Antonio Florio, cond; Sonia Prina (
); Maria Grazia Schiavo (
); Maria Erlocano (
); Eufemia Tufano (
); Stefano Ferrari (
); I Turchini di Antonio Florini
DYNAMIC (2 DVDs: 168:00) Live: Auditorio V. Villegas, Murcia 4-5/2011
This can only be recommended to the baroque specialist who collects everything. In
36:3, Barry Brenesal reviewed Dynamic’s CD version of this same performance, and he was appropriately unenthusiastic. The addition of the visual element fails to rescue what is a mediocre performance of a generally uninteresting opera. Leonardo Vinci’s dates are 1690-1730, and he was apparently well known during his life as a composer of operas. Despite the popularity of his output then, it has not lasted, and one can see why. There is little that lifts this music above the level of the ordinary.
The DVD issue does provide texts in the form of subtitles, an improvement over the lack of a libretto with the CD, but the mind wanders not long into the proceedings, and knowing the text doesn’t really help.
Everything Brenesal said is right on the money. Sonia Prina in the title role produces an uneven, unsteady tone with register breaks and a lack of true legato. Maria Erlocano’s Arsace is brilliant in coloratura passages, but unsteady and occasionally out of tune when she is sustaining tone at mezzoforte and louder. The men are particularly weak.
I did not hear the CD issue, and do not know if it included some production nonsense that precedes the opera and some of its scenes, with a new character named Eurilla who pretends to be a Spaniard from the locale of the story, and who speaks and sings—he/she is a character in drag whose purpose I fail to understand, and who is not explained in the notes.
I don’t know if the close-in sound is responsible for the rather hard string tone, or if that is the result of a “historically informed” approach, but my ears want a bit more warmth to the string sound. Dynamic does not identify specifically if this video came from performances or rehearsals, and I suspect it is a mixture of both. There is applause after some numbers, but not others.
The stage production is traditional, rather static, with attractive sets and costumes. Marco Scalfi’s direction for the camera is quite sensitive, lingering rather than flitting as so many do. Despite that, however, I cannot imagine that I will ever watch this again.