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This opera is a feast for lovers of heavier sounding women's voices. Despite having several mezzo-sopranos cast in this work, no two of them ever sound alike. Vivica Genaux does not have a big part in this opera but she is a fascinating artist who dazzles her listeners with incredible vocal pyrotechnics [watch -- DVD chapter 1 title 2, 0:00:41-0:01:42]. Not only does she trill and sing accurate coloratura, she also gives a searing portrayal of Irene. Dark, dramatic voiced Marijana Mijanovic is a fascinating artist to watch on the DVD [watch -- DVD chapter 1 title 8, 0:00:52-0:02:13]. Her interpretation of Asteria does not come over quite as impressively on the CD, but her aria 'La cervetta timidetta' is beautifully sung and accompanied by a seductive obbligato. Elina Garanca's voice is somewhat lighter than the other mezzo-sopranos which results in a good contrast. She sings Andronico's music with a secure lyricism and an assertiveness that underscores the masculinity of her character.

Although the opera has three acts, the EMI Records/Virgin Classics release is recorded on two CDs. Each recitative and each aria has its own track, but act II begins with track 20 on the first CD. It is then carried over onto the second disc and act III begins at track 13. The sound is clear and, as a result, even the most intricate coloratura sounds crisp. This set also includes an interesting DVD with no regional coding that plays on both PAL and NTSC systems. It contains live footage of the artists at work at the recording sessions, providing considerable insight into their interpretative skills and their methods of producing the tonal beauty heard on these discs.

Copyright © 17 July 2005 Maria Nockin, Arizona USA


Vivaldi: Bajazet

5 45676 2 DDD +DVD5 4:3 NTSC region 0 (worldwide) Stereo +Linear PCM Stereo NEW RELEASE (2 CDs) 73'37"/72'49"/30'00" - TT 176'26" 2005 EMI Records Ltd/Virgin Classics

David Daniels, countertenor (Tamerlano); Ildebrando D'Arcangelo, bass-baritone (Bajazet); Marijana Mijanovic, mezzo-soprano (Asteria); Elina Garanca, mezzo-soprano (Andronico); Vivica Genaux, mezzo-soprano (Irene); Patrizia Ciofi, soprano (Idaspe); Europa Galante; Fabio Biondi, director

Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) revised Fabio Bondi: Bajazet, tragedia per musica in three acts RV703 (1735) (libretto: Agostino Plovene). Bonus DVD of live footage from the recording sessions, with a complete aria from each of the six soloists



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