REVIEWS: CLASSICAL - Andromeda Liberata Barbican London Ooo99
Dunnett, Roderic, The Independent (London, England)
FANS OF Vivaldi's "Gloria" and The Four Seasons are waking up to the fact that he was as prolific a composer of operas as Handel. In this, they're not far behind the performers: European ensembles - perhaps judiciously - have been equally slow to reacquaint themselves with the Venetian's operas.
Still, 18th-century scholars - HC Robbins Landon and Jonathan Keates among them - have always realised the potential riches to be unearthed, as have the Italians since the composer Gian Francesco Malipiero restored Vivaldi and other Italian Baroque masters in the 1920s. But recently the sizzling Savaria Baroque Ensemble from Hungary only produced a lacklustre revival of Vivaldi's Il Tigrane (Armenian shenanigans from Nero's time) at St James's in Piccadilly.
Andrea Marcon's Venice Baroque Orchestra, which brought Vivaldi's Andromeda Liberata (whose authorship is partly disputed) to the Barbican, is as deft if not as refined a group but here managed a much better orchestral showing. There was much to admire in the searing strings, the desirable lute playing and some fine oboes and horns. The punters clearly adored it, and thronged to pay pounds 22 for the CD.
You'd think it was Handel. It wasn't. Ultimately, Venice Baroque's over- forceful display proved scarcely better than the (that day) subfusc Hungarians. Why? Because Marcon thundered through most of it like a bull in a china shop. Would Vivaldi really …
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Publication information: Article title: REVIEWS: CLASSICAL - Andromeda Liberata Barbican London Ooo99. Contributors: Dunnett, Roderic - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: December 16, 2004. Page number: 17. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.