Cavalli was the leading composer of opera in Venice during the 1650s, and Calisto (which premiered in November 1651) finds him at the height of his powers. Giovanni Faustini’s mythologically based libretto for Calisto tells the story of the amorous trials of two couples: Calisto, a female devotee of the goddess Diana, and her pursuer, Jove; and Diana herself, and the shepherd Endymion. As a follower of Diana, Calisto has rejected carnal relations with men; as a result, in order to win her affection, Jove disguises himself as Diana, and Calisto willingly follows him in that guise to enjoy carnal pleasure. Calisto’s actions invoke the wrath of both Diana herself, and of Jove’s wife Juno. According to the myth, Calisto is transformed into a bear, and will later ascend to the firmament as the constellation Ursa Minor. Diana, in Faustini’s version, finally admits to loving Endymion; they remain devoted to each other, but their relationship remains unconsummated.
Marlis Petersen, Tom Randle, Victor Torres, Pietro Spagnoli, Magnus Staveland, Sunhae Im, Arttu Kataja, Alexandrina Pendatchanska, Nigel Lowery, Amir Hosseinpour Freiburger Barockorchester René Jacobs In the Summer of 2009, the British director Nigel Lowery and the Iranian choreographer Amir Hosseinpour brought to the stage of the Berlin State Opera “Unter den Linden”, with colour and full of humour, the fantastic and imaginative adventures of “Racing Roland”. On the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the death of Joseph Haydn, the composer’s most renowned opera during his lifetime,“Orlando Paladino”, was performed, a heroic-comical stage piece based on Ariost’s famous “Versepos”. Singers such as Marlis Petersen (Angelica), Tom Randle (Orlando), Alexandrina Pendatchanska (Alcina), Pietro Spagnoli (Rodomonte), Sunhae Im (Eurilla) and Victor Torres (Pasquale) performed under the musical direction of period-music specialist René Jacobs. The Freiburg Baroque Orchestra completed this high-class production giving the music a beautiful sound and lively swing.
If there is one thing that marks out René Jacobs’s approach to Mozart, it is the way he constantly asks himself questions – and the specifically musical brilliance of the answers he comes up with. The success of his recent version of La clemenza di Tito is proof of that! After Così fan tutte and Le nozze di Figaro, his recording of this centrepiece of the Mozart/Da Ponte trilogy offers us the latest fruits of his reflections on Classical opera. Premiered at the 2006 Innsbruck Festival and recorded shortly afterwards, this production is nourished by his thoughts on Don Giovanni as taboo-breaker and on a ‘physiology of roles’ that respects Mozart’s intentions as nearly as possible. NB This set contains the arias of both versions created by Mozart (Prague 1787, Vienna 1788)