A fascinating musical discovery
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It is always a rewarding experience to discover new music by composers who are not well known today. This CD triumphs in bringing the music of José de Nebra to the general public. Maria Bayo and Al Ayre Espanol, conducted by Eduardo Lopez Banzo, bring commited performances to arias from zarzuelas by Nebra as well the Sinfonia Op.12 La Casa del Diavolo by Luigi Bocherini. All the music is first rate, showing the influence of the Italian opera seria as well as charming touches of Spanish flavor. The repertoire on this recording has pieces as serious and operatic as 'Hados crueles...El bajel que no recela' as well as spirited seguidillas. Bayo uses her very pretty light soprano with great effect. There is no florid passage that scares her, and she ornaments the line tastefully. More impressive is the intensity of her expression and how she is able to convey the feelings of the text, this is not a singer who is only concerned with producing a beautiful sound. Bayo's intensity is closely matched by the orchestra, who guided by Lopez Banzo becomes an active collaborator, shining also in the Bocherini piece. The excellent performance is complemented by an excellent booklet with fine articles and pictures, as well as an extra DVD that has a twenty minute documentary with performances of some of the arias at the Teatro Real de Madrid. It will be great if Bayo and Al Ayre Espanol continue exploring this repertoire, perhaps with complete recordings of these zarzuelas."