Stream Online

This surprising CD may cause some raised eyebrows from Monteverdi purists, but they are sure to be taken in and convinced by the performances. Emmanuelle Haim is an early-Baroque specialist who believes in a full-bodied approach to the repertoire–no white-voiced, lightly-touching-the-music for her–and she makes it work without ever distorting or going against what is on the printed page. This recording is her boldest yet. Haim uses the warm-toned young tenor Rolando Villazon and soprano Patrizia Ciofi, both known for their roles in 19th-century opera, and Topi Lehtipuu, a fuller-voiced tenor than usual for Monteverdi, in some of the composer’s most dramatic works, and each comes brilliantly to life. The long Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda is an exciting narrative of war, death, and forgiveness. With Villazon as the narrator and Haim’s instrumentalists offering big-boned playing, the result is almost cinematic. The shorter pieces are just as effective, with Patrizia Ciofi’s expressive “Ohimé” opening the mock lament “Ohimé ch’io cado” with remarkable emphasis and Topi Lehtipuu as involved and musical in his solos as he is duetting with Villazon. This CD will make early-music people appreciate operatic voices and opera lovers pay more attention to 17th-century music. A breathtaking disc. –Robert Levine

Album Info

Label: ‎ Virgin Classics
Original Release Date: December 8, 2006
ASIN: ‎ B000F3T3D2