Provenzale: La colomba ferita

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COMPOSERS: Provenzale
LABELS: Opus 111
WORKS: La colomba ferita
PERFORMER: Gloria Banditelli, Roberta Invernizzi, Giuseppe De Vittorio, Giuseppe Naviglio; Cappella de’Turchini/ Antonio Florio
CATALOGUE NO: OPS 30-208/9
The final release of Francesco Provenzale’s opera sacra La colomba ferita fully lives up to the expectations created in Naples when the work was recorded last autumn (see last month’s Recording Report). Composed in the early 1670s but forgotten until a decade ago, this extraordinary work tells the tale of St Rosalie, who falls in rather earthly love with Christ and ends up being buried in a cave but (in the lovely ‘Sposo mio’) united with her celestial Bridegroom. While the work is sacred, Provenzale and his librettist, Giuseppe Castaldo, have ingeniously worked in some colourful contrasts. The exchanges between the Calabrian (Giuseppe Naviglio) and Scaccia, a Neapolitan (Giuseppe De Vittorio) – both ne’er-do-wells – are brilliantly realised, while the Angel and the Demon (Roberto Invernizzi and Luca Dordolo), vying for Rosalia’s soul, are caricatures par excellence.

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But heading the cast is Gloria Banditelli as Rosalia, given some ravishing music to sing and a pretty ravishing voice to sing it with; she is well supported by Daniela Del Monaco as her maid Antonia (and, oddly, her suitor Balduino). Throughout, Antonio Florio directs the Capella de’Turchini with abundant spirit and spirituality. Stephen Pettitt