Jean-Christophe Spinosi / Ensemble Matheus

Antonio Vivaldi: La fida ninfa

(CD - Naïve #30410)

Review by

Naïve has set itself the daunting task of recording all the works of the Antonio Vivaldi from the collection at the Biblioteca Nazionale Universitaria in Turin, about 450 works in all. The composer wrote nearly 50 operas, of which 15 are in this collection, and Naïve is doing a splendid job of presenting them to modern audiences with the utmost care, professionalism, and passion. This recording of La fida ninfa (1732), featuring some of the most expert performers of Baroque opera, won a prestigious Diapason d'Or award. Jean-Christophe Spinosi leads the French ensemble Matheus in a performance of enormously supple energy and musical finesse. Both elements are essential for this repertoire; the music demands the highest level of show-stopping virtuosity, both from the singers and the instrumentalists, but without being driven of a sure sense of the drama, it could come off merely as pyrotechnic note-spinning. Spinosi and his performers are fully successful in exposing the opera's dramatic contours, and in mining the emotional depth of the characters. The soloists, without exception, demonstrate complete mastery of Baroque performance practice, and they bring their characters to life with distinctive individuality without sacrificing wonderfully pure tone. Soprano Sandrine Piau is especially breathtaking in the precision and agility of her stratospheric coloratura. The other principals, soprano Verónica Cangemi, contralto Marie-Nicole Lemieux, bass Lorenzo Regazzo, countertenor Philippe Jaroussky, and tenor Topi Lehtipuu are no less effective. La fida ninfa departs from the conventions of late Baroque operas in enough particulars to make especially intriguing; Vivaldi includes a number of small ensembles, often significantly alters the da capo sections of the arias, and is not afraid of making startling metric shifts for dramatic effect. Naïve's sound is crystal clear, with excellent presence and balance.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Title/Composer Performer Time
L' Olimpiade, opera in 3 acts, RV 725
1
2:06
2
2:07
3
0:59
La Fida ninfa, opera in 3 acts, RV 714
4
3:06
5
3:43
6
1:15
7
6:30
8
1:43
9
2:40
10
2:59
11
1:04
12
1:34
13
2:18
14
0:31
15
5:54
16
0:59
17
2:31
18
4:51
19
1:42
20
3:36
21
0:53
22
1:07
23
1:56
24
3:17

Track Listing - Disc 2

Title/Composer Performer Time
La Fida ninfa, opera in 3 acts, RV 714
1
2:04
2
5:48
3
0:40
4
0:50
5
2:31
6
6:00
7
1:37
8
9:07
9
2:05
10
6:45
11
0:30
12
1:35
13
2:43
14
2:31
15
1:11
16
1:11
17
3:34
18
0:50
19
5:00
20
0:43
21
4:36
22
1:25
23
2:49

Track Listing - Disc 3

Title/Composer Performer Time
La Fida ninfa, opera in 3 acts, RV 714
1
1:30
2
3:53
3
0:29
4
0:25
5
0:43
6
1:57
7
0:51
8
0:48
9
2:41
10
0:56
11
5:05
12
0:37
13
1:35
14
0:54
15
2:35
16
3:26
17
0:46
18
2:50
19
1:15
20
2:42
21
2:02
22
2:50
23
3:21
24
3:20
25
2:04
26
0:54
27
0:50
28
1:02
29
2:29
30
0:25
31
0:58
32
0:36
33
1:33
34
0:55
35
0:16
36
1:18
37
1:12
38
0:45
39
0:43
blue highlight denotes track pick