4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Persian politics in the baroque,
This review is from: Vinci: Artaserse (Audio CD)
There are already several highly complimentary reviews of this recording here on Amazon - all 5-star so far as I write. So I would just like to support the others and say that this is a terrific baroque opera in a brilliant performance. Of course five countertenors are a lot; but they are good, and to my ear their stratospheric tones are nicely balanced by the rich, colourful orchestration, directed here with superb pace and panache by Diego Fasolis, one of the most stylish baroque directors around.
Another reviewer rightly mentioned the amount of recitative in the score, and it's true that there's a lot - but, to my ear at least, it is all moved along at a very lively pace and hardly ever gets tedious. In any case, all this negotiation, discussion and reporting of the latest events and rumours is very much a part of the plot in what is essentially a political drama set in ancient Persia. So, apart from the usual unrequited passions characteristic of baroque opera, we have power struggles, deception, intrigue, cruelty, false accusations, guilty secrets, snobbery, treachery and rebellion. How different are the politics of today!
Back to the music, though, Jaroussky, Cencic and the other singers are terrific and so is the Concerto Köln orchestra. If you want to hear a few samples, try any of the three sections of the opening Sinfonia, or the final aria of Act I, 'Vo solcando un mar crudele' (I am adrift on a cruel sea), which apparently blew away Roman audiences in 1730. But in truth Vinci's music is full of invention and there are numerous fine arias; altogether this is an enterprising and outstanding recording of a work little known in recent times, and it's bound to appeal to just about all baroque opera fans.