Vivaldi: Gloria

[Julia] Lezhneva soprano, [Franco] Fagioli countertenor, [Diego] Fasolis, I Barocchisti, Coro della Radiotelevisione svizzera
59:16
Decca 00289 483 3874
+Nisi Dominus, Nulla in mundo

There is much to enjoy here; the choral singing is excellent, the instrumental playing first rate, and – be you a fan of the two super-star singers or not – amazing singing. There is a problem, though; ‘Two soloists in Vivaldi’s Gloria?’ I hear you ask… Well yes – why hire a second soprano for the duets if you have the “distinctive and almost feminine sound” of Franco Fagioli in the room? It seems to me a cruel irony that these words were chosen from the reams of critical acclaim the man has had to tag on the back of a CD of music that was written for a woman. In these days of rows over non-Latino singers taking the lead role in West Side Story  and cultural misappropriation when an American high school girl wears a Chinese dress to her prom, countertenors need to watch their step. His performance of Nisi Dominus is very convincing though, even if his box of tricks does not include a convincing trill. Julia Lezhneva’s contributions are almost flawless as usual, even taking time to subtly colour repeats of phrases (without OTT ornamentation or ostentation!) and the final Alleluia of her motet is the perfect close to a fine CD, even if there was plenty room for another contribution from the choir.

Brian Clark

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