Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Nicola Porpora - Orlando - Otero, Real Compania Opera de Camara







It seems like the treasure-trove of Baroque opera will never end. Nicola Porpora was an almost exact contemporary of Handel, and a worthy rival from the evidence of this recording. This is a very satisfying performance of a wonderfulNicola Porpora opera. The quality of the writing is very high; none of this would be out of place in any opera by Handel. The recitatives are if anything more dramatic and striking than Handel's, the accompanied recitatives full of invention, and the arias full of beauty. There is perhaps a lack of vocal pyrotechnics in the fast arias, but the lyrical ones verge on the sublime. The one duet is particularly striking. The orchestral writing in the overture and sinfonias is very powerful, with a contrapuntal richness that Handel rarely attempted in his opera overtures. All in all, a very fine recording by an unjustly neglected master. One interesting fact about Porpora: he outlived Handel by almost 10 years, and ended up in Vienna as a music teacher, where one of his star pupils was... Joseph Haydn! 



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