Countertenor Max Emanuel Cencic has emerged as a new star of the specialty partly through fearless programming, and this collection of Arie Napoletane, Neapolitan arias or arias from Naples, is no exception. There really isn't a "Neapolitan school." Rather, Naples was on the musical cutting edge in the second quarter of the 18th century, and the arias here represent both a classic opera seria style, in the pieces by the massively prolific Alessandro Scarlatti, and music by the composers who pointed the way toward the melodically simpler future of Gluck and eventually Mozart, like Leonardo Leo and Leonardo Vinci. These latter are hardly household names, and Cencic, offering several recorded premieres, renders a valuable service simply by finding and choosing the deliberate and sensuous arias heard here. Moreover, the album's stylistic contrasts play to Cencic's strengths.
"Et si notre Univers n’était qu’un parmi d’autres ? Et si chaque homme possédait une infinité de doubles ? Idée folle ? Pas si sûr…Multivers, mégavers, plurivers…
"…First of all, Bruch's music is totally great; there's not a dull moment anywhere in Arminius. It is rousing, heroic, compelling, and follows a libretto that makes strong dramatic hay of its distant historical event in musical terms that certainly would have caused the sun to shine for its intended audience. The orchestration is thrilling, the choral writing bountiful, and the soloists here put over their parts in an effective way without overdoing it. Max of course is best known for conducting Baroque music, but in this two-disc set Max decisively puts his best foot forward…" ~allmusicguide
Vivaldi's operas were virtually unknown until the late decades of the 20th century, but by the early years of the 21st more and more were coming to light, on recordings if not to the same extent on-stage, and some have been recorded multiple times, thanks to the dedicated research of early music specialists and the emergence of a spate of first-rate counter tenors. Such is the case with Farnace, which receives its second recording on the Virgin Classics label with counter tenor Max Emanuel Cencic leading an extraordinary cast of soloists. Diego Fasolis conducts the period instrument orchestra I Barocchisti and Coro della Radiotelevisione Svizzera, Lugano, in a vibrant reading of the score.Review by Stephen Eddins