Franco Fagioli’s latest solo album presents rediscovered treasures by Neapolitan opera composer Leonardo Vinci.
Veni, Vidi, Vinci features a dozen da capo arias, including seven world premiere recordings, with arias from Il trionfo di Camilla, Gismondo re di Polonia, L’Ernelinda, Alessandro nell’Indie, and Medo. It will be released on 8 May. The recording follows in the wake of Handel Arias, noted by Gramophone for its “coloratura thrills”, “range of vocal brushstrokes” and “dramatic conviction”.
Leonardo Vinci (1690 – 1730) was one of the great pioneers of Neapolitan opera. His music captivated eighteenth-century audiences and continues to stir profound emotions with its virtuosity and expressive power. Naples set new trends in opera that spread like wildfire across Europe. Vinci revelled in the latest musical fashions, writing his first opera for Naples in his twenties and earning his reputation there with a series of comic works. His first serious opera was staged at the city’s Teatro San Bartolomeo in 1722, and was so successful that he switched focus and went on to help define the emerging genre of opera seria. During his lifetime the elegant simplicity of his melodies, his love for ornamentation and his leisurely rate of harmonic change influenced many other composers, including his pupil Pergolesi and older contemporaries such as Vivaldi and Handel. His style marked the beginnings of Classicism in music.
Veni, Vidi, Vinci opens with two showpiece arias from Il trionfo di Camilla, originally written for prima donna Faustina Bordoni in 1725. It continues with the accompanied recitative Ove corri? Ove vai? and the aria Sorge talora fosca l’aurora from L’Ernelinda, first staged at Naples in 1726.
The recording contains two arias from Medo (1728), first performed by the castrato Carlo Broschi (Farinelli), and the sublime Gelido in ogni vena from Siroe re di Persia (1726). Other highlights include Nave altera from Gismondo re di Polonia (1727) in which the rebellious prince Primislao wrestles to reconcile his desire for peace with his political pride; Vil trofeo which is a dialogue for high voice and solo trumpet from Alessandro nell’Indie (1730); and the pastoral aria Quell’usignolo ch’è innamorato from Gismondo with an evocation of nightingales from two obbligato recorders.
Find out more about Franco Fagioli here: Franco Fagioli answers the Gramilano Questionnaire
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano’) about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman’s Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia’ column for Dancing Times magazine.