Not essential Biber
scott | Calgary, Canada | 12/14/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"As a fan of Biber's instrumental and church music I was intrigued by this recording, and bought it expecting something interesting. Most baroque operas have their good moments, but there are often a number of trite or rather pedestrian arias to wade through. As Biber is a very original composer whose music often contains novel twists, I hoped Arminio would be a more engaging opera musically speaking.
Unfortunately, I was wrong. There is none of the usual energy or quirkiness that appears in Biber's other music (especially the works for violin). Most of the arias are set for voice with continuo only, and most are very average sounding. The plot is the usual sort of fare, with unrequited love, jealous rivals, and mistaken identities, but I cannot recall any particulars.
The performers are all very good, but the score they had to work with is not very inspired, and there is only so much these fine musicians could do with bland music. If you are a fan of baroque opera, this may appeal to you, but for anyone hoping to find Biber's usual originality here, you may be disappointed.
An interesting work from this Master
Steven Guy | Croydon, South Australia | 02/02/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Perhaps one of the few surviving operas by Biber? Perhaps others have been discovered since this one came to light? I am not sure.
However, lovers of the music of Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber may find this opera rather interesting. It features quite a colourful score and some fine orchestral writing. Of course, Biber always seems to love his strings and brass, and this score features a trumpet choir, a sackbut and strings. A recorder consort is also featured.
The soloists are good, many will be familiar with the Early Music stalwarts, Gerd Türk, Bernhard Landauer and Barbara Schlick, but most of the singers were new to me. The two countertenors are good.
The opera isn't a "great opera" as such, however, it does contain some great music. Some of the arias are worthy of Alessandro Scarlatti or Alessandro Stradella.
This recording was made in 1994 and it is a very high quality recording. CPO is to be congratulated for making this recording available to us.
However, I wonder if Arminio would benefit from the advent of DVD? Would this opera be better seen, as well as heard?
I hope another ensemble (perhaps Les Arts Florissants?) eventually records this opera for CD and, hopefully, DVD.
In the meantime, this recording is a fine account of this unique opera."