Magdalena Kozená Sings Vivaldi

Magdalena Kožená / Andrea Marcon

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Magdalena Kozená Sings Vivaldi Review

by Stephen Eddins

Due at least in part to Naïve's growing catalogue of exemplary recordings of the relatively obscure operas of Antonio Vivaldi, more and more singers are happily turning to his vast operatic output as a source of new material. Czech mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kozená brings an earthy emotionality to this selection of arias that is weighted toward the ravishingly lyrical, but which also includes the floridly virtuosic. While she is fully invested in each role, and brings intelligently considered and emotionally committed characterizations to each of the arias, her singing is, in a way, self effacing; she is clearly more interested in the characters and the music than in making a show of her own voice, and that make her performances all the more appealing. Kozená's voice is warm and radiant, with an especially luminous middle and brilliant top. While her lower register doesn't have the strength and volume of Marilyn Horne, or her closer contemporaries like Viveca Genaux or Elina Garanca, the arias here that highlight the low end of her voice tend to be laments, which don't require ferocious power. Her ability to create soaring, long-breathed legato phrases is exceptional. Standout selections include the lyrical, lovely "Gelido in ogni vena," from Farnace, "Mentre dormi Amor fomenti," from L'Olimpiade, and especially the limpid "Sol da te, mio dolce amore," from Orlando Furioso, and the coloratura "Armatae face et anguibus," from the oratorio, Juditha Triumphans. Venice Baroque Orchestra, led by Andrea Marcon, tends to be overly weighted toward the bass, and comes off as heavy and pounding in the fast arias, but is more balanced in the lyrical selections. The soloists who provide instrumental obbligatos deserve special commendation. Archiv's sound is clean and present.

Track Listing

Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Tito Manlio, RV 738
1 Magdalena Kožená / Andrea Marcon 02:54 Amazon
Juditha Triumphans Devictr Holofernes Barbarie, RV 644
2 Magdalena Kožená / Andrea Marcon 03:22 Amazon
La Verità In Cimento, RB 739
3 Magdalena Kožená / Andrea Marcon 02:58 Amazon
Farnace, RV 711
4 Magdalena Kožená / Andrea Marcon 09:23 Amazon
Arsilor, Regina Di Ponto, RV 700
5 Magdalena Kožená / Andrea Marcon 04:14 Amazon
Orlando Furioso, RV 728
6 Magdalena Kožená / Andrea Marcon 09:31 Amazon
Ottone In Villa, RV 729
7 Magdalena Kožená / Andrea Marcon 04:35 Amazon
Orlando Furioso, RV 728
8 Magdalena Kožená / Andrea Marcon 04:08 Amazon
Farnace, RV 711
9 Magdalena Kožená / Andrea Marcon 07:22 Amazon
La Verità In Cimento, RV 739
10 Magdalena Kožená / Andrea Marcon 04:26 Amazon
Griselda, RV 718
11 Magdalena Kožená / Andrea Marcon 04:31 Amazon
L'Incoronazione Di Dario, RV 719
12 Magdalena Kožená / Andrea Marcon 05:51 Amazon
Orlando Finto Pazzo, RV 727
13 Magdalena Kožená / Andrea Marcon 04:13 Amazon
14 Magdalena Kožená / Andrea Marcon 01:55 Amazon
L'Olimpirde, RV 725
15 Magdalena Kožená / Andrea Marcon 07:56 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick