This nymph is one spit fire singing dragon
Dennis Figueroa | Orange County, CA | 03/07/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This is Spinosi's best directorial work, and one where high artistic risks have yielded maximum results. His choice of singers is stellar in terms of talent and name recognition. His interpretation of Vivaldi is a crowd pleaser for instrumental vibrancy, and excitement. This album marks not just Spinosi's indulgent approach to Vivaldi, but an evolution in how Naive is interpreting the composer. At last, musicians are taking a quantum leap to free Vivaldi from 2oth Century conventions and limitations. Spinosis's orchestral accompaniment strikes a perfect balance of resounding presence and exalting the vocals. He is bold, and puts the orchestra in the forefront to paint a clear portrait of the music. He proves that no longer baroque opera requires orchestration subservient to singing by fading in the background.
La Fida Ninfa is a story of nymphs, gods, shepherds, and pirates, and a libretto quite ambitious to put them together in a tale puzzling to decipher. But never mind the complex plot, Vivaldi wrote very fabulous music to make sense out of it all ! As an opera, La Fida Ninfa is melodically very homogeneous, so much so that some arias have similar under-construction with different treatments in tempo. This provides some insight into Vivaldi's genius, and his inspiration to spin a simple tune in so many different directions. Similarities notwithstanding, these arias stand out, and set themselves apart from each other for their unique refinement in mood, rhythm and technical challenge. This is the case for Alma Oppressa, Destin Avaro, and Deh Ti Piega.
Sandrine Piau is, well, awesome and seems to ever be pushing her own limits in every new album. She sings Alma Oppressa with brio. Her breath control is death-defying and just as her melismas run an inhuman length, she punctuates them splendidly with very high-pitched vocal pirouettes. As Licori, this nymph turns into a spit fire singing dragon. Piau transforms this otherwise beautiful aria into an exhillarating concerto for voice. Her coloratura is fiery, rapid, continuous, and extraordinary in speed, power and endurance. Her phrasing never skips a beat. Her ornamentations are risky, unexpected, brave, beautiful, and triumphant.
A true revelation is Topi Lehtipuu in his rendition of Deh Ti Piega. His voice is rich, clean, and charged. His performance is reminiscent of Lorenzo Regazzo's Gelido in Ogni Vena from Il Farnace.
As for the rest of the cast, every one pulls his own weight. Veronica Cangemi just seems to take every opportunity at honing her talent. First in Orlando Furioso, then in La Griselda, and now here. Jaroussky, surprisingly, offers nothing new. Though his voice is splendid and platinum by all accolates, he plays it too safe ... rendering his singing tamed ...unadventurous.
Great Vivaldi Opera
M. Rowan | 05/03/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is excellent in every respect. Singers (and that DOES include Jaroussky), orchestra, conductor and the composition itself are all exemplary. Kudos to Naive for bringing the Vivaldi operas out of the darkness. He is widely known for "The Four Seasons", of course, but his opera work product is even more impressive."