Che Puro Ciel: The Rise of Classical Opera

Record and Artist Details

Composer or Director: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Christoph Gluck, Tommaso (Michele Francesco Saverio) Traetta, Johann (Adolph) Hasse, Johann Christian Bach

Genre:

Vocal

Label: Harmonia Mundi

Media Format: CD or Download

Media Runtime: 69

Mastering:

DDD

Catalogue Number: HMC90 2172

HMC90 2172. Che Puro Ciel: The Rise of Classical Opera. Bejun Mehta

Tracks:

Composition Artist Credit
Orfeo ed Euridice, Movement: Che puro ciel! Christoph Gluck, Composer
Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin
Bejun Mehta, Countertenor
Christoph Gluck, Composer
René Jacobs, Conductor
Ezio (1750 1st version), Movement: Pensa a serbarmi, o cara Christoph Gluck, Composer
Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin
Bejun Mehta, Countertenor
Christoph Gluck, Composer
René Jacobs, Conductor
Ascanio in Alba, Movement: ~ Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Composer
Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin
Bejun Mehta, Countertenor
René Jacobs, Conductor
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Composer
Mitridate, Re di Ponto, Movement: ~ Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Composer
Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin
Bejun Mehta, Countertenor
René Jacobs, Conductor
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Composer
Antigona, Movement: Ah, se lo vedi piangere... Ah, si, da te dipende Tommaso (Michele Francesco Saverio) Traetta, Composer
Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin
Bejun Mehta, Countertenor
René Jacobs, Conductor
Tommaso (Michele Francesco Saverio) Traetta, Composer
Ifigenia in Tauride, Movement: Dormi Oreste! Tommaso (Michele Francesco Saverio) Traetta, Composer
Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin
Bejun Mehta, Countertenor
René Jacobs, Conductor
Tommaso (Michele Francesco Saverio) Traetta, Composer
Il trionfo di Clelia, Movement: Dei di Roma, ah perdonate! Johann (Adolph) Hasse, Composer
Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin
Bejun Mehta, Countertenor
Johann (Adolph) Hasse, Composer
René Jacobs, Conductor
Artaserse, Movement: No, che non ha la sorte Johann Christian Bach, Composer
Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin
Bejun Mehta, Countertenor
Johann Christian Bach, Composer
René Jacobs, Conductor
Artaserse, Movement: Vo solcando un mar crudele Johann Christian Bach, Composer
Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin
Bejun Mehta, Countertenor
Johann Christian Bach, Composer
René Jacobs, Conductor
The American countertenor Bejun Mehta’s thoughtfully chosen programme takes as its theme the new aesthetic of the 1750s and ’60s that put dramatic truth before virtuoso excess. At the centre of Italian operatic reform were Gluck and his younger contemporary Tommaso Traetta, celebrated in his lifetime for his fusion of Italian opera seria with French tragédie lyrique. Mehta chooses three numbers from each composer, beginning with a performance of Orfeo’s ‘Che puro ciel!’ that grows, movingly, from rapt wonder to passionate yearning. Always acutely alive to text and dramatic situation, Mehta is equally vivid in two contrasting arias from Gluck’s Ezio, one all tender concern, the other heroically flamboyant, with Jacobs and the Berlin period band in no-holds-barred support – and never mind the over creative, and anachronistic, fortepiano continuo.

The Traetta pieces are hardly less memorable. If Mehta’s highest notes can rasp in Emone’s ‘Ah, se lo vedi piangere’ from Antigona, he gives a performance of high-octane abandon, spurred on by quivering, writhing strings. His soft singing and refined phrasing are persuasively heard in the gentle minuet in which Emone implores Antigone to save herself, and in a stately aria from Hasse’s Il trionfo di Clelia, its wide leaps elegantly negotiated.

Elsewhere JC Bach – writing within the traditional Metastasian opera seria aesthetic – is represented by a terrific ‘storm-at-sea’ aria which singer and orchestra dispatch with a barely controlled wildness. Mehta’s dramatic involvement elevates some rather routine invention in the items by the teenage Mozart, not least in a bravura aria from the tension-free serenata Ascanio in Alba, where the coloratura is expressive, never a vehicle for empty posturing. Superb choral cameos – dulcet in the Elysian chorus from Orfeo, by turns insinuating and venomous as the Furies in Traetta’s Ifigenia – set the seal on the most enjoyable, intelligently planned countertenor recital to have come my way in years.

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