Veni, Vidi, Vinci – countertenor arias from Il trionfo di Camilla, L’Ernelinda, Siroe – re di Persia, Gismondo – re di Polonoa, La Rosmira fedele ‘Partenope’, Alessandro nelle Indie and Il Medo,
Franco Fagioli (countertenor); Il P’omo d’Oro
DG 483 8358 69:44 mins
This is the latest recording by the Argentinian countertenor Franco Fagioli of items from 18th-century operatic repertoire. He has chosen well here. They are all taken from the last decade of the life of the underrated composer Leonardo Vinci (who seems to have been poisoned by a jealous husband in 1730), and are full of lyrical elegance, dance-like wit and ravishing ornament.
Fagioli is best in bravura displays such as those found in ‘Vil trofeo d’un’alma imbelle’, a brilliant contest between voice and trumpets. His voice is also capable of touching tenderness, as we hear in ‘Sento due fiamme’, though his higher notes occasionally produce a certain scratchiness. Two of the tracks (‘Sembro quell’usignuolo’ and ‘Quell’usignolo’) contain ‘birdsong’ arias where the singer imitates a nightingale: both seem to be performed rather fast so the effect is not enjoyed, and the first is barely distinguishable from a bravura aria.
Although his technique is good we rarely sense the emotions involved – in ‘Gelo di ogni vena’, for example, he tells us the events ‘fill me with terror’, though we would never guess from the sound. The orchestral playing is supportive, and sometimes delicately and effectively alert (‘Nube di denso orrore’).