Arias for Senesino

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - EJ Johnson
Senesino was one of the most famous opera singers of the 18th century, an Italian castrato who commanded just as much rock-star celebrity in his day as his contemporary Farinelli. Owing to a 1994 feature film and a more recent CD from the soprano Vivica Genaux called Arias for Farinelli, Senesino is a less familiar figure nowadays than his rival, although countertenor Andreas Scholl may have something to say about that. Scholl's disc, with a title reflecting Genaux's, collects opera arias written for Senesino by a handful of prominent composers of his era, offering music that runs the expressive gamut from grief to love to revenge. The bulk of the program comprises Handel...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - EJ Johnson
Senesino was one of the most famous opera singers of the 18th century, an Italian castrato who commanded just as much rock-star celebrity in his day as his contemporary Farinelli. Owing to a 1994 feature film and a more recent CD from the soprano Vivica Genaux called Arias for Farinelli, Senesino is a less familiar figure nowadays than his rival, although countertenor Andreas Scholl may have something to say about that. Scholl's disc, with a title reflecting Genaux's, collects opera arias written for Senesino by a handful of prominent composers of his era, offering music that runs the expressive gamut from grief to love to revenge. The bulk of the program comprises Handel arias from operas of the 1720s, a period when Senesino was resident in London and working closely with the composer in productions for the recently formed Academy of Music. Selections from Handel's younger Italian contemporaries -- Albinoni, Lotti, and Alessandro Scarlatti, as well as the slightly older Porpora -- fill out the balance of the disc. Scholl, one of the finest countertenors recording nowadays, is in absolutely tip-top form here, attacking lyrical numbers like Handel's "Dove sei, amato bene," a touching lament for an absent lover, with the same expressive intensity and gorgeous tone that he devotes to such stunning virtuosic displays as Albinoni's "Stelle ingrate." Best of all is his tender rendition of Handel's "Cara sposa" from Rinaldo, an opera that was revived in 1731 when Senesino returned to London after an extended hiatus. Ottavio Dantone and the Accademia Bizantina offer crisp and elegant period-instrument accompaniment, filled out with rustic horns in Scarlatti's charming pastoral paean "Del ciel sui giri."
All Music Guide - James Manheim
Countertenor Andreas Scholl's Arias for Senesino collects operatic arias of the early eighteenth century, written for the castrato Senesino, whose real name was Francesco Bernardi. This focus on the music associated with a single individual has several benefits: it places the listener in the position of an opera goer of Senesino's time, awaiting the next appearance of a performer who can justifiably be called a star, and it illuminates the ways composers tailored music to a particular singer. Composers represented include Handel, who recruited Senesino to sing at London's Royal Academy of Music; Handel's arias are the largest single group, and for Senesino he created lengthy, leisurely arias that allowed the castrato to put his much-chronicled dramatic skills to work. "Cara sposa," from "Rinaldo" 1711 is an eight-minute example. Arias by such composers as Albinoni, Alessandro Scarlatti, Antonio Lotti, and Nicola Porpora are also included. These are alto castrato arias, touching on such themes as melancholy, prayer, pastoral love, and fears of impending doom. The material is ideally suited to Scholl's voice, which is creamy, expressive, precisely on pitch, and altogether endearing. He fares less well on the disc's few loud, athletic arias of anger and revenge, but for anyone who enjoys the sound of a countertenor -- a male voice singing in traditionally female ranges -- this is a fine collection from one of the world's top practitioners of the art.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/11/2005
  • Label: Decca
  • UPC: 028947565697
  • Catalog Number: 000530002
  • Sales rank: 84,235

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Flavio, Rè di Longobardi, opera, HWV 16: Bel contento già gode quest'alma - George Frideric Handel & Andrew Cornall (5:56)
  2. 2 Rodelinda, regina de' Langobardi, opera, HWV 19: Pompe vane di morte!... - George Frideric Handel & Kenneth Chalmers (2:13)
  3. 3 Rodelinda, regina de' Langobardi, opera, HWV 19: Dove sei, amato bene? - George Frideric Handel & Andrew Cornall (5:01)
  4. 4 Astarto, dramma per musica (opera) in 3 acts (incomplete): Stelle ingrate - Tomaso Albinoni & Andrew Cornall (3:19)
  5. 5 Engelberta, opera in 5 acts (Acts 4-5 composed by Francesco Gasparini): Selvagge amenità - Tomaso Albinoni & Andrew Cornall (3:52)
  6. 6 Teofane, opera: Discordi pensieri - Benedetto Pallavicino & Antonio Lotti (6:55)
  7. 7 Carlo re d'Allemagna, opera (with intermezzo "Paladrana e Zamberlucco"): Del ciel sui giri - Alessandro Scarlatti & Andrew Cornall (5:09)
  8. 8 Gli odi delusi dal sangue, opera: Fosti caro agl'occhi miei - Antonio Lotti & Andrew Cornall (5:14)
  9. 9 Giulio Cesare in Egitto, opera, HWV 17: Dall'ondoso periglio... - George Frideric Handel & Andrew Cornall (1:42)
  10. 10 Giulio Cesare in Egitto, opera, HWV 17: Aure, deh, per pietà - George Frideric Handel & Andrew Cornall (5:35)
  11. 11 Giulio Cesare in Egitto, opera, HWV 17: Al lampo dell'armi - George Frideric Handel & Andrew Cornall (2:57)
  12. 12 Rinaldo, opera, HWV 7: Cara sposa - George Frideric Handel & Kenneth Chalmers (9:26)
  13. 13 Il trionfo di Camilla, opera: Ver per le vene il sangue - Nicola Porpora & Andrew Cornall (8:06)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Andreas Scholl Primary Artist
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