Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

For the past five years or so I've posted reviews of classical music CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays, in various places on the web: Amazon.com, iTunes and other sites. I'll collect those earlier reviews, and add four or five new ones every month.

"Music, both vocall and instrumental, so good, so delectable, so rare, so admirable, so super excellent, that it did even ravish and stupifie all those strangers that never heard the like." - Thomas Coryat, after hearing 3 hours of music at the Scuola di San Rocco in Venice, 1608.

Monday, November 2, 2015

A glorious mess!

From September 15, 2015:


There’s more real acting and theatrical magic in this ‘semi-staged’ version of Vivaldi’s great work than in many a traditional opera with realistic trees and togas. Conductor Federico Maria Sardelli conducts, with considerable star power, a fairly large group of fine instrumentalists (most playing period instruments) and a cadre of excellent singers who excel in the alternately dramatic and pathetic virtuoso arias of Vivaldi. As a bonus, the singers occasionally get together to sing - very creditably - as a chorus.

Certainly there’s also fashionable deconstruction and semiotics involved, but it’s all part of the fun. The costuming is clever, with breastplates worn under suits (perhaps the new trend in Florence this year?), and various armour bits signifying gender. The beauty of the music comes together with the bombast, pity and high stakes politics of three ages: the ancient world, 18th century Italy, and 21st century Europe. A glorious mess that I couldn’t recommend more highly.

Here is the trailer for the project. The YouTube comments are hilarious; world-class nitpicking combined with patient responses from the production side. What fun!

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