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US Release Date: December 08, 2009
Label: Virgin Classics
The balmy lagoon of Venice is a long way from the chill waters of America’s most northern state, but Alaska-born mezzo soprano Vivica Genaux now lives near La Serenissima, and Antonio Vivaldi, the city’s emblematic composer, figures prominently in her repertoire. This album of Vivaldi arias features numbers from a dozen or so operas and includes five arias receiving their first recording.
This CD joins Genaux’s existing Virgin Classics catalogue, which includes recitals of Handel and Hasse, of bel canto arias and a star-studded complete recording of Vivaldi’s Bajazet, with the dynamic Fabio Biondi conducting Europa Galante.
Nominated for a Grammy, Bajazet prompted this response from Opera News: “True star status on this recording belongs to Vivica Genaux, whose performance of ‘Qual guerriero in campo armato’ sets what must be the new modern standard for coloratura singing. Her swiftness and accuracy demonstrate why Genaux is the leading interpreter of the music written for Farinelli, the greatest vocal star of the Baroque era.”
Describing Vivica Genaux in her trademark virtuoso repertoire, The New York Times observed that: “Her voice is as striking as her looks: less striking, even, for the light, free upper notes or rich chocolaty lower ones than for the runs of coloratura that she releases with jackhammer speed, gunfire precision and the limpid continuity of spring raindrops.” Genaux herself says that: “In Baroque music, what I really like is the interaction between the voice and the orchestra. The orchestra doesn’t just accompany but punctuates what you are saying as a singer, so you have the opportunity of really working closely with the instrumentalists. There are plenty of pyrotechnics in this recital, but in the sense of using ornamentation to amplify the emotion – so there is rapid coloratura and more delicate ornamentation too. I love working with Europa Galante, and Fabio, being a violinist as well as a conductor, understands that a singer can’t just go on forever on one breath – just as a violinist is limited by the length of his bow.”