Royal Trio-Arias By Handel Bononcini & Ariosti Hybrid SACD, SACD, Import
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A dazzling Royal trio. Founded in 1719 as the first opera company in the English-speaking world, the Royal Academy of Music commissioned and premièred some of the finest 18th-century operas, including Handel s 'Giulio Cesare'. Here are a dozen arias from operas written in the 10 year period from 1719-29 for their star castrati, particularly Senesino: some well known [Va tacito] and some less well known. Renowned American countertenor Lawrence Zazzo is joined by La Nuova Musica and David Bates for a snapshot of the Academy s hits circa 1725 featuring arias by Handel, Ariosti and Bononcini.
You can experience this on Zazzo's new CD “A Royal Trio”. In an interview he explained that it did not make any difference to him whether he prepared for a performance or a recording. For him, a CD was not a museum piece; he wanted to create the same intensity as if he was standing on a stage. In my opinion, this CD is an excellent example for Zazzo's artistic ideals.
Lawrence Zazzo is able to put the emotions of each character in his voice, and so the action becomes audible as if on a stage: The desperation in “Cosi stanco Pellegrino” and “Tanti affani“, the proximity to death in “Chiudetevi miei lumi“, the aggressiveness and abrasiveness in “Rompo i lacci“ and “Vivi, tiranno“ and the nobleness in „Va tacito“.
The orchestra “La Nuova Musica”, conducted by David Bates, does not take a back seat; it produces a sonority which congenially accompanies and supports the singing voice. The orchestral works on the CD also sparkle with esprit and delight in playing. Even the horns are a treat for the ears.
With “A Royal Trio” Lawrence Zazzo moves against the mainstream since it is not an accumulation of familiar baroque bravura arias, but a collection of lesser known arias by George Frederic Handel and his contemporaries Giovanni Bononcini and Attilio Ariosti. All three worked with the Royal Academy in the 1720th.
The pieces by Bononcini and Ariosti were recovered by Lawrence Zazzo with the help of several musicologists from incomplete transcripts and contemporary printouts through elaborate detail work. Their dedicated research brought to light a formidable comparison with Handel arias that originated at the same time.
The booklet contains extensive information about the “Royal Trio”, annotations by Lawrence Zazzo, short introductions and the texts to the arias in English, French and German.
I only can highly recommend this CD to all friends of baroque music.