World premiere recording featuring a superb performance presented by Antonio Florio and a cast of true Baroque specialists. This opera waited almost three centuries before its rediscovery by Antonio Florio and the Turchini orchestra. Founded in 1987 by Antonio Florio, the ensemble I Turchini consists of instrumentalists and singers living and working in Naples who specialize in the performance of Neapolitan music from the 17th and 18th centuries and in the rediscovery of music by highly-gifted composers who are now largely unknown.
La Partenope is a rich and colourful production, superbly performed here by I Turchini Orchestra and conductor Antonio Florio, world-renowned specialists of Baroque repertoire. In this version comic intermezzi have been added, as was customary in the eighteenth century.
Following up his “fantastic” (Süddeutsche Zeitung) Handel recital, Franco Fagioli lavishes his “extraordinary agility and richly upholstered voice” (Gramophone) on Leonardo Vinci, the Neapolitan composer who influenced Handel and many later masters of Italian opera. He is again partnered by Il Pomo d’Oro led by Zefira Valova, the superb period- instrument ensemble who offered “stunning playing – stylish and superbly tuned” (ClassicsToday) on Fagioli’s previous album.
Based on a ponderous libretto by Metastasio (who defined his own work as “stellar”) Leonardo Vinci’s dramma per musica was premiered in Venice in 1726 and was triumphantly acclaimed. Since then, Siroe, Re di Persia was put to music by composers such as Vivaldi, Handel, Hasse, and Galuppi, to mention just a few. The story uses some of the elements of the plot of Partenope, almost as if it were a sequel moved to Persia. Siroe’s plot revolves around a family mystery mingled with passions, traitors en travesti, fatherly affection and filial honesty that echoes Shakespeare’s King Lear. Performed in concert version at Teatro San Carlo of Naples in 2018, this rare opera was chosen to open the theatre’s 281st season. Conductor Antonio Florio , specialist of the Neapolitan Baroque repertoire, revised the score.
With I Viaggi di Faustina Glossa is launching a new collection focusing on famous Italian singers from the 17th and 18th centuries, whose travels bear witness to the intense level of artistic activity then taking place in the major cities of Europe. Faustina Bordoni, the brilliant diva with whom we begin this series pursued her career mainly in Naples (the principal focus of this CD) and Venice, but also in cities such as Bologna, Parma, Dresden and London. These were cities hosting – with great success – operas by Johann Adolph Hasse (Bordoni’s husband), Nicola Popora, Leonardo Vinci, Francesco Mancini and Domenico Sarro; most of these composers are represented on this first selection of wonderful arias.
Handel’s sparkling opera Partenope reunites countertenor Philippe Jaroussky and soprano Karina Gauvin, who both made such an impact in the recording of Steffani’s rediscovered Niobe – released by Erato in early 2015 and welcomed by Gramophone as “a landmark event”. Every moment of Partenope’s comedy, romance and drama is captured by the dynamic conductor Riccardo Minasi and his ensemble Il Pomo d’Oro.
This is the best recording so far of Partenope. Krisztina Laki is splendid in the lead role as is Helga Muller-Molinari as Rosmira and John York Skinner as Armindo. Rene Jacobs in the counter-tenor role of Arsace does a fine job considering the date of this recording. The orchestra plays with great vitality. This is the recommended recording of this opera.
Franz Hauk and the Simon Mayr Chorus and Ensemble have spearheaded the revival of the music of Johann Simon Mayr who was born in Bavaria but lived in Italy. In the latest instalment of their critically acclaimed recordings they turn to Il sogno di Partenope, an allegorical staged cantata composed to mark the rebuilding of the Teatro San Carlo in Naples following a fire in February 1816. Mayr’s significance as an intermediary between the opera seria of the late eighteenth-century and the melodrama of the early-nineteenth is reflected in this important work, a unique kind of ‘cantata opera’ of which only the second act survives.
Partenope is mature Handel, and belongs in the top flight of his stage works. A comedy from 1730, which was first rejected as too frivolous by the Royal Academy of Music in London, the text had been set 20 years earlier by Caldara for an opera that had been a major influence on the young Handel. The tone is light and the action - all disguises and cross-dressing, with everyone ending up with the right partner - is swift moving; there are relatively few extended arias but a number of ensembles, as well as the obligatory sinfonia and march for the battle scene at the beginning of the second act. This performance under Christian Curnyn hits the right spot from the very start.
A major contribution to the Handel Year: countertenor star Andreas Scholl returns to the Decca label in a new high definition film of Handels comedy Partenope, presented in Francisco Negrins stylish with a modern-dress staging from the Royal Danish Opera. Scholl gives an outstanding performance, with several contrasting arias that collectively display his unique purity of tone, his virtuosic technique and his sensuous lyricism. Concerto Copenhagen and conductor Lars Ulrik Mortensen are unsung heroes of period-instrument performance, and they make a wonderfully spirited and polished contribution to the production.