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.
Caffarelli, castrato assoluto, was a famed rival to the more famous Farinelli. Born Gaetano Majorano in Bitonto in 1710 - he was to die in Naples in 1783 - he studied with his rival’s teacher, Nicola Porpora. He travelled across Europe, singing in the most prestigious opera houses, earning huge amounts and behaving exceptionally badly. His one season in London in 1737-38 singing for Handel was, however, a resounding failure and it’s to the repertoire of the Naples School that this disc turns in order to present arias most associated with this most touchy, querulous and downright rude castrato of the eighteenth-century.
– Jonathan Woolf, MusicWeb International.
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.
Here is the earliest operatic masterpiece of Nicola Porpora (1686-1768), Neapolitan composer, who left an indelible mark on the 18th century and the careers of its greatest masters, from Hasse, Jommelli and Handel to Joseph Haydn, who was his pupil in Vienna. Against the backcloth of the old Carolingian epic, the valiant knight Roland is transformed into a lover before becoming 'Orlando furioso' in this encounter of three mythical figures: Ariosto, Metastasio and Porpora. We run the gamut from epic to tragedy in this vibrant, crackling performance under the inspired direction of Juan Bautista Otero. A major discovery!