Arias For Anna Renzi: The First Opera Diva

Album cover art for upc 5028421967165
Label: BRILLIANT CLASSICS
Catalog: BRI96716
Format: COMPACT DISC

Ensemble Sezione Aurea; Invernizzi, Roberta; Pantieri, Filippo

As the most celebrated singer in Venice during the 1640s, Anna Renzi created roles in operas by the great dramatists of the day including Ottavia in L’incoronazione di Poppea. As outlined by the booklet’s detailed essay on Renzi’s life and career, her career was not very long but dazzling. It centered round the many Venetian theatres and prestigious tours that took her to Florence, Genoa and Innsbruck: from 1640, when she made her debut in Rome, her home city, in an opera written by her alleged teacher Filiberto Laurenzi staged at the French embassy in Palazzo Pallavicini-Rospigliosi, to 1657 in Le fortune di Rodope e Damira, set to music by Pietro Andrea Ziani, at Teatro Sant’Aponal in Venice. Roberta Invernizzi begins her recital with ‘Disprezzata regina’ L’incoronazione di Poppea and follows it with two arias from Cesti’s lesser-known Argia of 1655, hardly less dazzling in the brilliance of its vocal line. O cara libertà is a standalone aria from a collection by a composer two generations after Monteverdi, Filiberto Laurenzi (1618-after 1651), and Invernizzi ends the album on a high with three arias from his little-known drama La Finta Savia. Between the vocal selections, Ensemble Sezione Aurea insert instrumental interludes by Venetian contemporaries such as Rossi, Cima and Frescobaldi. The album as a whole adds up to a compelling portrait of Renzi, demonstrating her particular gift for bringing characters to vivid life on stage, and also a showcase for the vocal and dramatic talents of Roberta Invernizzi, who has taken lead roles in early operas under early-music luminaries including Alan Curtis, Rinaldo Alessandrini and Nikolaus Harnoncourt. The booklet also includes full sung texts and English translations.

Price: $20.98