Vivaldi: Giustino

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

LABELS: Virgin
WORKS: Giustino
PERFORMER: Dominique Labelle, Marina Comparato, Leonardo De Lisi, Geraldine McGreevy; Il Complesso Barocco/Alan Curtis
Giustino was written for the 1724 carnival season in Rome and was staged in the Teatro Capranica. The story, full of intrigue and crossed love, is set in the sixth century AD, at the time of Byzantine Emperor Justin I. Director Alan Curtis offers a mainly satisfying account of an attractive piece, while acknowledging the fact that he has made quite substantial cuts. Since Curtis has performed Giustino in at least 12 different venues over the past 17 years I am inclined to give him credit for sound judgement in this matter, though it is regrettable that the omitted arias could not have been annexed to the performance for the CD issue. The singing and playing is mostly accomplished, though not outstanding. Laura Cherici (Amanzio) is sometimes disappointing and Leonardo De Lisi (Vitaliano) is inclined to sing under the note; the quality of the string sound, too, is variable. As we might expect, there are some enchanting arias, such as Leocasta’s ravishing and very well sung (by Geraldine McGreevy) ‘Senti l’aura che leggiera’, which was later to turn up in Farnace and which also served as the third movement of a violin concerto; and the colourful instrumental colloquium includes a psaltery. A valuable addition to the Vivaldi discography. Nicholas Anderson