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Sopranista (Samuel Mariño)

Samuel Mariño (sopranist); La Cetra Barockorchester, Andrea Marcon (Decca)

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

Sopranista
Cimarosa: Resta in pace, idolo mio; Gluck: Che faro’ senza Euridice?; Mozart: Arias from Il re pastore; Le nozze di Figaro; Mitridate, Rè di Ponto; La Clemenza di Tito; Saint-Georges: L’amant anonyme – overture and arias
Samuel Mariño (sopranist); La Cetra Barockorchester, Andrea Marcon
Decca 485 2943   56:01 mins

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Like the Greek Aris Christofellis, who made some recordings as a sopranist for EMI in the 1990s, Venezuelan artist Samuel Mariño sings in a higher range than that of a countertenor. His tone is light, bright and graceful, as is much of his vocalism. The result is attractive and often expressive – though for true dramatic impact his diction could do with a good deal more clarity.

The second interesting thing is the repertoire: two arias from L’amant anonyme (1780) by the Paris based and multi-talented Joseph Bologne, the Chevalier de Saint-Georges, are new to disc. So is another aria from Domenico Cimarosa’s Oreste (1783); all are worth hearing, as is the overture to Saint-Georges’ opera – apparently the only one to survive (it enjoyed a revival in New York as recently as 2016).

There’s also an unfamiliar version of Gluck’s ‘Che farò’ in the composer’s own soprano edition (1769), which the performers take at quite a fast pace. Usually performed by a female mezzo, Cherubino’s aria ‘Voi che sapete’ from Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro goes well for the male soprano.

While Mariño clearly possesses a good dynamic range, his highly individual, often ethereal voice registers as on the slender side. Generally he appears happiest at the top of his range, especially in the exciting Oreste aria, though less so in the first from L’amant anonyme.

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George Hall