La Dori­clea

BBC Music Magazine - - Opera Reviews -

Em ke Baráth, Giusep­pina Bridelli, Xavier Sa­bata, Gabriella Martel­lacci, Luca Cer­voni, Ric­cardo No­varo; Il Pomo d’oro/an­drea De Carlo

Outhere A454 188:21 mins (3 discs)

‘Of all of Stradella’s op­eras, La Dori­clea is def­i­nitely the least known,’ writes Ar­naldo Morelli in a mag­nif­i­cent un­der­state­ment in the book­let es­say. We can only be grate­ful to An­drea de Carlo and Il Pomo d’oro that we are now bet­ter ac­quainted with this 17th-cen­tury story of lovers’ jeal­ousy, their be­tray­als and mis­taken iden­ti­ties which has a dis­tinctly modern feel about it.

In Dori­clea we have a hero­ine who is de­ter­mined to marry the man she loves rather than the hus­band her fa­ther has cho­sen for her, and a pair of older lovers, Gi­raldo and Del­fina, who are thor­oughly re­al­is­tic about the per­ils and pit­falls of the amorous life. This is in marked con­trast to Dori­clea and her Fi­dalbo and the other young lovers Lucinda and Celindo. It is a tale of courtly love with a sting in its tail, which maybe even mocks the aris­to­cratic airs and graces of its in­tended au­di­ence. Stradella’s slid­ing har­monies and ear for a heart­felt lament punc­ture the lovers’ pre­ten­sions and hint at real feel­ings even if the story flags a tad in the sec­ond act.

What saves the day is an ex­quis­ite duet at the be­gin­ning of Act III for Lucinda (Giusep­pina Bridelli) and Dori­clea, who is now dis­guised as Lin­doro. Em ke Baráth is a feisty Dori­clea and nowhere more so than in her en­counter with Xavier Sa­bata’s Fi­dalbo in Act II. But it’s Gabriella Martel­laci’s rich con­tralto as the worldly-wise Del­fina that lingers on the ear, and the mag­nif­i­cent mu­sic-mak­ing from Il Pomo d’oro. Christo­pher Cook PER­FOR­MANCE ★★★★ RECORD­ING ★★★★

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