Coming after recent exposure to Pierre Audi’s puerile attempts to stage Gluck, this is akin to arriving in the Elysian Fields, being a beautifully staged Baroque production by Gustavo Tambascio of a splendid opera by Leonardo Vinci. Partenope, or Rosmira fedele to give the opera its correct name, was first given at San Giovanni Grisostomo in Venice in 1725. It was the Neapolitan composer’s second opera in quick succession for Venice, following the success of his Ifigenia in Tauride some months earlier. Working hurriedly, Vinci not only drew on the recitatives used in the 1722 setting of Silvio Stampiglia’s libretto Partenope by another Neapolitan composer, Domenico Sarro (1679-1744), but also reused some of his own arias from earlier operas. Surprisingly, despite such an ad hoc assemblage, the opera works admirably on the stage… This review has also been published in Early Music Review.
The world premiere recording of an opera by a Neapolitan master who is fast gaining an exceptional modern reputation. Setting a libretto by Metastasio, Leonardo Vinci's opera was unveiled in Rome in 1728 with an all-male cast (women having been banned from the stage by the Pope). Max Emanuel Cencic gathers around him a superb cast led by Riccardo Minaci.
Shortlisted for the prestigious Gramophone Awards in 2013, the CD version of Vinci's Artaserse was described by Gramophone as a "sensational landmark recording;" International Record Review judged it "an outstanding performance and the most important Baroque opera discovery of the year so far," with the reviewer adding: "I can't recommend it highly enough, especially if you like countertenors," while The Guardian said, "The singing is epoch-making." When, in late 2012, the opera was staged at the Opéra National de Lorraine in Nancy in an extravagant, Baroque-inspired production by Silviu Purcãrete, the response was no less enthusiastic. By amazon
This recording of Artaserse by Leonardo Vinci (1690-1730) – born in Naples and, during his short life, celebrated as one of Italy’s leading composers of opera – represents the fourth Virgin Classics collaboration between countertenor Max Emanuel Cencic and conductor Diego Fasolis. It follows an album of Handel arias, Handel’s opera Faramondo and, in 2011, Vivaldi’s opera Farnace – “The performance fairly crackles, with accomplished singing by the flamboyant countertenor Max Emanuel Cencic in the virtuoso title role,” said the Telegraph in the UK…(Forum Opéra, France.)