- Elena, opera: Sinfonia
- Squarciato appena havea, for voice & orchestra
- Elena, opera: Instrumental
- Elena, opera: Instrumental
Mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter is an artist who continues to amaze with the undiminished luster and beauty of her voice, the depth and daring of her interpretation, and her commitment to exploring unfamiliar repertoire. Sogno Barocco is a recital of Italian songs, scenas, and operatic solos and duets drawn from the early to middle Baroque era. It's a mix of familiar pieces like Monteverdi's solo madrigal "Si dolce è'l tormento," and "Pur ti miro" from "L'incoronazione di Poppea" and some real rarities (not to say oddities) such as Luigi Rossi's eccentric, starkly dramatic "Lamento della regina di suezia," and Francesco Provenzale's even stranger, highly entertaining parody of it, "Squarciato appena havea." Von Otter brings a lifetime of experience and probing intelligence to this intensely expressive repertoire, yet her voice is youthfully fresh and radiant, making for performances of unusual depth and vocal loveliness. Her dramatic sensibility in these pieces, many of which are laments, is focused and subtle (except in the over-the-top comedy of the Provenzale, in which she cuts loose with abandon). Soprano Sandrine Piau joins her in three duets and their voices blend beautifully, especially in sensuality of "Pur ti miro" and the intimate urgency of "Signor, hoggi rinasco," also from "Poppea." Leonardo García Alarcón demonstrates exceptional insight into the music of the early and middle Baroque and further cements his reputation as one of the brightest stars in this repertoire to emerge in the second decade of the 21st century. He and Cappella Mediterranea opt for a spare, lean approach to the realization of the accompaniment, and while it is not the only possible interpretation, it works wonderfully well. It is understated but always inventive, and the ensemble is varied and colorful. Naïve's sound is characteristically immaculate, detailed, and realistic, with plenty of warmth. Highly recommended for fans of vocal music of the Baroque.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter presents a collection of Baroque dreams from the composers of Seventeenth Century Italian opera. Supported by soprano Sandrine Piau and contralto Susanna Sundberg, plus the Mediterranean Cappella Ensemble under the direction of Leonardo García Alarcón, Ms.von Otter showcases the lyric progression via operatic works of Monteverdi, Cavalli, Provenzale, and Luigi Rossi. This French production of early 2012 elicits works of these composers to illustrate the fine qualities of solo work, ensemble coordination, and variation in compositional style. The CD is packaged with very thorough booklet comments in French, English, and German. In contrast to many booklets of this kind, the print is large enough to read, to the grateful relief of the curious audience. While the English translations might benefit from a bit of polishing, the explanations bring valuable education to the listener sans knowledge of Italian opera development. Attractive candid photos and written contributions by Ms.von Otter and Mr. Alarcón provide welcome background for understanding and appreciation of this lesson in Italian opera development. Hearing these artists brings renewed awareness of beautiful voices in the circle of renowned names and personalities in the opera world. These Baroque songs would further enrich a collection of opera favorites and appreciation of the history of opera. If you miss Ms. von Otter’s concerts in Europe and Scandinavia during the fall of 2012, be sure to find a ticket during early 2013 on the U.S. east coast.