Gluck: Ezio

Alan Curtis / Il Complesso Barocco

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Gluck: Ezio Review

by Stephen Eddins

Gluck wrote his opera seria Ezio in 1750 for production in Prague. (In 1762, after the formal and stylistic breakthroughs of Orfeo ed Euridice, he revised the opera for a Vienna production, but it's the original version that's recorded here.) The opera has many of the characteristics of Italian late Baroque opera; it's essentially a series of arias separated by accompanied recitatives, the formula that the composer reacted against in Orfeo. It's not Gluck at his most innovative or original, but it's a fine example of opera seria, with a number of impressive arias and some very expressive recitatives, and it can make quite an impact in a performance as fine as this one. Alan Curtis has a deep understanding of what makes early opera tick, and he conducts Il Complesso Barocco in an elegant, engaging performance that has plenty of momentum. The recording comes from a live 2008 concert performance at Théâtre de Poissy, but there is absolutely no audience noise, and the sound is immaculate and well-balanced. All the soloists are absolutely superb, and although this was a concert rather than a staged performance they convey a heady dramatic heat in their interactions. Contralto Sonia Prina exudes masculine aggressiveness in the title role and delivers Ezio's aria "Se fedele mi brama il regnant," a coloratura tour-de-force, with dazzling command. Tenor Topi Lehtipuu seems to grow in artistic stature with each new recording he makes, and he comes across with great dramatic force and effortless vocal agility. His aria "Se povero il ruscello" is one of the highlights of the album (and also of the opera; Gluck recognized this and lifted it for use in Orfeo ed Euridice). It's easy to hear the growth in countertenor Max Cencic's already formidable assurance and vocal distinctiveness. Highly recommended for fans of late Baroque or early Classical opera.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Ezio
1 Il Complesso Barocco / Alan Curtis 02:45 Amazon
2 Il Complesso Barocco / Alan Curtis 02:35 Amazon
3 Il Complesso Barocco / Alan Curtis 01:13 Amazon
4 Il Complesso Barocco / Alan Curtis 00:39 Amazon
5 Il Complesso Barocco / Alan Curtis 00:57 Amazon
6 Il Complesso Barocco / Alan Curtis 07:50 Amazon
7 Il Complesso Barocco / Alan Curtis 03:09 Amazon
8 Il Complesso Barocco / Alan Curtis 06:34 Amazon
9 Il Complesso Barocco / Alan Curtis 01:00 Amazon
10 Il Complesso Barocco / Alan Curtis 05:41 Amazon
11 Il Complesso Barocco / Alan Curtis 01:17 Amazon
12 Il Complesso Barocco / Alan Curtis 01:35 Amazon
13 Il Complesso Barocco / Alan Curtis 07:09 Amazon
14 Il Complesso Barocco / Alan Curtis 03:15 Amazon
15 Il Complesso Barocco / Alan Curtis 01:05 Amazon
16 Il Complesso Barocco / Alan Curtis 01:48 Amazon
17 Il Complesso Barocco / Alan Curtis 06:57 Amazon
18 Il Complesso Barocco / Alan Curtis 01:18 Amazon
19 Il Complesso Barocco / Alan Curtis 02:09 Amazon
20 Il Complesso Barocco / Alan Curtis 00:39 Amazon
21 Il Complesso Barocco / Alan Curtis 09:38 Amazon

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Ezio
1 Il Complesso Barocco / Alan Curtis 02:29 Amazon
2 Il Complesso Barocco / Alan Curtis 07:15 Amazon
3 Il Complesso Barocco / Alan Curtis 00:41 Amazon
4 Il Complesso Barocco / Alan Curtis 03:50 Amazon
5 Il Complesso Barocco / Alan Curtis 01:38 Amazon
6 Il Complesso Barocco / Alan Curtis 01:28 Amazon
7 Il Complesso Barocco / Alan Curtis 00:40 Amazon
8 Il Complesso Barocco / Alan Curtis 05:17 Amazon
9 Il Complesso Barocco / Alan Curtis 03:22 Amazon
10 Il Complesso Barocco / Alan Curtis 05:54 Amazon
11 Il Complesso Barocco / Alan Curtis 00:47 Amazon
12 Il Complesso Barocco / Alan Curtis 07:14 Amazon
13 Il Complesso Barocco / Alan Curtis 02:02 Amazon
14 Il Complesso Barocco / Alan Curtis 03:06 Amazon
15 Il Complesso Barocco / Alan Curtis 03:26 Amazon
16 Il Complesso Barocco / Alan Curtis 03:17 Amazon
17 Il Complesso Barocco / Alan Curtis 04:19 Amazon
18 Il Complesso Barocco / Alan Curtis 01:05 Amazon
19 Il Complesso Barocco / Alan Curtis 01:07 Amazon
20 Il Complesso Barocco / Alan Curtis 07:03 Amazon
21 Il Complesso Barocco / Alan Curtis 02:20 Amazon
22 Il Complesso Barocco / Alan Curtis 04:40 Amazon
23 Il Complesso Barocco / Alan Curtis 02:28 Amazon
24 Il Complesso Barocco / Alan Curtis 01:44 Amazon
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