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GRAMOPHONE (02/2011)
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Reviewer: Richard Lawrence

Naïve’s Vivaldi Edition maintains high standards with this tenor aria selection

Following Ian Bostridge’s “Three Baroque Tenors” (EMI, 12/10), this recording could be entitled “Three Vivaldi Tenors”. More than three, actually, but the booklet-note concentrates on Annibale Pio Fabri, Antonio Barbieri and Giovanni Paita. Not all the arias here have a singer’s name attached: however, the leader seems to be Fabri, who is one of the Bostridge trio.
Only one aria is on both discs, and that is “La tiranna avversa sorte” from Arsilda, where a prince vows to gain the throne that is rightfully his. On the Bostridge disc, the repeated notes in the strings are forceful, even spiky: here they are smooth but no less intense, a feature also of Topi Lehtipuu’s singing. Vivaldi composed another setting of the same text, and that too is here: a forthright piece in the major, sung with appropriately heroic tone.

The third of the four excerpts from Arsilda, “Va per selve”, was apparently discarded early on. It’s a metaphor aria, a striking five-note ostinato representing an angry lion prowling through the forests. Lehtipuu conjures up the raging beast with gusto, and he is good at furious jealousy in another aria composed for Fabri, “Col furor” from L ‘incoronazione di Dario. In both arias, and elsewhere, the conductor indulges in an annoying trick of pausing before the last note of the final ritornello.

There are two choruses, both from Dorilla in Tempe: the first anticipates the Furies in Gluck’s Orfeo and Euridice, the second — a charming surprise — is a reworking of “Spring” from The Four Seasons. Lehtipuu is an engaging singer, and this well-chosen programme does Vivaldi a great service.


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