CAVALLI Ombra mai fu (Philippe Jaroussky)

Record and Artist Details

Composer or Director: (Pietro) Francesco Cavalli

Genre:

Opera

Label: Erato

Media Format: CD or Download

Mastering:

DDD

Catalogue Number: 9029 55181-9

9029 55181-9. CAVALLI Ombra mai fu (Philippe Jaroussky)

Tracks:

Composition Artist Credit
Calisto Ensemble Artaserse
Philippe Jaroussky
(Pietro) Francesco Cavalli Composer
Erismenea Ensemble Artaserse
Philippe Jaroussky
(Pietro) Francesco Cavalli Composer
La virtù de' strali d'Amore (Pietro) Francesco Cavalli Composer
Philippe Jaroussky
Ensemble Artaserse
(Gli) Amori d'Apollo e di Dafne Ensemble Artaserse
(Pietro) Francesco Cavalli Composer
Philippe Jaroussky
Eritrea Ensemble Artaserse
(Pietro) Francesco Cavalli Composer
Philippe Jaroussky
La virtù de' strali d'Amore Philippe Jaroussky
Ensemble Artaserse
(Pietro) Francesco Cavalli Composer
Eliogabalo Philippe Jaroussky
(Pietro) Francesco Cavalli Composer
Ensemble Artaserse
Eliogabalo Ensemble Artaserse
(Pietro) Francesco Cavalli Composer
Philippe Jaroussky
Calisto Philippe Jaroussky
Ensemble Artaserse
(Pietro) Francesco Cavalli Composer
Elena Philippe Jaroussky
Ensemble Artaserse
(Pietro) Francesco Cavalli Composer
La virtù de' strali d'Amore Ensemble Artaserse
(Pietro) Francesco Cavalli Composer
Philippe Jaroussky
Ercole amante Philippe Jaroussky
Ensemble Artaserse
(Pietro) Francesco Cavalli Composer
(L')Ormindo (Pietro) Francesco Cavalli Composer
Philippe Jaroussky
Ensemble Artaserse
Giasone Ensemble Artaserse
Philippe Jaroussky
(Pietro) Francesco Cavalli Composer
Statira, Principessa di Persia Philippe Jaroussky
Ensemble Artaserse
(Pietro) Francesco Cavalli Composer
L'Orione (Pietro) Francesco Cavalli Composer
Philippe Jaroussky
Ensemble Artaserse
Calisto (Pietro) Francesco Cavalli Composer
Ensemble Artaserse
Philippe Jaroussky
Doriclea Philippe Jaroussky
(Pietro) Francesco Cavalli Composer
Ensemble Artaserse
Pompeo Magno Philippe Jaroussky
Ensemble Artaserse
(Pietro) Francesco Cavalli Composer
La virtù de' strali d'Amore Philippe Jaroussky
Ensemble Artaserse
(Pietro) Francesco Cavalli Composer
Erismenea Philippe Jaroussky
Ensemble Artaserse
(Pietro) Francesco Cavalli Composer
Xerse (Pietro) Francesco Cavalli Composer
Philippe Jaroussky
Ensemble Artaserse
(Gli) Amori d'Apollo e di Dafne Philippe Jaroussky
(Pietro) Francesco Cavalli Composer
Ensemble Artaserse
Xerse Philippe Jaroussky
Ensemble Artaserse
(Pietro) Francesco Cavalli Composer
Francesco Cavalli’s 33 surviving operas provide a rich playground for any period performer and the countertenor Philippe Jaroussky throws himself into all that’s on offer in his latest recording, with a little help from his own Ensemble Artaserse and some very starry musical friends.

The title feels like a deliberate provocation: ‘Ombra mai fu’, but not as you know it. The idea of Handel as a point of departure for Baroque opera, a point of navigation for listeners less familiar with Cavalli, is an interesting one, and the comparison doesn’t always shake out in the former’s favour. If Handel’s Xerxes has a showmanship, an aesthetic swagger that Cavalli’s lacks in the lilting prettiness of his own ode to a plane tree, we see the Italian’s skill emerge elsewhere – in the delicacy with which he paints grief, loneliness and loss.

Apollo’s ‘Misero Apollo’, the chromatic bruises on Idraspe’s ‘Uscitemi dal cor’, even the unfulfilled longings of Endimione alone in the mountains singing his hopes in ‘Lucidissima face’ – all show the composer’s skill at painting psychology, even within closed forms. No one manipulates a ground bass quite so skilfully; and Artaserse’s feathery strings, and cornetts whose virtuoso pianissimos have a wonderfully tactile, textured quality to them, cocoon the singers with their intimate accompaniments.

Jaroussky too is at his best in these whispery, crooned laments where the voice treads the line between sound and silence. In the heroic showpieces and exaggerated comedy numbers, however (Brimonte’s ‘All’armi’ from Statira; Eumene’s ‘La bellezza è un don fugace’ from Xerse), we see the limitations of a light voice that can easily get shrill and nasal when too much pressure is applied. Is it a price worth paying for that agility and purity? On balance it probably is, especially when it comes bolstered by colleagues including the contralto Marie-Nicole Lemieux (whose Linfea overflows with sensuality) and the soprano Emőke Baráth.

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