Heinichen: Flavio Crispo

Album cover art for upc 761203511129
Label: CPO
Catalog: 555111-2
Format: CD

Arróniz, Ismael González; Marbach, Dana; Marziotte, Leandro; Gusto Barocco, Il; Halubek, Jörg; Visentin, Alessandra; Hunger, Tobias; Gäng, Silke; Bernsteiner, Nina

Following the premiere of Brescianello’s Tisbe, Johann David Heinichen’s Flavio Crispo is now the second discovery of a never-performed Baroque opera in an interpretation by Il Gusto Barocco. This Italian opera by Heinichen, one of the most valuable documents of its times in matters of compositional history, had been forgotten for some three hundred years until the ensemble premiered it in 2016. The historical circumstances behind this opera are very special: a quarrel involving the two world-famous castrati Senesino and Berselli caused a scandal that prevented the premiere of Heinichen’s opera at the Dresden court. Some anecdotes relate that the singers accused the composer of imperfect knowledge of Italian and tore the score to shreds during the rehearsal process while he looked on. Others state that Handel had wooed away the Dresden singers during a journey from Italy to London. The score is a masterpiece. To be specific, Heinichen selects a highly exquisite instrumentation in order to depict the purity and fragility of the female character Elena: in the orchestral ritornellos three sorrowful oboe voices are heard without any sort of bass foundation – their song of lament itself is accompanied by the quiet pizzicato of the strings and in our interpretation of the basso continuo by harp arpeggios. This melancholy and fragile Act II finale is an exemplary instance of Heinichen’s poetic and highly sensitive setting of this opera libretto.

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