Antonio Vivaldi's opera FARNACE was never performed; this is the premiere recoding of this strange and intensely beautiful work as performed by a world-class cast of singers who understand this era of music like a gloved hand.
According to liner notes and reports FARNACE is `A work bursting with riches ... This powerful operatic tragedy is one of the highlights of Vivaldi's canon,' says the Vivaldi expert Frédéric Delaméa who, with the conductor Diego Fasolis has reconstructed the never-performed version of Farnace that Vivaldi prepared for Ferrara in 1737-38. In this world premiere recording the magnificent cast is led by the brilliant countertenor Max Emanuel Cencic in the title role. Beyond a thrilling line-up of performers, this recording offers collectors the opportunity to enjoy a world premiere of the version of Farnace that Vivaldi prepared specially for the city of Ferrara in 1737-38 after its success in Venice. This is not only the first time the Ferrara Farnace has been recorded, but also the first time it has been heard -- since the planned performances in the city in 1738 were cancelled following the local failure of the Vivaldi opera that preceded it, Siroe.'
The story of the opera is strange: Farnace, King of Pontus, has been defeated, and to avoid their falling into the hands of the enemy, he commands his wife, Tamiri, to kill their son and then herself. Tamiri's mother, Berenice, hates Farnace and is in cahoots with Pompey, the Roman victor, to kill him. Selinda, Farnace's sister, is taken captive by the Roman Aquilius, who falls in love with her, as does Berenice's Captain, Gilades. Selinda plays them off one another in an attempt to save her brother. Somehow, it ends happily and everyone is spared.
The cast is extraordinary: Max Emanuel Cencic creates Farnace), Ann Hallenberg is Selinda, the gloriously gifted soprano Karina Gauvin is Gilade, Daniel Behle is Pompeo, the Bulagarian soprano gaining considerable attention at the moment Ruxandra Donose is Tamiri, Mary-Ellen Nesi sings Berenice, and Emiliano Gonzales Toro is Aquilio. Diego Fasolis conducts I Barocchisti ensemble. Though Vivaldi's operas were not as popular as his other works, this opera is overflowing in beautiful arias and ensembles and is so rich in character that a it would be a joy to see it staged. Until then this is as fine a performance as one could hope for! Grady Harp, November 11