Friday, 31 January 2014

"New" Baroque opera - Conti L'Issipile Wigmore Hall

The things one finds working in archives!  Counter tenor Flavio Ferri-Benedetti discovered the manuscript odf an opera so obscure it barely raises a flicker of recognition, even for Baroque mavens: L'issipile by Francesco Bartolomeo Conti (1681-1732). The plot is convoluted, as one might expect but there's some very good music therein. Read the review of the first UK performance, at the Wigmore Hall in Opera Today, by Claire Seymour HERE.

What a cast ! Lucy Crowe, Laurence Zazzo, Joihn Mark Ainsley, Rebecca Bottone, and Ferro-Benedetti himself, who not only prepared the manuscript for a performance edition but translated it into English.

The orchestra was La Nuova Musica "led from the harpsichord by founder and director David Bates, produced playing of fleetness, vivacity and charm. The Sinfonia epitomised the perfectly synchronised panache of the strings’ Italianate lines, and the striking contrasts of dynamics suggested the surprising twists and turns of the drama to follow. In the complex arias, oboe (Leo Duarte) and bassoon (Rebecca Hammond) added colour to the tutti sections; the more contrapuntal accompaniments were incisively articulated. Conti’s recitative is fast-moving, Metastasio’s lines often shared between characters; Bates unfailingly created forward motion and excitement in these exchanges, which the soloists delivered with naturalness and spontaneity. Sudden harmonic swerves and interruptions were emphasised but never mannered."

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