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Vinci: Artaserse Box set

5.0 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Includes FREE MP3 version of this album.
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£14.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details Only 11 left in stock (more on the way). Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.


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Product details

  • Performer: Philippe Jaroussky, Max Emanuel Cencic, Daniel Behle, Franco Fagioli, Valer Barna-Sabadus, et al.
  • Orchestra: Concerto Koln
  • Conductor: Diego Fasolis
  • Composer: Leonardo Vinci
  • Audio CD (1 Oct. 2012)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: Virgin Classics
  • ASIN: B008R9QAY6
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 99,818 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
  • Sample this album Artist (Sample)
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Product Description

Product Description

VIR 6028692; VIRGIN - Italia; Classica Lirica

BBC Review

Death by chocolate sounds more like the kind of demise to be found within the pages of a Roald Dahl tale than the stuff of real life. However, if we're to believe the legend that's exactly how the celebrated Neapolitan composer Leonardo Vinci met his end in 1730.

The story goes that the composer let slip that he had enjoyed intimate relations with a noblewoman, and thus provoked one of her relatives into poisoning his cup of chocolate by means of revenge. Accurate or not, it's certainly a larger-than-life cause of death, and this recording of his final opera is almost as attention-grabbing.

Not so much for the fact that it's a world premiere (frankly, it's hard to get excited about world premieres when the classical market now groans under the weight of them), but for its all-male cast made up of five counter-tenors and one tenor – a necessity thanks to a papal decree of the time which banned women from appearing on the stages of Rome's theatres. This recording features the brilliant countertenors Philippe Jaroussky and Max Emanuel Cenčić.

Vinci's chief gift to the early 18th century operatic world was accompaniments that supported and showcased the vocal lines, rather than the norm of distractingly dense harmonic and instrumental structures. Admittedly, for us with our 21st century ears, it's hard to hear this with the fresh delight that his original audiences must have done.

Still, it's less hard to hear why Arteserse is considered to be Vinci's masterpiece. Composed for the Roman carnival of 1730 to a libretto by Metastasio, Vinci's intention was that it would dazzle. Vigorously rhythmic and highly dramatic, the opera has extraordinary energy, and some beautiful moments. This recording brings this all out, partly through the cracking tempi set by Diego Fasolis, partly through Concerto Köln's effervescent, historically informed performance, and partly through the sheer energy of the cast.

--Charlotte Gardner

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I am becoming quite a fan of Leonardo Vinci, having discovered him via a couple of arias courtesy of Simone Kermes and Cecilia Bartoli, then a disc of lovely cantatas and a live recording of his opera 'La Partenope'. The present recording of his last opera 'Artaserse' is something really special however. Here we have five countertenors (two singing female roles) and a tenor to complete the cast. Generally speaking, I tend to prefer mezzo sopranos to countertenors BUT a really splendid cast has been assembled here and all the soloists are really excellent. Probably my favourite amongst them is Franco Fagioli in the role of the hapless Arbace - his is a glorious, velvety voice and I was delighted to see another reviewer here comparing it to that of Cecilia Bartoli because I had exactly the same thought! Coming a close second is Max Cencic who manages to sound convincingly feminine as his lover Mandane. Another terrific voice is that of Yuriy Mynenko as the general Megabise - a talent to watch. Although Philippe Jaroussky is probably supposed to be the main draw (as his image in on the cover) he is actually one of my least favourite voices on the recording although he does rattle of the coloratura amazingly well. The fifth countertenor, Valer Barna-Sabadus has a lovely, smooth if slightly bland voice. I felt all five voices were different enough to differentiate between on a first listen through. Completing the line up, Daniel Behle's fine tenor makes a welcome contrast of tone and he is searingly dramatic as the semi-villain Artabano.

Diego Fasolis is fast becoming one of favourite conductors of baroque music and he leads Concerto Koln in an exciting, dramatic account of what is a very fine score. There are some truly wonderful arias here.
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This is a very nice recording. The 6 male singers (yes, no women in this opera) are wonderful. I don't understand why Jaroussky appears alone in the cover photo, since to me, the role of Fagioli is more important in the opera. I guess that Jaroussky just sells better. We can listen here no less than FIVE countertenors, so this recording is like a dream if you like this kind of voice. Jaroussky's voice seems a little bit darker than normal, he does not shine like in other recordings. I guess he was not in his best day, although he still sings very well. Cencic's singing is gorgeous, pure velvet, sometimes he sounds a little bit histrionic specially in the high register, but this fits very well with the character of his arias (in fact, she performs a female role). This is the first recording of Yuriy Minenko, and I really liked his voice, very powerful, with a big volume and wide vibrato, but always in baroque style. Barna Sabadus is a very promising singer, and I am sure he will lead the generation of new countertenors. He has a unique voice, very agile, and he has a special ability to sing the da capos, with beautiful details in ornamentation. The tenor Daniel Boehle is equally good. However the real star of the recording is the argentinian countertenor (should i say mezzosoprano?) Franco Fagioli. What a performance! His voice is harsh, but still beautiful, similar to Ceicilia Bartoli not only in color but also in trills and expresivity. Higher notes are outstanding, agilities are sung with a mathematical precision (alla Bartoli), you have just to listen to him to believe it. One of the best perfomances I have ever listened.Read more ›
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Had Amazon included a pdf. synopsis, or better still a libretto, as a guide to the plot of this typical Metastasian farrago of love, treachery, guilt, betrayal and generally dirty work at the cross-roads of the Persian Court, there would not have been enough stars to rate this recording by.
Normally the description 'authentic performance' may make the non-specialist opera-lover justifiably wary, especially when applied to a nearly forgotten opera contemporary of Vivaldi and Handel; nonetheless Leonardo Vinci (c1686-1730) was a prolific Neopolitan opera composer honoured by those more durable names and played in the great opera houses of Europe; this recording amply justifies the esteem in which hw was held in his day.. First time listeners might be even more wary when the principals are heard to be no less than FIVE countertenors versus a single tenor singer. One of these countertenor principals, the rightly honoured Max Emanuel Cencic, was the mastermind behind this recording, which seeks to replicate the first performance of 1730 in Rome where the Vatican embargoed women singers from appearing on stage - hence the plethora of 'drag' performers. [It is in keeping with popular contemporary opera story-lines that Vinci himself died shortly after this first performance, allegedly of poison].
Potential listeners may learn more from the January issue of 'Gramophone' magazine, which rated this their 'Recording of the Month'.
I use the term 'unique' with care; as an avid music-lover I have listened to quite a lot of music in my 80-plus years but I do not recall many occasions when the first hearing of a major work made so unusual an impact. Do not just take my word for it; for less than a fiver Amazon has brought us all over three hours of strange delights.
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