WORKS: Armida al campo d’Egitto
PERFORMER: Furio Zanasi, Marina Comparato, Romina Basso, Martín Oro, Sara Mingardo, Monica Bacelli, Rafaella Milanesi; Concerto Italiano/Rinaldo Alessandrini
CATALOGUE NO: OP 30492
Only the music of Acts I and III of Armida al campo d’Egitto (1718), both of them autograph, have been preserved. To present the surviving material Frédéric Delamea, author of an informative accompanying essay, and conductor Rinaldo Alessandrini have created a pasticcio to accommodate the surviving Act II text.
Three of the original arias are known from other sources while the remainder has been lifted from other Vivaldi operas and gently adjusted to fit Armida’s libretto. Alessandrini himself has written the music for four short soldiers’ choruses – one of them, ‘Al solo folgare’, sounds decidedly un-Vivaldian – and for the recitatives.
Sara Mingardo’s dark-coloured voice suits the character of the title role. Her Act I exit aria ‘Armata di furore’ comes off splendidly, with emphasis placed on musicality rather than distracting histrionics, and her spirited aria ‘Tender lacci’ (Act III) offers colourful diversion by the unexpected arrival of two horns in an otherwise essentially string-textured opera.
Furio Zanasi’s Caliph is resonant though his warrior side is underplayed. His strikingly French-sounding aria ‘So, che combatte ancor’ (Act I) is rewardingly declaimed and notably for Zanasi’s lyrical pursuit of Vivaldi’s melodic line. It is Romina Basso’s proud warrior Adrasto, though, who steals the show with her mellifluous agility and graceful articulation.
The aria ‘Agitata de’ venti dall’onte’ (Act III) provides the evidence. A fine three-movement Sinfonia sets the seal on a fascinating rehabilitation. Nicholas Anderson