Monteverdi: Combattimento

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - EJ Johnson
On this gutsy recording, Rolando Villazón -- one of today's top opera stars -- reaches back to the early Baroque to perform music that's usually terra incognita for tenors. If the match seems puzzling to you, fear not, for it turns out to be both a triumph and a revelation. In hindsight, it makes perfect sense that Villazón -- noted for the passion and flair he brings to 19th-century Italian and French opera -- should be so effective in Monteverdi's most action-packed composition. The early-17th-century Combattimento, a setting of a bloody passage from Tasso's Gerusalemme Liberata, ushered in Monteverdi's self-styled stile concitato -- an agitated style of rapidly ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - EJ Johnson
On this gutsy recording, Rolando Villazón -- one of today's top opera stars -- reaches back to the early Baroque to perform music that's usually terra incognita for tenors. If the match seems puzzling to you, fear not, for it turns out to be both a triumph and a revelation. In hindsight, it makes perfect sense that Villazón -- noted for the passion and flair he brings to 19th-century Italian and French opera -- should be so effective in Monteverdi's most action-packed composition. The early-17th-century Combattimento, a setting of a bloody passage from Tasso's Gerusalemme Liberata, ushered in Monteverdi's self-styled stile concitato -- an agitated style of rapidly repeated notes that never quite caught on but was nevertheless successful at conveying dramatic tension. Villazón, taking the dominant part of the narrator to Topi Lehtipuu's Tancredi and Patrizia Ciofi's Clorinda, brings plenty of Puccini-like intensity to these sections while also delivering clarion top notes that will make bel canto fans' hearts skip a beat. In the process, Monteverdi's music springs from the score, fresh and piercingly dramatic. The balance of the disc is filled with a dozen shorter pieces for one or two voices with accompaniment, with the Finnish tenor Lehtipuu nicely matched with the Mexican Villazón in their duets, while the Italian soprano Ciofi adopts a more mannered style in her selections. Director Emmanuelle Haïm and Le Concert d'Astrée offer characteristically imaginative instrumental support, doing their part to serve up the most eye-opening early music disc in recent memory.
All Music Guide - James Manheim
Maybe you've wondered about whether this could work. What happens if you drop modern operatic stars into early music? Specifically, into early music as performed by a group with such an unerring way of making seventeenth century music come alive as Le Concert d'Astrée and its conductor, Emmanuelle Haïm? Would the forces clash? Would the style clash with the music, as sometimes happens when early music ensembles play Mozart or Beethoven?

Not here! The performance by opera-star-of-the-moment Rolando Villazón in Monteverdi's great battle cantata of sex and death and religion (he hits all the great themes in this one), "Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda" is not idiomatic. He finds his way around some of the thornier problems in singing Monteverdi, such as the rapid repeated notes with which the composer emphasizes certain rhetorical ideas. He is, however, extraordinarily moving. "Il combattimento" is recounted primarily in the voice of a Testo or narrator, sung and fully inhabited by Villazón. He creates an impressive range of perspectives in his singing, from Olympian detachment, to the excitement of blood-and-guts combat ("Now they resume their swords, and each the other bathes in streams of blood"), to haunting hand-offs to the voices of the principal combatants (soprano Patrizia Ciofi and tenor Topi Lehtipuu). Given that Villazón had never recorded repertory of this sort before, his accomplishment is remarkable. What can go wrong is illustrated by some of the smaller Monteverdi songs that fill out the disc, in which Ciofi's operatic mannerisms sometimes distract. But the overall effect in "Il combattimento" is, indeed, of a Verdi hero materializing in Monteverdi -- and what's really fabulous is that he fits. This is a breakthrough recording in the field of historical performance, and one that's going to attract many lovers of Romantic-era vocal music to Monteverdi's riches.
All Music Guide - James Manheim
Maybe you've wondered about whether this could work. What happens if you drop modern operatic stars into early music? Specifically, into early music as performed by a group with such an unerring way of making seventeenth century music come alive as Le Concert d'Astrée and its conductor, Emmanuelle Haïm? Would the forces clash? Would the style clash with the music, as sometimes happens when early music ensembles play Mozart or Beethoven? Not here! The performance by opera-star-of-the-moment Rolando Villazón in Monteverdi's great battle cantata of sex and death and religion he hits all the great themes in this one, "Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda" is not idiomatic. He finds his way around some of the thornier problems in singing Monteverdi, such as the rapid repeated notes with which the composer emphasizes certain rhetorical ideas. He is, however, extraordinarily moving. "Il combattimento" is recounted primarily in the voice of a Testo or narrator, sung and fully inhabited by Villazón. He creates an impressive range of perspectives in his singing, from Olympian detachment, to the excitement of blood-and-guts combat "Now they resume their swords, and each the other bathes in streams of blood", to haunting hand-offs to the voices of the principal combatants soprano Patrizia Ciofi and tenor Topi Lehtipuu. Given that Villazón had never recorded repertory of this sort before, his accomplishment is remarkable. What can go wrong is illustrated by some of the smaller Monteverdi songs that fill out the disc, in which Ciofi's operatic mannerisms sometimes distract. But the overall effect in "Il combattimento" is, indeed, of a Verdi hero materializing in Monteverdi -- and what's really fabulous is that he fits. This is a breakthrough recording in the field of historical performance, and one that's going to attract many lovers of Romantic-era vocal music to Monteverdi's riches.
New York Times - Anthony Tommasini
Mr. Villazón brings operatic ardor to his singing, which seems exactly right. Yet when understatement is called for, he shapes phrases with tender elegance.
Gramophone - Richard Lawrence
Quite outstanding.... Celebrated in Verdi and Massenet, [Villazón] brings a heroic vigour to the "agitated" passages.
Time Out New York - Marion Lignana Rosenberg
Superb.... [Villazón's] grave, moody tones wrap around Monteverdi's music with voluptuous grace.... Bewitching.
San Francisco Chronicle - Steven Winn
First-rate vocalists.... Romantic, dramatically gripping.
Dallas Morning News - Lawson Taitte
[Grade: A] You just haven't heard Monteverdi until you've heard the young Mexican star, possessor of the most gorgeous tenor voice on the planet.... If you've never ventured this far back into musical history, this is a great place to start.
The Guardian - Andrew Clements
Villazón...launches into Monteverdi's achingly expressive tenor writing as though it were Puccini.... The results are ravishing.

