Porpora: Carlo Il Calvo

Carlo il Calvo – ‘Charles the Bald’ – was first performed in 1738 at Rome’s leading opera house, the Teatro delle Dame. Porpora’s opera is based on a Venetian libretto dating from 1699 which, under various titles, has been set to music by composers such as Vinacessi, Keller, Alessandro Scarlatti, Orlandini and Telemann. The score has been preserved at the Conservatory in Naples. The plot is set in that period of the early Middle Ages when Charlemagne’s Europe was disintegrating at the hands of his quarrelling heirs. It’s distinctive feature is that the titular hero is a child. In contrast to his colleagues, Porpora even gives him some verses to sing. Louis the German, Charles’ half-brother and Charlemagne’s grandson, abducts the legitimate heir to the throne in order to rob him of his sovereignty. This provides Charles’s mother with the opportunity for heart-wrenching scenes of despair and breathtaking outbursts of felling. On the stage of the premiere were acclaimed singing stars of baroque Europe. The vocal demands are correspondingly exorbitant: in this premiere recording sovereignly and first-class interpreted by Franco Fagioli (Adalgiso), Max Emanuel Cencic (Lottario), Julia Lezhneva (Gildippe), Suzanne Jerosme (Giuditta), Petr Nekoranec (Asprando), Bruno de Sá (Berardo) and Nian Wang (Eduige) with Armonia Atenea under George Petrou.

“Allen voran glänzt der Star der Counterszene, Franco Fagioli, als Adalgiso mit seiner Schwindel erregenden Technik, die selbst in den tieferen Registern noch trägt. Fagioli kommt wohl der Qualität der früheren Kastraten in seiner virtuosen Auszierung des Notentextes sehr nahe. Seine großen Arien und das ausladende Duett mit Julia Lezhneva markieren die absoluten Höhepunkte der Einspielung.”

Klassik begeistert

Album info

Release Date: December 14, 2022
Label: Parnassus Arts