Pergolesi’s Adriano in Siria conducted by Jan Tomasz Adamus

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COMPOSERS: Pergolesi
ALBUM TITLE: Pergolesi
WORKS: Adriano in Siria
PERFORMER: Franco Fagioli, Romina Basso, Yuriy Mynenko, Dilyara Irisova, Juan Sancho, Cigdem Soyarslan; Capella Cracoviensis/Jan Tomasz Adamus
CATALOGUE NO: 483 0004


The liner notes for Adriano in Siria, Pergolesi’s 1734 setting of Metastasio’s drama of resistance and romantic intrigue in Roman-occupied Antioch, contain a startling piece of information. At some point (or points) during the Naples performances, Adriano was interrupted by a parallel production of Pergolesi’s comic intermezzo, Livietta e Tracollo.

If historical reconstructions are your bag, you can watch Livietta e Tracollo on YouTube between discs. In fact, I’d recommend it. Though Jan Tomasz Adamus and Capella Cracoviensis do their utmost to enliven Adriano in Siria in this recording, the score sags, drags and begs the question why Pergolesi, so vivacious in his comedies and so audaciously expressive in his sacred music, wrote an opera seria in which nine out of ten arias are set in 4/4 time.

Fury, desolation and joy speak in similar registers, tempos, instrumentation and keys, with the exception of Farnaspe’s extended Act I lament with oboe obbligato, ‘Lieto cosi talvolta’. As Farnaspe, Franco Fagioli traverses two octaves of fioritura seamlessly, many times, and is well-matched by Yuriy Myenko as a suave Adriano. Tenor Juan Sancho has juicier recitatives to work with as Osroa, King of Parthia and arsonist, and does so with swagger. Sopranos Dilyara Idrisova and Cigdem Soyarslan deliver the secondary roles of Sabina and Aquilio neatly. Romina Basso makes some delicious sounds as Emirena, beloved by Adriano and Farnaspe, but is excruciatingly out of tune in the farewell duet. The closing coro is barely 15 seconds long, which, all things considered, is quite enough.


Anna Picard