CALDARA Maddalena al piedi do Cristo

Record and Artist Details

Composer or Director: Antonio Caldara

Genre:

Opera

Label: Alpha

Media Format: CD or Download

Mastering:

DDD

Catalogue Number: ALPHA426

ALPHA426. CALDARA Maddalena al piedi do Cristo

Tracks:

Composition Artist Credit
Maddalena ai piedi di Cristo Maïlys de Villoutreys
Damien Guillon
Emmanuelle De Negri
Benedetta Mazzucato
Reinoud van Mechelen
Antonio Caldara Composer
Riccardo Novaro
Damien Guillon
(La) Banquet Céleste
Maddalena ai piedi di Cristo was probably composed for Caldara’s native Venice in about 1697 98, perhaps for the Oratorian order at Santa Maria della Fava. Lodovico Forni’s libretto concerns Mary Magdalene’s choice between profane carnal pleasure or becoming a sacred disciple of Christ; an animated rivalry for her soul takes place between Earthly Love and Heavenly Love, while the conflicted Maddalena receives wise counsel from Martha and is encouraged by Christ – whose divine words are scorned by a hypocritical Pharisee.

The oratorio’s musical variety and engaging narrative were proved amply by the Gramophone Award-winning account by René Jacobs and the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis but the time is ripe for another interpretation. The unfolding religious drama zips along thanks to Damien Guillon’s crystal-clear handling of Caldara’s concise arias. Emmanuelle de Negri’s eloquent Maddalena provides several potent doses of penitential weeping: ‘Pompe inutili’ is a spellbinding dialogue with cellist Julien Barre, and the string-laden slow laments ‘In lagrime stemprato’ and ‘Per il mar del pianto mio’ are sublime. Amor Terreno’s sleepily seductive ‘Dormi o cara’ is sung caressingly by Benedetta Mazzucato; her later tantrum ‘Orribili, terribili’ is thrillingly furious. Guillon’s Amor Celeste is solemnly authoritative, whether in the vivid bass-driven ‘Spera, consolati’ or in the gentleness of his duet with violinist Caroline Bayet in ‘Da quel strale, che stilla veleno’. Martha’s rapturous contemplation ‘Non sdegna il ciel le lacrime’ is sung gorgeously by Maïlys de Villoutreys. Riccardo Novaro’s Pharisee conveys bullying agitation, especially in the spikily disdainful ‘Chi drizzar di pianta adulta’, whereas Christ is sung by Reinoud Van Mechelen with radiant serenity.

The assorted string ritornellos framing many of the arias (often in five parts) are played with suppleness and astute shaping by Le Banquet Céleste, and the continuo support in recitatives and simpler arias pays close attention to the singers’ texts; melodramatic organ accompaniments in recitatives that present extrovertly pious statements are over-egged but otherwise Guillon’s shrewd direction produces a scintillating performance that offers fresh light on Caldara’s qualities.

Gramophone Print

  • Print Edition

From £67/year

Subscribe

The Gramophone Digital Club

  • Digital Edition
  • Digital Archive
  • Reviews Database
  • Events & Offers

From £90/year

Subscribe

Gramophone Reviews

  • Reviews Database

From £67/year

Subscribe

Gramophone Digital Edition

  • Digital Edition
  • Digital Archive

From £67/year

Subscribe

If you are a library, university or other organisation that would be interested in an institutional subscription to Gramophone please click here for further information.