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Vivaldi: L'Olimpiade Import, Box set


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Product details

  • Performer: Sara Mingardo, Roberta Invernizzi, Sonia Prina, Laura Giordano, Riccardo Novaro, et al.
  • Orchestra: Concerto Italiano
  • Conductor: Rinaldo Alessandrini
  • Composer: Antonio Vivaldi
  • Audio CD (19 Dec. 2008)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Format: Import, Box set
  • Label: Naive Sa
  • ASIN: B00006IWQQ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 129,670 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. L'olimpiade (67 Tracks On 3 Discs) - Antonio Vivaldi - Antonio Vivaldi

Product Description

Product Description

O111 316 (3 cd); OPUS 111 - Francia; Classica Lirica

BBC Review

Through one of those paradoxes so characteristic of musical history, Vivaldi's output still remains largely unknown'.

That's how the notes for this new recording begin...surely they cannot be serious: have they never heard of The Four Seasons? Well, that's precisely the point; the success of a small number of concertos has completely eclipsed the rest of Vivaldi's music with the result that he is now a prisoner of his own image as an instrumental composer. That may be pushing it, but how many Vivaldi operas can you name for instance? Thought so...and Vivaldi himself reckoned he'd written ninety-four of them. Which may also be a bit of an exaggeration, it turns out and anyway, he had an almost Rossini-like attitude to recycling: about forty percent of this opera comes from other pieces.

But isn't it about time someone got off their backsides and started mapping Vivaldi's vast, neglected operatic hinterland on disc? It's a perfect project for Alessandrini and Concerto Italiano, whose series of Vivaldi recordings for Opus 111 has already been stimulating and refreshing.

It would take me almost as long to explain what happens in L'Olimpiade as it would to listen to it; it's a pig to précis; basically the Ancient Greek Olympics are being held, and two great friends are entering the overall contest for top athlete, both in love with women they're forbidden from meeting. The father of one of the women is in charge of the games, and he's offering his daughter's hand to the victor, which means the two friends are effectively competing for the same woman, who one already loves, and the other is about to fall for in a big way. Oops.

Look, as an opera it's never going to outsell Tosca, but there's some beautiful music here, and fine performances. Try Licida's Act 1 aria Mentre dormi for starters, superbly sung by Sara Mingardo...in a trousers role. Yes, all four of our leads are sung by women, and it does get a bit confusing. But Alessandrini only relaxes his grip on the score to allow the most beautiful passages breathing space, and the playing is brilliant.

'Opere teatrali vol. 1' this says on the sleeve. Ninety-four operas? Looks like they'll be in the studio for some time...

Like This? Try These:

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Lalande: Music for the Sun King

Stefano Landi: Homo fugit velut umbra --Andrew McGregor

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By E. L. Wisty TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 11 Jan. 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Any attempt by me to summarise the plot of L'Olimpiade in a brief review would be about as successful as the contestants in Monty Python's All England Summarise Proust Competition. Suffice it to say in the briefest possible terms, two friends, both separated from their beloved by the respective women's fathers, are to compete in the Olympic games - only, the winner of "best athlete" will receive in marriage one of the women. Cue multiple twists, turns and intrigues, but of course all is well in the end.

Metastasio's libretto was clearly a popular story despite its complexity though - 120 printed editions were made, and it was first set to music by Caldara in Vienna in 1733 and subsequently by no end of others, including Pergolesi and Galuppi, right through to Cimarosa in Lisbon in 1798.

In 1733, Neapolitan opera had all but taken over in Venice. Vivaldi was persona non grata at the prestigious Teatro San Giovanni Grisostomo, where operas from admired Metastasio libretti in the hands of Porpora, Hasse and many others rolled off the production line, sung by the fashionable castrati of the moment. The rebellious Red Priest for the 1733/1734 season at the modest Teatro Sant'Angelo took Metastasio's L'Olimpiade libretto to give Venetian opera what was by all accounts a glorious and triumphant final counterblast even in the days of its decline.

