Marta Almajano, María Espada, Raquel Andueza, Soledad Cardoso, soprano - Marta Infante, mezzo-soprano - Javier Méndez, tenor; El Concierto Español;
Emilio Moreno, direction
José de Nebra (1702-1768)
Iphigenia en Tracia
(Zarzuela, Madrid, 1747)
Who better to perform a further instalment in the exploration of Spanish Baroque musical life on record than Emilio Moreno and El Concierto Español, whose latest Glossa project tackles the dramatic work Iphigenia en Tracia by one of the leading lights of the time, José de Nebra? Having recently also given us readings of popular musical comedies from the end of the 18th century (La Tirana contra Mambrú) and a royal marriage commemoration by Antonio Caldara when in Barcelona at the start of it (Il più bel nome), Moreno now looks to the middle of that century when Nebra was attracted to one of Euripides' Iphigenia stories for one of his mythological zarzuelas. What emerges (from the original score held deep within the library of the imposing and omnipresent monastery in Glossa's own home town of San Lorenzo de El Escorial) is an elegantlycrafted reflection of the musical currents of the time: like in other countries across Europe Spain was in thrall to the Italian style - Farinelli had a leading role in musical tastes in Madrid for over 20 years - but Nebra also injects a scheme of recitatives and arias plenty of characteristic Iberian zest into the proceedings, notably with the witty castizo banter between two comic characters.
And who better on this recording to join Moreno and his highly-talented instrumental players to perform such engaging musical - and dramatic - fare than some of today's leading Spanish vocal stars, such as Marta Almajano, María Espada, Raquel Andueza and Marta Infante?