Conradi Ariadne

This delightful work proves the merit in championing German Baroque opera

Record and Artist Details

Composer or Director: Johann Georg Conradi

Genre:

Opera

Label: CPO

Media Format: CD or Download

Mastering:

Stereo
DDD

Catalogue Number: CPO777 073-2

Tracks:

Composition Artist Credit
(Die) schöne und getreue Ariadne Marek Rzepka
Julie Comparini
Matthew White
Johann Georg Conradi Composer
Stephen Stubbs
Boston Early Music Festival Chorus
Barbara Borden
Jan Kobow
Julian Podger
Laurie Reviol
Ellen Hargis
Karina Gauvin
Paul O'Dette
Matthew White
Bettina Pahn
Laurie Reviol
Boston Early Music Festival Orchestra
Ellen Hargis
James Taylor
Tyler Duncan
Hamburg’s Theater-am-Gänsemarkt, opened in 1678, was reputed to have been the largest and best equipped theatre in Europe. In the early 18th century it was associated with the young Handel, Mattheson, Keiser and Telemann; but it fell into disuse after 1738 and was demolished in 1765. Despite its historical importance, many of the operas composed for the theatre are lost (only one of Handel’s four Hamburg operas exists). The earliest surviving Hamburg opera is Ariadne (1691) by Johann Georg Conradi (d1699), the company’s music director in the early 1690s. As Kapellmeister at Ansbach he had organised performances of 10 operas by Lully and probably benefited from an impressive music library that contained operas by Cavalli, Sartorio, Steffani and Monteverdi. His Ariadne reveals these influences in its hotchpotch of French, Italian and German musical styles.

Theorbo player Paul O’Dette argues that Ariadne is ‘an outstanding score which should inspire a complete re-evaluation of the German Baroque operatic repertoire’. He and lutenist Stephen Stubbs certainly get things off to a promising start with this invigorating performance. The singing is of exceptional quality. Karina Gauvin’s resolute yet clear voice is ideal for the demanding part of Ariadne. Matthew White has a sweet, clear alto voice as Bacchus (disguised as the mortal Evanthes). Ellen Hargis is terrific as Ariadne’s dragon of a mother who insists that her daughter must marry Evanthes. The tenors James Taylor and Julian Podger are elegantly stylish and pure-voiced, although the comparable Jan Kobow also displays a gift for comedy as a scissor-grinder at the end of Act 1.

O’Dette and Stubbs provide impeccably rich continuo. The Orchestra of the Boston Early Music Festival delivers strongly characterised ritornelli. The overall performance is hugely enjoyable, making 176 minutes fly by without a mediocre moment.

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