Cieco Amor – Opera arias written for Giuseppe Maria Boschi
Bononcini, Handel, Porpora etc
Sergio Foresti (baritone); Abchordis Ensemble/Andrea Buccarella
Challenge Classics CC 72875 71:07 mins
Sergio Foresti is a persuasive proxy for Giuseppe Maria Boschi (1698–1744), a bold actor and a powerful, agile vocalist. Delving into Boschi’s repertoire, Foresti and director Andrea Buccarella present an hour-plus programme in which only three numbers by Handel have previously been recorded. Thrills abound, especially in the rage arias that were Boschi’s specialty. Foresti strides majestically across his register, dispatching ringing top notes; in passages of coloratura, he’s as reckless as a racing driver. His vigour is matched by the band, as when duetting trumpeters jostle with him for glory all the way to the final bar of Bononcini’s ‘Rimbomba la tromba’. They create brilliant effects collectively, as when the braggadocio swagger of the band’s triple meter mirrors the singer’s boastfulness in Handel’s ‘Sibilar gli angui d’Aletto’ (from Rinaldo).
Beyond muscle and bustle, Foresti delivers introspection. In the title track, Giovanni Bononcini’s ‘Cieco amor’, a father broods on having sentenced his own daughter to die. Here Foresti is sovereign, expanding through even the most punishing of long phrases. While not always elegant – instead of dropping into the pitch’s centre he tends to croon into it – Foresti’s performance is always intense.