Vinci: Catone in Utica

First given in Rome at the Teatro delle Dame in January 1728, Catone in Utica was the first collaboration between Leonardo Vinci and Metastasio. In accordance with the Papal decree forbidding women on the Roman opera stage, it was given with an all-male cast, a format followed in this first recording, with countertenors taking the female parts.

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Monteverdi: L’Orfeo

This is a re-packaging of a popular staging of Orfeo which previously appeared as an opusArte DVD, and which I saw at the Edinburgh Festival (with a slightly different cast) a few years ago. Savall swept into the auditorium with a flowing black gown (looking for all the world like Professor Snape on a mission) and the music burst forth.

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Weber: Silvana

An opera in which the heroine doesn’t sing? Well, I suppose many of us will have experienced performances that inspired the feeling that it might be an improvement, but this is the only example I know of where the part was written in such a way. The first of Weber’s operas to achieve some success, Silvana has its roots in the composer’s first operatic venture, Das Waldmädchen of 1800.

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