how it was performed. However, I have studied this music for decades, and having many fine transcriptions of Farinelli's embellishments, I have always wondered what these arias would sound like when sung well. It was a revelation.
I would suggest that everyone who listens to this CD begin by reading the very long, but very informative, explanations of the Castrato voice, and of Farinelli himself. There is a wealth of information, including how voices were trained, and what voices were used to trade off when a castrato soprano was not available. COUNTERTENORS were NEVER used. They existed, but they simply didn't have the sound that compared. The usual choice for composers was a FEMALE CONTRALTO with a good upper range. This upper range was not like we think of high notes today. In fact, no singer until the end of the 1880's had high notes like we are used to today. Their upper notes were very penetrating, but not super loud. The strength of the voice was its chest and lower notes. Most Castrati sang well, even to very strong powerful notes over an octave below middle C, and were still called "sopranos."
Looking at the scores of these pieces, you will not find one high note written there, and those that do venture above the staff are very quickly sung. However, most all of the pieces venture below the staff, and often start a phrase as low as the A below middle C. If one looks at Farinelli's own embellishments, one hardly ever sees him venturing above a high A and then very quickly. In his youth he may have had a High F but he never would have used it the way we expect singers like Joan Sutherland to sing it.
So, if we can just get over a few things we have been conditioned to think (which are completely wrong) that the countertenor voice has any resemblance to the Castrato (which it doesn't; composers of the period have proven through their choices a contralto or dark mezzo represented far more accurately the castrato voice), that voices sang with no vibrato (they did, and it gave warmth to the music, that is why eventually string players learned to use a vibrato, we have used instrumental technique, which were decades behind vocal technique, to decide how vocalist sang, organs as early as 11 hundred were built with a "la Voce" stop, which actually played two notes back and forth to immitate a vibrato, so obviously the voice did vibrate), and that the castrato has some super human capacity for volume (their breathing and focus training was unique to them, and often not taught to other singers of their day; women worse corsets and so their breathing was shallow, but what they were trained to do is commonly done today for most singers, so their volume would have compared to our more modern sound, only their high notes would not have been anywhere as loud as we are used to hearing).
If we are willing to learn from facts, then we will be ready to listen to this performance. What we hear is a wonderful singer doing a wonderful job with music that is very difficult to sing. It would have been nicer if her voice was more powerful in the lower reaches, for much of the music is quite low. Most of her embellishments are authentic to the times, but only one piece actually uses all the embellishments that were used by Farinelli himself, and that is the last piece, "Quelle'Usignolo." This disk was a really refreshing experience. It was wonderful to finally hear the words when the vocal line was lower, rather than the nasal twang the countertenors often bring to it, and nice to hear upper notes that actually came forth easily. It was nice to hear warmth to a voice singing this music, rather than something akin to scratching ones fingernails down the blackboard. It was nice to hear some "presence" some "personality" in the music, which more often than not it never has. As Vivica Genaux's voice grows and darkens, if she never loses her wonderful agility, then she truly will give this music the life it desperately needs to take it out of the frozen museum piece prison it has been relegated to in the more "authentic recordings" we are often subjected to.
18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!!! A star making effort! 11 Sep 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
An absolutely hair raising experience. Where has Vivica Genaux been hiding all these years? Her technique is beyond reproach and the ornamentation will take your breath away. As a baroque opera lover, I more than welcome this fantastic album. Those weaned on Cecilia's pyrotechnics (I love her, too) will find a different, yet equally thrilling alternative in Ms. Genaux. I eagerly await her "Rinaldo," also with Rene Jacobs, which is to be released later this year by Harmonia Mundi.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful technique, coupled with Baroque sensitivity... 4 Nov 2005
By B. DeSilva - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Being a counter tenor myself, I am often quite critical and picky with my Baroque recordings... counter tenors are never quite good enough for my tastes, and women are never quite androgynous enough for my tastes either. What can I say? I'm never satisfied... until now. Vivica Genaux has made such a beautiful recording, and such a moving tribute to one of history's greatest musical celebrities. Her tone is pure and androgynous enough to conjure our imaginations' best thoughts of what the great castrati may have sounded like, and yet there is still a warmth and spin in her voice. The coloratura is stunning... just as agile and articulated as Bartoli, but without the awkward and tense stoppage between notes. Genaux sings this music both as if she had worked on it since birth and yet as if it were second nature! Fabulous... this album is shaping up to be my very favourite baroque recording!
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