Karina Gauvin / Il Complesso Barocco | Alan Curtis, conductor
Nicola Porpora: Aria Nobil onda (Adelaïde) / Aria Non sempre invendicata (Adelaïde) / Recitativo di Fulvia: Misera, dove son? (Ezio) / Aria Non son io che parlo (Ezio) / Rec. Acc. Aci, amato mio bene (Polifemo) / Aria Smanie (Polifemo) / Aria Mi chiederesti meno (Imeneo) / Aria Mentre rendo a te la vita (Angelica) / Ouverture (Arianna) / Aria Ahi che langue (Arianna) / Aria Il tuo dolce mormorio (Arianna) / Rec. Acc. Misera, e che farò? (Arianna) / Aria Misera sventurata (Arianna) / Aria Si caro ti consola (Arianna)
Wholenote Discoveries - November 2009
Sic Transit Gloria Mundi – The glory of this world is fleeting. What an apt description of the current status of Nicola Porpora. At one time, creator (with poet Petro Metastasio) of some of the greatest triumphs of musical performance that pleased monarchs, delighted their courts and held sway over public imagination – today Porpora is little known and even less recorded. Six of 14 arias on this disc are world premiere recordings. How could the vocal teacher of castrati Caffarelli and Porporino, female superstars La Romanina, Nicola Grimaldi and Lucia Facchinelli, the man who discovered his most important protégé, Farinelli, be so thoroughly neglected? Well, there are two reasons for that: there are no more castrati and, secondly and most importantly, the music of Nicola Porpora was always meant to be a neutral background on which to showcase the castrato’s voice. His arias are not necessarily brilliant or groundbreaking – in fact, many of them seem repetitious. However, endowed with the sound of the castrato’s voice they must have been stunning. Such voice is impossible to replicate. Even for the film Farinelli, the producers digitally “mashed” the counter-tenor and soprano, to achieve a desired effect. The Canadian soprano Karina Gauvin continues to amaze with the beauty of her voice, increasingly focusing on Baroque music. Technically flawless, in this recording she is augmented by the “first leaguers” of period performance, Il Complesso Barocco and Alan Curtis. So if no single human being can reproduce the castrato’s voice, we owe Ms. Gauvin thanks for approximating it for us. Robert Tomas
Nicola Porpora was 22 years old in 1708 when his first opera, Agrippina, was presented under the patronage of the Austrian vice-regent. The opera was first performed at the vice regal palace in Naples, and then before the general public at the Teatro di San Bartolomeo. Throughout his life Porpora had the opportunity to offer his services, particularly as a maestro di cappella, to influential aristocrats. With their support he became internationally famous as a composer and singing teacher. Porpora's great period of operatic composition occurred between 1718 and 1742.
Canadian soprano Karina Gauvun returns with a new recording of arias, most never recorded, from the operas of Nicola Porpora (1686-1768). The prestigious Italian Baroque orchestra Il Complesso Barocco under the direction of Alan Curtis, accompanies Madame Gauvin on this recording, which was produced in Italy.