Italian composer Nicola Porpora is mainly a footnote in the history books these days, noted as Haydn's teacher, but in his day he was a rival to Handel and wrote a good deal of music for the celebrated castrato Carlo Broschi, aka, Farinelli. That music is sampled here by the startlingly soprano-like French countertenor Philippe Jaroussky, and listeners are likely to feel that it's been unjustly neglected. Jaroussky sounds great, his creamy voice sailing through the mostly tuneful pieces. There are also a few big showpieces of the sort that Renée Fleming and others have recorded on their Baroque aria albums. Jaroussky is not quite as powerful here, but there are some real finds in the music like the gripping soprano-and-trumpet cadenza in "Nell'attendere il mio bene," from Polifemo (track 8). All the way through the music is like that: it's recognizably part of the same world as Handel's arias, but it's full of original touches unrelated to Handel. Porpora's most famous piece, the atmospheric "Alto giove" (again from the opera Polifemo) is here, as are a couple of duets in which Jaroussky is joined by no less than Cecilia Bartoli. These fall easily into the classification of rare treat. Throw in sensitive accompaniment from the Venice Baroque Orchestra and conductor Andrea Marcon for an extremely worthwhile Baroque aria recital. (James Manheim)
Nicola Porpora, a contemporary of Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, and Haydn (and a very young Mozart) is best remembered today as a famous singing teacher and opera composer. During his long career (he lived to age 81) he suffered many employment-related difficulties and disappointments that caused him to move frequently. Naples (where he was born), Venice, Dresden, and Vienna (where he taught Haydn) all enjoyed Porpora's reputable presence, and he even spent a period in London at the behest of a group seeking to unseat Handel and his opera company from its preeminent position. In addition to his operas and vocal music, Porpora wrote instrumental works such as the six violin sonatas featured here, which are drawn from a set of 12. Although anyone familiar with Italian Baroque and early Classical-style solo violin music will discover nothing particularly original on this generally fine recording, if you enjoy that genre and period you'll find much here to indulge and satisfy your taste.
‘The 5 Countertenors’ draws together five of the world’s most renowned countertenors, who bring the rich world of baroque opera to life.
Described in their heyday as “beyond all creatures upon earth.” (William Congreve, 1700), countertenors are once again firmly established on concert platforms, opera stages, the covers of music magazines - and the subjects of heated on-line debate and of fan-pages on social media.
These world-class performers showcase the expressive variety of this unique genre. This album also celebrates the individuality of each singer’s voice and in turn the art of the countertenor. The countertenors are accompanied by the brilliant, ECHO-Klassik winning baroque group, Armonia Atenea, under George Petrou.
Following 'Arias for Caffarelli', a major hit for naïve, this new recording from Franco Fagioli, offers 12 opera arias by Nicola Porpora, who was both a composer and the teacher of Caffarelli and Farinelli, among many others. Franco, through his amazing technique and breathtaking emotional power, pays tribute to the original and refined vocal art nurtured by Porpora in the framework of Naples in the 18th century. The recording features hits such as Polifemo’s 'Alto Giove' but also lesser-known scores, all performed with baroque specialists Academia Montis Regalis, conducted by Alessandro de Marchi.
Young countertenor Iestyn Davies makes his much anticipated Hyperion solo debut with an enchanting disc of cantatas from the Italian composer Nicola Porpora. Davies’s luminous tone has a celestial purity and he performs with prodigious technical assurance. Unfazed by the composer’s intricate passagework and elaborate ornamentation, his astonishing breath control creates a seamless melodic line. Davies is accompanied by the ensemble Arcangelo in interpretations that go far beyond historical understanding.