Conti: David

Album cover art for upc 094637887721
Label: VIRGIN
Catalog: 78877
Format: CD

Rare and out of print!
This oratorio or opera (there is no documentation as to whether it was ever staged) by the now-almost forgotten Francesco Conti (1681-1732) is a wonderful work and this studio recording under Alan Curtis will go a long way in bringing Conti's marvelous gifts to the attention of the classical music-loving public. It tells the same story as Handel's magnificent "Saul," composed 15 years later, and while it may not have the splendor or psychological depths of Handel's, it certainly is far from shallow. We get, in fact, a remarkable portrait of the angry, jealous, and finally utterly crazy Saul from the very start; furthermore, his daughter Micol's sweetness and gentleness is so well portrayed that when she almost convinces Saul to love David, it makes sense. The performances here are superb, with Curtis leading his Complesso Barocco with operatic thrust (there are six continuo players to insure that the textures remain rich), and with a fine ear for effective embellishments, as well. The whole cast is superb, with Simon Kermes' Micol ravishing, especially in her imploring "O rendimi pietoso," Marijana Mijanovic a terrific David, Brigitte Christensen's Jonathan strong, and Furio Zanasi's Saul a ferocious character with a very wide vocal range. The recitatives are delivered forcefully throughout. This is highly recommended. --Robert Levine

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