This is a great set. The main competition to this production comes from Gardiner, with Anthony Rolfe Johnson as Orfeo. His is a superbly attractive voice, and he remains the best Orfeo I've heard. But Victor Torres is excellent too and his performance is very distinctive and rich in character. What's more, he is better recorded, as is the whole of Garrido's interpretation…”
It is a subtly heard chamber play of soft, subtle tones, meticulous nuances, richly shaded colors that Gabriel Garrido gently unfolds with the original sound ensemble Elyma and a carefully coordinated soloist team. As in the recordings of the two Monteverdi operas L'Orfeo and Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria, here too the accuracy and sensibility of making music, which strictly avoids any exaggeration and any extra-musical activity, only aims to make this precious music flourish To bring lights. The singers renounce any self-conceited vanity, as they are often experienced when the figure of Arnalta is distorted about the joker or the monologues of Seneca as a pretext for powerful bass tones. It is difficult to single out the equally high-pitched vocal ensemble, but Guillemette Laurens's (Poppea) balanced, sonorous soprano and Gloria Banditelli's (round, smooth) mezzo deserve special emphasis.– Kurt Malisch
This is one of the best of the contemporary recordings of the Vespers, with an 'Italian' sound which is far more appropriate to the music than its 'Northern' competitors. It captures some of the ecstatic quality of the music, but is no match for the old Corboz Erato recording (reissued on CD and perhaps still available) with Tappy and Cuenod, which, in spite of its faults, is in a league of its own in this music.
Monteverdi was seventy-one when he published his Eighth Book of madrigals. This collection, a monumental work of remarkable beauty, is a synthesis of all Monteverdi's experience in the realm of secular music. It is the culmination of a genre, the Italian madrigal, which here achieves a rare state of perfection. INDISPENSABLE!
This innovative program pairing the seemingly antithetical compositions of Claudio Monteverdi and Astor Piazzolla was first featured at the Ambronay Festival in 2009 and was greeted with nearly universal acclaim. The brainchild of Argentine conductor Leonardo Garcia Alarcon and his ensemble Cappella Mediterranea, this unusual collection highlights the surprising connections and musical synergies present in works that are separated by centuries of time and thousands of miles.
This fiery performance of L'incoronazione di Poppea (referred to here as Il Nerone, the title used in Busenello's libretto) is driven by the resonant honesty of the characters' extreme and frequently volatile emotional states, which the soloists convey with singing of exceptional individuality, purity, and tonal beauty.
When the historic Theatre du Chatelet in Paris re-opened after a period of extensive refurbishment, the first two productions mounted in the theatre were Gluck’s Alceste and Orphée et Eurydice.
Both operas were sung in their French versions and were mounted and designed by Robert Wilson and conducted by John Eliot Gardiner. This was the first time Wilson and Gardiner had collaborated and their individual credentials combined to produce an exceptional result.
Rebelling against the increasingly formulaic operas of the time, Christoph Willibald Gluck's "reformist" opera Alceste (1767) was a successful attempt to return to a purer form of musical drama. It is highly appropriate that this 1999 production of the revised 1776 Paris version should be conducted by Sir John Eliot Gardiner, with the English Baroque Soloists and Monteverdi Choir, the same forces responsible for many fine Bach performances equally emphasizing character and text. In setting the tragic story of the profound love between Queen Alceste and her husband King Admète, Gluck provided a score of austere, rending beauty.