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Che puro ciel - The Rise of Classical Opera Import


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Audio CD, Import, November 12, 2013
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Che puro ciel - The Rise of Classical Opera + Arias for Caffarelli + Rivals: Arias for Farinelli
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Product Details

  • Performer: Bejun Mehta
  • Orchestra: Akademie fur Alte Musik Berlin
  • Conductor: Rene Jacobs
  • Composer: Various
  • Audio CD (November 12, 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Harmonia Mundi
  • ASIN: B00F65N40W
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #216,874 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

In the famous Preface to Alceste, Christoph Willibald Gluck and his librettist Ranieri de' Calzabigi posited a new direction for opera. They spoke of moving beyond Baroque forms, of striving for a new naturalism in opera. They wanted, in Calzabigi's words, to ''liberate the language of the heart.'' Taken from the height of this Reform period, the arias on Che pur ciel reveal composers exploring and experimenting, at struggle and at play, as they create the new forms that bring to opera the noble simplicity of the Classical era. The remarkable countertenor Bejun Mehta is the featured soloist, accompanied by the Akademie fur Alte Musik Berlin led by Rene Jacobs.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Abert TOP 1000 REVIEWER on March 19, 2014
Format: Audio CD
The selection in Bejun Mehta’s new solo album with Harmonic Mundi contains works from Gluck (Orfeo and Ezio), Traetta (Antigona and Ifigenia in Tauride), Mozart (Ascanio in Alba and Mitridate), JC Bach (Artaserse) and Hasse (Il Trionfo del Clelia). The contents of this album reflect the operatic music of which W.A. Mozart would have known as a teenager.
First the less good news - the title cut — Gluck's Orfeo, proves the only less-than-compelling piece on the disc. I have listened and re-listened to this track many times to decipher the cause, for I have more confidence in Mehta’s singing as most other reviewers put it. Is it because that this particular part of the role doesn't match Mehta’s best tessitura? Why does his scale works here sounds less even than in the rest of the program? The fact that the solo vocal line constantly sings against a less than well-tuned accompaniment (recorders, I gather) provides not insubstantial obstacle to an accurate perception of Mehta’s singing: there is really no pitch problem with Mehta, just that the constant dissonance with that instrument provides great distraction to the ears of the listeners (listen to the opening introduction before Mehta sings: the dissonance and pitch problem of the recorder is already there). These have a more devastating effect on the perception of the entire album than the producer might have realised.
The better news are that the music contains real treasures like the dialogue between Orestes and a chorus of Furies in Traetta's 1763 Ifigenia en Tauride, with Mehta as Oreste. The rarely heard Traetta, who spent part of his career in musically remote St. Petersburg, are really the biggest find here. Here as elsewhere in this album, Mehta’s variety of attack, musical phrasing and precision in dynamics compel admiration.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Pittsinger on January 8, 2014
Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
The pieces selected here are a real treat -- some well known, others not. The conducting and the instrumental playing are marvelous and inspired, as usual from Jacobs and his crew. The singing is competent, full of thoughtful intent and has moments of real beauty. Mehta's voice is perhaps not what it was ten years ago, it sounds quite difficult for him to navigate the middle to lower portions and the top is starting to have a shrill edge to it. It is still capable of so much grace and beauty, I just do not think these selections are good vehicles for that. I would love to hear him sing some Monteverdi or Cavalli.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Michael Blain on December 23, 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Mehta presents a different range of music, following on the recent successful countertenor releases of baroque arias. He shows how the baroque idiom of Vinci or Vivaldi and Handel flows on into Mozart and the classical period. His intonation is not always secure, but the artistry is outstanding otherwise.
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