With The Muse Surmounted, Homophone Records compiled a number of inglorious cases in recorded history where female singers, having more chutzpah than talent, proudly came forward with their battered and bruised renditions of operatic favorites, mostly of the coloratura variety. That was a hoot, but Doremi's Giulia Casiraghi: Vivaldi: Arias for Mezzo-Soprano is comparatively disconcerting as this is supposed to be a serious Vivaldi album. Vivaldi's vocal music is by most accounts the most difficult to be found in the Baroque, so vocalists who take it on shouldn't try to do it unless they're (a) ready and (b) a singer of the caliber of Angelina Reaux or Catherine Bott. Italian mezzo Giulia Casiraghi is certainly not ready to sing Vivaldi, any more than she appears to be ready to have her picture taken in the dreadfully unflattering, driver's license quality photograph on the front cover. As to caliber -- well, she has a long way to go to reach Reaux. Casiraghi sings flat throughout, swallows practically everything she sings, and sounds as though she is always on the verge of breaking into tears. Her Vivaldi, instead of being crisp and fleet, sounds sometimes like a turkey gobbling away and at others like something bubbling up from the bottom of the bath. The sluggish Strings Ensemble Archimede (sic) tries to pace her, but get caught up in confusion at points, and the lead violinist is a tad sharp, adding an interesting harmonic tincture in parallel to Casiraghi's flatness. This Doremi release is a party record for those who value the follies and foibles found in "records that should not be made," but for the rest of us, particularly those who value Vivaldi's vocal music, should do everything within our power to keep this one out of reach.
AllMusic Review by Uncle Dave Lewis
|Orlando furioso, opera in 3 acts, RV 728|
|Juditha triumphans devicta Holofernes barbarie, oratorio in 2 parts, RV 644|
|Alla caccia dell'alme e de' cori, cantata for voice & continuo, RV 670|
|Magnificat, for 2 vocal soloists, chorus, strings & continuo in G minor (Venice Version), RV 611|
|Nisi Dominus (Psalm 126), for voice, viola d'amore, strings & continuo in G minor, RV 608|