The Fondazione Pergolesi Spontini, which has been devoting itself to the research and performance of Pergolesi‘s music for years now, had his operas recorded live at the annual Music Festival in Jesi. Released on this BD are two productions from Jesi of one almost forgotten opera, Il prigionier superbo, and one of Pergolesi’s most popular works, La serva padrona, combined like they were at the original premiere.
Pergolesi’s first opera “La Salustia” is filled with emotions and dramatic elements. It portrays the battle of two women, their struggle for power and justice. Further, it is the story of failing deceitful plots and mistrust. Young French director Juliette Deschamps, known for various opera productions in Jesi, made the old story come alive on a stage that suggests an ancient palace with large windows, later on the coliseum. The cast features well-loved Pergolesi interpreters such as Serena Malfi, Laura Polverelli or Vittorio Prato. The Accademia Barocca de I Musici Italiani, well-known for productions in historic performance practice, are led by Corrado Rovaris.
Il Prigionier Superbo is a three-act opera seria with six characters — two kings, two princes, two princesses. La Serva Padrona is a two-part comic intermezzo with two singing characters — master and servant. It was performed between Prigionier's acts when they bowed in 1733, as Naples theaters reopened after earthquake-forced closure. Prigionier vanished from the stage, but Serva Padrona grew popular, helped establish opera buffaand helped start a pamphlet war between Italian and French opera supporters in Paris… MARK MANDEL
The Stabat Mater is a 13th-century Catholic hymn to Mary, which portrays her suffering as Jesus Christ's mother during his crucifixion. Its author may be either the Franciscan friar Jacopone da Todi or Pope Innocent III. The title comes from its first line, Stabat Mater dolorosa, which means "the sorrowful mother was standing". The hymn is sung at the liturgy on the memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows. The Stabat Mater has been set to music by many Western composers.
This anthology of devotional music from 18th-century Venice and Naples offers an interesting and varied programme. Best known is Pergolesi’s Stabat mater, but the settings by Domenico Scarlatti and Bononcini stand well in comparison. The motets by Lotti, Caldara and Alessandro Scarlatti are real discoveries; Norrington’s performances of the latter are particularly fine. Guest’s Pergolesi suffers from a focus of sound which makes the interpretation seem somewhat generalised. However, all these performances give pleasure, while the music is melodically fresh and rhythmically vital.-Terry Barfoot
A classic work of its genre and historical period, Artaserse was premièred in Venice in 1730 by the most famous singers of the day: Farinelli in the role of Arbace, Cuzzoni as Mandane and the castrato Nicolino as Artabano. Following its initial success, Hasse produced two different versions of the work, the first in 1740 and the second in 1760. This world première recording is based on the original Venice version. The exceptional cast features countertenor Franco Fagioli in the role originally taken by Farinelli, his stunning technique making light of the 3-octave range with uniform timbre, remarkable power and striking resonance. Equally memorable is the aria “Pallido sole” sung by Sonia Prina.
Once known for his stately grand operas Gaspare Spontini posthumously surprised posterity with a light-hearted “commedia per musica” that was found at an antiquarian book dealer in England in 2006 and performed for the first time since 1800 at the Festival Pergolesi e Spontini in Jesi, Italy. With its motoric ensembles, intensifying rhythmic repetitions, and imaginative play with word fragments, La fuga in maschera anticipates Rossini at his best. Known for their historically informed performances, I Virtuosi Italiani is considered as “one of the most dynamic and able-bodied ensembles in the international musical world” (Milano Finanza).
“What a pleasure to listen to Demetrio e Polibio”, wrote major Italian daily “La Stampa” after the premiere of Rossini‘s very first opera at the 2010 Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro, attributing it “an undeniable fascination“. The work was given its first performance in Rome in 1812. It is still unclear whether Rossini was 14 or 18 when he wrote it; what is beyond doubt, however, is the anticipation of great things to come…Making Of Demetrio e Polibio
A rare recording of Pergolesi’s second opera, a comic and colourful tale of tangled love in which three girls resist their arranged marriages in pursuit of the same young man. Rediscovered by conductor Riccardo Muti, this forgotten jewel sparkles in its 1989 period production..
“What a pleasure to listen to Demetrio e Polibio”, wrote major Italian daily La Stampa after the premiere of Rossini‘s very first opera at the 2010 Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro, attributing it „an undeniable fascination“. The work was given its first performance in Rome in 1812. It is still unclear whether Rossini was 14 or 18 when he wrote it; what is beyond doubt, however, is the anticipation of great things to come.