Draghi: El Prometeo

CD cover of Draghi El prometeo

Fabio Trümpy, Scott Conner, Mariana Flores, Giussepina Bridelli, Borja Quiza, Zachary Wilder, Ana Quintans, Kamil Ben Hsaïn Lachiri, Victor Torrès, Anna Reinhold, Alejandro Meerapfel, Lucía Martín-Cartón, Chœur de Chambre de Namur, Cappella Mediterranea, Leonardo Gracía Alarcón
128:34 (2 CDs in a card tryptych)
Alpha Classics Alpha 582

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Antonio Draghi’s opera on the Prometheus legend sets his own libretto and was first performed in Vienna in 1669 in honour of the birthday of the Queen of Spain, a member of the House of Habsburg. In addition to translating his libretto from Italian into Spanish for the occasion, Draghi introduces several Spanish features into his setting, but essentially he is transplanting the Venetian operatic tradition to Vienna, where it will flourish and flow so successfully into the classical operatic masterpieces of the late 18th century. This important opera has been prevented from taking its proper place in the operatic canon by dint of the shocking fact that Draghi’s music for Act 3 has disappeared without trace! The present ‘complete’ recording has been possible only after the intervention of the director Leonardo García Alarcón, whose Promethean ‘recomposition’ of the missing music has brought the opera back to life. Recorded in the Dijon Opera house as part of an extended tour, the CDs manage to capture an authentic ambience without any extraneous noises. As is so often the case when works are reconstructed, the most remarkable passages turn out to be in the original score, and this is definitely true here as in the remarkably adventurous chorus which concludes Act II. Here and elsewhere, Draghi shows himself to be a harmonically daring composer, as well as a considerable master of the lyrical melody and the dramatically charged ensemble. Alarcón has assembled an excellent line-up of soloists and a splendid chorus for this recording, and you can tell that this recording has matured as a staged production. They are ably accompanied by the instrumental Cappella Mediterranea in a recording which should do much to restore this overlooked opera and its remarkable composer to their rightful place in the operatic pantheon.

D. James Ross