Antwerp's Opera Vlaanderen continues its Rossini opera cycle with this production of his rarely performed Armida, conducted by Alberto Zedda. The work features no less than four tenors in the leading roles, taken here by the commanding voices of Enea Scala, Robert McPherson, Dario Schmunck and the young rising star, Adam Smith.
Stage director Mariame Clément teams up once more for Opera Vlaanderen with set designer Julia Hansen, building on their successful production of Cavalli's Il Giasone. Here they take a critical look at the world of the Crusades. Clément sees Armida as the incarnation of the magical concept of ‘love’, for which noble and heroic knightly ideals are cast aside, turning love into a destructive frenzy.
The album Miserere (Have Mercy) is much darker album than Fornaciari's previous works, made clear from the album's and same-titled song, as well theme. It reflects his intimate personal life from the time when lived in solitude and depression after the divorce…
“Lotti's Requiem Mass in F major is considered by Thomas Hengelbrock the most important Requiem before Mozart's. It's full of expressive contrast: Lotti has an affection for a quasi-Palestrina style on the one hand and the skill to deploy more up-to-date techniques on the other. This Requiem is essentially in the late Baroque idiom, occasionally recalling certain of Vivaldi's larger sacred vocal pieces. The sections differ from the sequence usually encountered in later 18th-century Requiem Masses. There's neither Sanctus, 'Benedictus' nor Agnus Dei, but instead a very extended 'Dies irae' as well as a much shorter 'Requiem aeternam', Kyrie and Offertory. Full of theatrical gestures, supple polyphony, warmly seductive harmony and some beautiful melodies, the Requiem holds attention from start to finish. The contrasts are often striking, as between the hushed opening section and the awesome introduction to the 'Dies irae'. The a cappella Miserere is sung with clarity and finesse. The five-movement Credo is a supple piece for choir and strings with some affecting, shimmering harmonies in the 'Crucifixus'.