[ Pentatone SACD / 2 Hybrid SACD ]
Release Date: Friday 23 June 2017
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The Carnival of Venice in 1729 was quite unlike any other. Over a period of two months, opera houses went into a frenzy of competition to show off the most famous singers of the day, including the legendary castrato Farinelli who made his astonishing Venetian debut. Several of the most fashionable composers rose to the occasion, writing ravishing music for spectacular productions which often pitted the singers against each other in breathtaking displays of virtuosity. The results were sensational; one tour de force followed another in an atmosphere of fevered excitement and the adoring public lapped it up. The carnival opened with a star-studded cast in Leonardo Leo's tragedy Cantone in Utica from which the dazzling aria Soffre talor del vento and the more gentle Ombra adorata are taken. Farinelli triumphed in Nicolo Porpora's opera Semiramide, the perfect vehicle for his extraordinary technique. By contrast Adelaide by Giuseppe Maria Orlandini, another premiere, contains show-stopping displays for Farinelli's arch rival Faustina Bordoni. And Germiano Giacomelli's elegant opera Gianguir contains the achingly beautiful aria Mi par sentir la bella. Most of these rediscovered works are recorded here for the first time. "The excellent musicians of the fantastic period-instrument ensemble … get it all perfectly right: every tone, every phrase, coloratura and accompaniment" (Süddeutsche Zeitung). The critically acclaimed Il pomo d'oro is an Italian baroque ensemble founded in 2012 with a special focus on opera with authentic performances on period instruments. They have recorded 15 albums including the world premiere recording of Leonardo Leo's Cantone in Utica With a repertoire that includes leading roles in operas by Rossini, Mozart, Gluck, Handel, Vivaldi, Monteverdi, Purcell, Bizet and Massenet, Ann Hallenberg is a much in demand Swedish mezzo-soprano and has recorded over 40 CDs, her solo CD Agrippina winning the award for best operatic recital at the International Opera Awards in May 2016. The baroque violinist and conductor Stefano Montanari is a much sought after guest conductor with both modern and period orchestras. He is regarded as one of the finest baroque violin virtuosos of his generation. His recording of Corelli's Violin Sonatas op.5 won a Diapason d'Or and he was nominated for a Grammy Award for his recording o Purcells' O Solitude with Andreas Scholl for Decca.
Gramophone Award Nomination 2018 - Recital
"Arias from each role might as well have been tailor-made for Hallenberg's pinpoint virtuosity and lyricism, communicative use of language, idiomatic embellishment, intelligently sculpted phrasing (limpid, gentle or turbulent as the music demands) and astute theatrical characterisation" Gramophone Awards Issue - Editor's Choice Awards Issue 2017
"Her range, with astonishing evenness of tone and voluptuous colouring, extends from contralto to soprano, and her sublime artistry keeps the attention...Her technical bravura leaves one almost breathless...Hallenberg's alchemy turns this accomplished music to 24-carat gold." Sunday Times
"Hallenberg dazzles with sensational virtuosity and warm tone that is straight as a die, and Il pomo d'oro supports brilliantly." Observer
BBC Music Magazine September 2017 Disc of the month
BBC Music Magazine Award Finalist 2018 - Opera
Giuseppe Maria Orlandini: Adelaide
Gianguir: Vanne, si, di al mio diletto
Porpora: Semiramide riconosciuta
Leo: Catone in Utica
Vinci, Leonardo: L'abbandono di Armida