Maybe you've wondered about whether this could work. What happens if you drop modern operatic stars into early music? Specifically, into early music as performed by a group with such an unerring way of making seventeenth century music come alive as Le Concert d'Astrée and its conductor, Emmanuelle Haïm? Would the forces clash? Would the style clash with the music, as sometimes happens when early music ensembles play Mozart or Beethoven? Not here! The performance by opera-star-of-the-moment Rolando Villazón in Monteverdi's great battle cantata of sex and death and religion he hits all the great themes in this one, "Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda" is not idiomatic. He finds his way around some of the thornier problems in singing Monteverdi, such as the rapid repeated notes with which the composer emphasizes certain rhetorical ideas. He is, however, extraordinarily moving. "Il combattimento" is recounted primarily in the voice of a Testo or narrator, sung and fully inhabited by Villazón. He creates an impressive range of perspectives in his singing, from Olympian detachment, to the excitement of blood-and-guts combat "Now they resume their swords, and each the other bathes in streams of blood", to haunting hand-offs to the voices of the principal combatants soprano Patrizia Ciofi and tenor Topi Lehtipuu. Given that Villazón had never recorded repertory of this sort before, his accomplishment is remarkable. What can go wrong is illustrated by some of the smaller Monteverdi songs that fill out the disc, in which Ciofi's operatic mannerisms sometimes distract. But the overall effect in "Il combattimento" is, indeed, of a Verdi hero materializing in Monteverdi -- and what's really fabulous is that he fits. This is a breakthrough recording in the field of historical performance, and one that's going to attract many lovers of Romantic-era vocal music to Monteverdi's riches.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/16/2007
  • Label: Erato
  • UPC: 094636335025
  • Catalog Number: 63350
  • Sales rank: 111,845

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda, dramatic cantata (from Book 8), SV 153 - Avril Bardoni & Claudio Monteverdi (17:53)
  2. 2 Interrotte speranze, madrigal for 2 voices (from Book 7), SV 132 - Alan Curtis & Claudio Monteverdi (2:41)
  3. 3 Ecco di dolci raggi, madrigal for tenor (from Scherzi musicali), SV 249/1 - Avril Bardoni & Claudio Monteverdi (2:15)
  4. 4 Si dolce è'l tormento, madrigal for solo voice, SV 332 - Avril Bardoni & Claudio Monteverdi (7:33)
  5. 5 Ohimè ch'io cado, ohimè ch'inciampo, madrigal, SV 316 - Avril Bardoni & Claudio Monteverdi (4:23)
  6. 6 Perchè se m'odiavi, madrigal for 2 tenors & bass (from Book 9), SV 175 - Avril Bardoni & Claudio Monteverdi (4:19)
  7. 7 Et è pur dunque vero, madrigal for soprano (from Scherzi musicali), SV 250 - Avril Bardoni & Claudio Monteverdi (6:08)
  8. 8 Quel sguardo sdegnosetto, madrigal for soprano (from Scherzi musicali), SV 247/1 - Avril Bardoni & Claudio Monteverdi (2:44)
  9. 9 Maledetto sia l'aspetto, madrigal for soprano (from Scherzi musicali), SV 246 - Avril Bardoni & Claudio Monteverdi (1:21)
  10. 10 Più lieto il guardo, aria for soprano, SV 321 - Avril Bardoni & Claudio Monteverdi (5:07)
  11. 11 Tempro la cetra, madrigal for tenor & strings (from Book 7), SV 117 - Avril Bardoni & Claudio Monteverdi (7:21)
  12. 12 Tornate, o cari bac, madrigal for 2 voices (from Book 7), SV 129 - Avril Bardoni & Claudio Monteverdi (2:42)
  13. 13 Eri già tutta mia, madrigal for soprano (from Scherzi musicali), SV 248 - Avril Bardoni & Claudio Monteverdi (2:54)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Rolando Villazón Primary Artist
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