Monteverdi – Orfeo
La Venexiana / Claudio Cavina
Orfeo has just passed his 400th birthday, marked by two fine Baroque ensembles, Concerto Italiano and La Venexiana, going head to head in special “book” packages of the first operatic masterpiece. Richard Lawrence investigated and was delighted to find that the general tinkering that so disfigured some earlier accounts had no place in either. He had caveats about some speeds but found vocal honours and the playing pretty evenly divided. Rinaldo Alessandrini’s Concerto Italiano version was well worth hearing, he concluded, but “he is trumped by [Claudio] Cavina, whose wonderful account goes straight to the top of the list of recommended recordings. Do not miss it”.