Magazine article Opera Canada

Love and Death in Venice: Venetian Love Duets, Arias and Chamber Music

Magazine article Opera Canada

Love and Death in Venice: Venetian Love Duets, Arias and Chamber Music

Article excerpt

SUZIE LEBLANC, CLARON MCFADDEN, SOPRANOS; DEREK LEE RAGIN, countertenor; Teatro Lirico, Stephen Stubbs, director. Virgin Veritas 7243 5 45263 2. ****

THE PROGRAM ON THIS recording charmingly celebrates Venice's glory as a musical centre in the 17th and 18th centuries. It includes not only the composers who were based there but others who passed through. Thus, we get a pair of duets from Cavalli's La Calisto, the great final duet from Monteverdi's L'Incoronazione di Poppea (now, ironically, credited to Benedetto Ferrari) and duets from Vivaldi's scarcely known opera, Ottone in Villa, as well as his vivid and powerful solo cantata, Cessate, omai cessate. Beyond these expected names, however, there is also elegant vocal music from Francesco Manelli and Antonio Sartorio (another setting, not negligible, of L'Orfeo), and instrumental selections by Tarquinio Merula and Giovanni Legrenzi. The two famous visitors included are Handel and Johann Adolf Hasse (represented by a beguiling duet from his opera Cleofide).

It's a rich feast, generously served. This CD marks the recording debut of Teatro Lirico, an ensemble founded by Stephen Stubbs (who had already, in 1987, created the group Tragicomedia to perform 17th-century repertoire). The new assembly's mandate is the performance of Baroque opera, and its vigorous and committed playing here bodes well for an important future. …

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