- La verità in cimento, opera in 3 acts, RV 739: Vinta a piè d'un dolce affetto (b)
With its 2010 album Arie per tenore, Naïve offers the 47th installment in its gargantuan Vivaldi Project, Tesori del Piemonte. Like most of the vocal recitals in the series, it is heavily weighted with virtuosic arias. The tenor voice was often sidelined in early 18th century Italian opera in favor of the flasher and more agile castrati, but Vivaldi championed some of the most talented Venetian tenors of his time and created roles for them that were hardly less demanding than what he wrote for castrati and women's voices. Finnish tenor Topi Lehtipuu has a substantial voice, virile and heroic, with full, colorful tone. He's also a fine actor, and the variety of roles represented here are wonderfully differentiated. His is not naturally a coloratura voice, so the more virtuosic music with very fast passagework doesn't always fall as easily for him as for some of the women and countertenors featured in this series. His negotiation of the composer's extreme requirements does not always sound effortless, so the most demanding pieces don't create quite the sense of astonishment of singers who seem to be tossing the music off easily and spontaneously. The skill and finesse with which he does pull it off, though, is mightily impressive, and there are probably few tenors around with a voice the size of his who could manage these arias as effectively as he does. Especially engaging are the more lyrical arias like the lovely, delicately scored "Cessa tiranno amor" from "L'Incoronazione di Dario." "Alle minacce di fiera belva" from "Farnace," which prominently features two natural horns, is, quite literally, a blast, comically bombastic and wildly exhilarating. Diego Fasolis elicits performances with a marvelously vibrant energy and inventiveness from the orchestra I Barocchisti and Coro della Radiotelevisione Svizzera. Naïve's sound is characteristically clean, warm, and natural, with an excellent sense of presence.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Topi Lehtipuu. Remember that name as he is such a fine tenor that he is destined to be a very important figure on both opera and concert stages very soon. Though he is Finnish he was born in Australia then studied in Finland (Sibelius Academy in Helsinki) and now when not performing apparently makes his home in Paris. He is an imposingly handsome figure on the stage and owns a big supple tenor voice that is pure gold throughout his range. He has the technique of a man born to perform Baroque and bel canto music, but he is equally at home singing music form all periods, including contemporary works. In this CD Lehtipuu shines in both performance and in selection of repertoire. The recital is composed entirely of the works of Antonio Vivaldi and he sings arias from eight of Vivaldi's seldom heard operas: 'Tito Manlio', 'Arsilda, regina di Ponto', 'La virtù trionfante, dell'amore, e dell'odio, overo Il Tigrane', 'L' Incoronazione di Dario', 'La verità in cimento', 'Dorilla in Tempe', 'Farnace', and 'Bajazet'. The twenty arias seem chosen to display the extensive talent of this young artist. He sound is sure and his execution of the florid line is exemplary. Collaborating with Topi Lehtipuu is the fine ensemble I Barocchisti from Lugano, Switzerland, Diego Fasolis conducting and the chorus and incidental solo parts are well performed by the Coro della Radiotelevisione Svizzera. As a concert break the ensemble offers Vivaldi's Concerto for strings & continuo in C major, RV 110, delivered with élan and finesse. In all this is a particularly fine recording from a very gifted artist. Grady Harp
This is a wonderful introduction to Vivaldi's vocal works with which I was largely unacquainted. This is grand Baroque replete with elaborate ornamentation demanding impressive skill and control to produce by the vocalist. The opening selections are high energy, bold pieces which I typically associate with Vivaldi. The miniature concerto is a delightful interlude. Soon, follows Cessa Tiranno Amor with delicate sensitivity in which Mr. Lehtipuu weaves an intricate tapestry with the harpsichord and violoncello. Then, the mood shifts to bold confidence with a jubilant motif. The closing choral piece celebrates spring with enthusiasm of which Handel would have been proud. This is one of my newest favorite CD's!