Having said that, it's not Vivaldi's best music on show here in my own estimation.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Marcolorenzo TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 24 Jan. 2014
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Superb singing and vital pulsating instrumental performances. Alessandrini creates great dramatic vitality with relentless energy. All the singing is quite fine, often brilliant and sparkling, and the recitatives are very well done, clearly understandable and carry you along with the plot if you can understand the Italian. The plot is very entangled but the music carries you well beyond all the unnecessary entanglements to the world of the 18th century Venice Carnival in a characteristic Vivaldi orchestral style , with virtuoso arias greatly influenced by the Neopolitan composers of the time, Pergolesi, Paisiello, Cimarosa, etc. all in a wonderfully entertaining and inimitable Vivaldi style. Similar in feeling to many of Handel's operas, without the deep psychological insight of the Handel operas however, Handel's Atalanta comes first to mind, probably because of the similar use of choruses and the pastoral moments in both operas. Highly recommended.
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Outstanding singing and instrumental performances. Yes, opera of this period IS stop-start recitative-aria (as is Handel), but for those who like Vivaldi and don't think that if you've heard the 4 Seasons and sung in THE Gloria, there's nothing else worth listening to, these Naive recordings are to smack your gob big time.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 6 reviews
29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Excellent Recording of an Unknown Gem 18 Jan. 2004
By Music lover - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
In expanding my operatic horizons I find myself drawn more and more to the baroque works. Having whet my teeth on Handel I have been experimenting with his contemporaries and those who came before him. This new recording of a work by Vivaldi based on a libretto by Metastasio has captivated me.
Contrary to popular wisdom which says throw away the libretti and just luxuriate in the music of these works, I find that following the text makes them much more accessible and enjoyable. However, I will admit that it usually takes me more than one listening to actually "get" them completely.
In the present case, the opening allegro hooked me right away, as did the series of beautiful, and relatively short, arias, culminating in perhaps the work's finest inspiration, Licida's 'Mentre dorme', beautifully done by Sara Mingardo. The rest of the music is on a consistently high level as is the performance and recording. Minor quibbles: the Aminta, though accomplished, probably should have been cast with a more imposing soprano, and the cast needs to work on their trills. Highly enjoyable and recommended.
35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
Outstanding 11 Mar. 2003
By J. Luis Juarez Echenique - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This is easily the finest recording of a Vivaldi opera so far, and it is good it is so since this is one his best operas.
Rinaldo Alessandrini and his marvelous Concerto Italiano bring brilliance and panache and the cast couldn't be bettered: contraltos Sara Mingardo and Sonia Prina are outstanding, and the ever delightful soprano Roberta Invernizzi is not to be missed.
Forget the idea that Vivaldi operas are boring, L'Olimpiada is anything but.
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Let the music begin! 20 Jun. 2006
By Dennis Figueroa - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
With a flashy and catchy title like the "L'Olimpiade", Vivaldi was certainly vying for opera gold in terms of financial and musical success. And "L'Olimpiade" as an opera event is full of excitement and diversity. The arias and overtures are some of Vivaldi's personal best, and musical treasures. The monetary windfall is certainly Naïve's.

In the presto category, "Siam nave all'onde algenti" stands out at the top of the heap. Though in the role of Aminta, Laura Giordano got stuck with mostly recitative singing, she distinguished herself at the opportunity to sing this aria. Her coloratura and breath control are awesome and apt to the part. "Son qual per mare ignoto" is the other Giordano aria that just blooms as she sings it. Vivaldi would have delighted in approval of hearing her sing these arias so well. Her timbre is beautiful and diaphanous, her coloratura is vibrant, and her breath control again amazing.

In the largo category, Invernizzi and Prina make a duetto made in opera heaven singing "Ne' giorni tuoi felici" to perfection. Their note and tempo are flawless and so cohesive that their two voices fuse seamlessly in a solo.

Definitely in the allegro class, Mingardo peaked my interest in the contralto voice with her vigorous, very theatrical rendition of "Gemo e un punto e fremo". Her voice truly belongs to the stage!

Riccardo Novarro is awesome and capable to lead a tremor with "Non so donde viene".

Bravo!
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Superb and outstanding 22 Jun. 2009
By Senior Citizen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
First let me say that I do not understand why two reviewers gave this work less than five stars. The three star review certainly calls for five stars. I am at a loss to explain this. The two star review complains of a technical flaw on one track which he says reduces the entire work to two stars. I can only say to the public to ignore this review. This is a brilliant opera written by that master of the dramatic, Antonio Vivaldi. What a cast! What a Conductor! What music! What absolutely fantastic singers!!! Who could not go crazy about the singing of Mingardo, Prina and Giordano? The reviewer who gave three stars does have one thing right. If you want thrills and pyrotechnics listen to Sara Mingardo singing 'Gemo in un punto e fremo' on track 24 of CD 2. It will make your blood run cold. I am an opera lover and my taste is fairly universal. But for great music with a thrill a minute I'll pick Vivaldi every time.
6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
technical flaws 7 Feb. 2009
By Don L - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Track 11 is cut short mid sentence at 56 seconds, one of the unforgivable technical flaws to blemish the entire fine work.

It is evident that the performance of L'Olimpiade here was like a beautiful bouquet of roses. unfortinately it was edited and pressed to cd by a lawn mower.

It is unfortunate that OPUS111 neglegted to even listen to the master before sending it to press.

edit - In retrospect, I am still surprised with these flaws and still feel they demand a re-issue of this CD. If you buy the 4 seasons, you expect to receive all 4 seasons and not 3 and 3/4 seasons with "Winter" cut short 50 seconds into the first movement. If the track was recitative It could be more easily overlooked (like the several other cue errors in this release), but that is not the case. The obvious hatchet job was ignored and pushed out to press when it should never have been so. It should be corrected and re-released.
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