Vivaldi: Tito Manilo

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

WORKS: Tito Manilo
PERFORMER: Sergio Foresti, Elisabeth Scholl, Nicki Kennedy, Rosa Dominguez, Lucia Sciannimanico, Theirry Grégoire, Davide Livermore, Bruno Taddia; Modo Antiquo/Federico Maria Sardelli
CATALOGUE NO: 777 096-2
Hardly had the ink dried on my recent enthusiastic review of Ottavio Dantone’s recording of Tito Manlio (Naïve, reviewed March) then another landed on my doormat. The newcomer, which unwisely calls itself a world premiere – the late Vittorio Negri recorded Tito Manlio in 1978 – is directed by Federico Maria Sardelli. He and his ensemble of voices and period instruments recently issued an enjoyable recording of Vivaldi’s opera Arsilda, regina di Ponto (CPO, reviewed March 2005) as well as his oratorio Juditha Triumphans which is, however, less easily found in the UK at the moment (Tactus 672290). Following in the footsteps of Dantone’s excellent Tito Manlio Sardelli’s version comes across as


less enjoyable.

For a start, he has assembled an uneven cast; while Elisabeth Scholl in the role of Tito’s son Manlio is on a par with Karina Gauvin, Lucia Sciannimanico as Servilia, Manlio’s intended, is no match for Ann Hallenberg in the other. Nor is Sergio Foresti, in the title role as resonantly authoritative as Nicola Ulivieri in Dantone’s recording.


Along with Elisabeth Scholl, the finest performance in Sardelli’s version is given by Nicki Kennedy as the Latin soldier Lucio. She is an alluring Vivaldi singer with several discs of the composer’s chamber cantatas to her name. The remaining prominent role is that of Vitellia, Tito’s daughter. Rosa Dominguez is engaging for her characterisation yet Marijana Mijanovi´c in Dantone’s performance projects a more forceful personality. Modo Antiquo is an accomplished group of instrumentalists which provides sympathetic accompaniment by-and-large; but the horns are raucously flatulent compared with the refined playing of Dantone’s virtuosi. So, all things considered, Dantone has the edge on Sardelli in respect of detail and in the pacing of the drama. Both versions, notwithstanding protestations otherwise, have made small cuts. Nicholas Anderson