In expanding my operatic horizons I find myself drawn more and more to the baroque works. Having whet my teeth on Handel I have been experimenting with his contemporaries and those who came before him. This new recording of a work by Vivaldi based on a libretto by Metastasio has captivated me.
Contrary to popular wisdom which says throw away the libretti and just luxuriate in the music of these works, I find that following the text makes them much more accessible and enjoyable. However, I will admit that it usually takes me more than one listening to actually "get" them completely.
In the present case, the opening allegro hooked me right away, as did the series of beautiful, and relatively short, arias, culminating in perhaps the work's finest inspiration, Licida's 'Mentre dorme', beautifully done by Sara Mingardo. The rest of the music is on a consistently high level as is the performance and recording. Minor quibbles: the Aminta, though accomplished, probably should have been cast with a more imposing soprano, and the cast needs to work on their trills. Highly enjoyable and recommended.