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Vinci: Artaserse (DVD)  [NTSC]
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Diego Fasolis conducts the Concerto Köln ensemble in this production of Leonardo Vinci's opera, recorded live at the Opéra National De Lorraine in 2012. Performers include Philippe Jaroussky, Franco Fagioli and Yuriy Mynenko.
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Top Customer Reviews
The arias and ariosos are not long-winded or overly ornamented, but they are demanding nonetheless and really require virtuoso control. Each role moreover clearly has been composed for a specific type of countertenor voice. It can be difficult to distinguish who is who with all the outlandish costume changes, wigs and face-paint - to say nothing of the difficulty of determining role gender - but every single countertenor voice here has their own unique sound and character, and each are outstanding within the role they play. Arbace has arguably the most traumatic dilemma, consumed with guilt over the death of Serse and unjustly accused of murder himself, Franco Fagioli is outstanding in how he plays out this inner turmoil. It's Philippe Jaroussky as Artaserse however who has to balance the sense of friendship and fairness in dealing out justice with the shock of his father's violent death, knowing that much lies in the balance.
The romantic complications of Semira and her conflicted sentiments would seem less important, but Valer Barna-Sabadus' astonishing delivery will convince you otherwise.Read more ›
The story is set in Ancient Persia. The prefect of the Royal Guard, Artabano, desiring power, stabs king Serse to death and attempts to put the blame on Serse's son Dario, who is quickly executed by order of Serse's eldest son and successor Artaserse. However, his daughter Semira declares that Dario is not the murderer, so Artabano gives the bloody murder weapon to his son Arbace swearing him to secrecy. Arbace is discovered and exposed as the murderer to the chock of his friend Artaserse and Mandane, his fiancée and Artaserse's sister. Arbace nobly keeps his oath even to the moment of his execution when his father relents and confesses, yet Arbace forgives him and begs that his life be spared to which Artaserse agrees.
It's an all-male cast opera. Countertenors are cast in shirt roles to play the female characters in the opera. The entire cast produces exceptionally fine singing. Philippe Jaroussky's clear, pure voice is consistently focused and well supported and every line gloriously phrased.Read more ›
This French production featuring in title role French counter-tenor Philippe Jaroussky, with Max Emanuel Cencic in 'skirt role' as Artaserse's sister, new CT stars Valer Barna-Sabadus and Franco Fagioli are a 'must see' item, having previously been issued in CD format to great acclaim.
I will focus on the visual aspect of this performance since this is a DVD release.
The sets and costumes are fabulous to begin with, they are a mixture of rococo and baroque, and the protagonists take on the style well.
The most eye-catching performances come from the pair of Fagioli's Arbace and Cencic's Mandane.
The other skirt role Semira is undertaken by soprano CT Barna-Sabadus, another young up-coming star. He, however, is slightly taller and hence not as 'faminine' in appearance as Cencic.
So actually this Artaserse production has 'two sets' of CT stars - the reigning Jaroussky/Cencic pair and the up-coming Fagioli/Barna-Sabadus pair. Each pair as as good as the other, so this is first rate singing contest non-stop, but the pair of Arbace/Mandane really has more drama, so it is more eye/ear catching.
The lone tenor did a passable but not illustrious job as Arbace's father, the murderer of Artaserse's father (Serse).
The Concerto Köln, one of the longer-serving period bands, benefited from Diego Fasolis' almost dance-like approach to conducting (partly) from the harpsichord.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This opera because of its number of counter-tenors is rarely performed so it was a treat to see this recording. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Eric Firkins
I very much enjoyed thos opera due to the fact the singing was just wonderful plus the production .Published 8 months ago by Philip Day
An outstanding performance by Franco Fagioli. Excellent costumes and a most fascinating Piranesi-esque stage-set.Published 16 months ago by Julian Litten
what a pity that this outstanding five-star performance is not being presented in blu ray format but as an out-dated dvdPublished 18 months ago by Hans J. van Oort
A real feast both to the ears and eyes. The cast is wonderful and the costumes really over the top. It has made a real change to see and listen to something so entertaining. Read morePublished 19 months ago by mayanguy
Strange production but exceptional singing from an all star castPublished 20 months ago by Tim Walton
Excellent singing, wonderfully over-the-top costumes, clever staging, and music that, though far from up there with the greats of opera, is very easy on the ear. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Saba Risaluddin