Search - Antonio Vivaldi, Nancy Argenta, Mark Padmore :: Vivaldi - Ottone in Villa / Argenta, Daneman, Gritton, Groop, Padmore; Hickox

Vivaldi - Ottone in Villa / Argenta, Daneman, Gritton, Groop, Padmore; Hickox
Antonio Vivaldi, Nancy Argenta, Mark Padmore
Vivaldi - Ottone in Villa / Argenta, Daneman, Gritton, Groop, Padmore; Hickox
Genre: Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (15) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (17) - Disc #2


     
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Discover unknown Vivaldi!
hcf | 02/29/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Vivaldi's operas are not well represented on disc. I'm aware of only three, one of which, L'Olympiade, is a really subpar live recording. So, to say that this recording is the best Vivaldi opera recording out there is really not to say much. What needs to be said is this: Ottone in Villa is not only the best Vivaldi opera recording currently in the catalogue, but it is a stellar recording period. First of all, the musical material is highly enjoyable, combining catchy tunes with imaginative instrumental accompaniment (you will recognize the famous Vivaldian flair in many violin passages). Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, the cast is superb. Whether or not the opera itself is a veritable baroque masterpiece, the singers certainly make is sound like it is! The structure of the opera is simple: da capo - secco - da capo, no duets or ensembles, except for the 54-second final "chorus" in which all five singers sing a total of four lines in unison. But the result is far from boring (although, if you're new to baroque opera you may want to start with something like Handel Giulio Cesare or Rodelinda). Within the limits of the form, all five singers exhibit a remarkable range of expression. Monica Groop is perfectly at ease in the "pants" role of a naive king who is kept in the dark by his scheming mistress. The mistress is played by Susan Gritton who adds a mischievous sparkle to her sweet soprano voice. Nancy Argenta fills another "pants" role, presenting a somewhat confused character of Caio who keeps vying for the wrong girl but ultimately ends up with the right one. Sophie Daneman's seraphically pure voice is perfect for the character of Tullia who spends most of the opera pretending to be a man. The sole voice of reason in this madhouse is Ottone's confidant Decio played with gusto by Mark Padmore, but even Decio ends up being fooled. You can tell that the story was intended to be droll, but it is droll to a modern listener not because of a captivating plot but despite it. This is a stunning example of how an exciting cast of singers can turn almost anything into an exciting listening experience. gkolomietz@yahoo.com"