- L' Incoronazione di Dario, opera, RV 719
The revival of Vivaldi's operas continues with "L'incoronazione di Dario" (The Coronation of Darius), which has been recorded several times. This release comes from a 2013 live performance in Bremen, Germany, very well recorded indeed by Naïve. The title might lead one to expect a solemn opera seria, but it almost immediately announces itself, with a sparkling duet as the first vocal number, as something different and unusual, a sort of dramedy about the competition for the hand of the daughter of a deceased Persian emperor. The plot proceeds in a series of snappy arias and recitatives, which sometimes interpenetrate in ariosos; the one at the beginning of the second act is an arioso dialogue that is especially elegantly handled. A few of the arias could be profitably discarded, but characteristic Vivaldian touches throughout include Oronte's harmonically daring aria "Non mi lusinga vana speranza" (Act II, scene 6, CD 2, track 10), nicely understated by mezzo-soprano Lucia Cirillo. The cast, with a top-flight group of Italian singers and the very hot Accademia Bizantina orchestra led by the very hot Ottavio Dantone, is generally very strong, although tenor Anders Dahlin in the title role seems underpowered for his surroundings. A worthwhile and even entertaining addition to a Baroque opera shelf.