Scherzi Musicali, Nicolas Achten – Giulio Caccini – L’Euridice (2008)

Composer: Giulio Caccini

Composition: L'Euridice

Performers: Scherzi Musicali, Nicolas Achten

Released: Ricercar / 2008

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Florentine composers Jacopo Peri and Giulio Caccini were fierce rivals. History may never confirm with certainty which composer was the first to complete a setting of Ottavio Rinuccini’s libretto for Euridice, but we do know that Peri’s Euridice was the first performed in October 1600 at the wedding celebration of Henry IV of France and Marie de’ Medici, and Caccini’s Euridice was the first published, in December of the same year. Peri’s opera has been occasionally performed and recorded, perhaps because of his historical significance as the composer of the first opera, Dafne, which appeared in 1598, but this is the first, long overdue recording of Caccini’s. This remarkable performance by Scherzi Musicali, led by Nicholas Achten, reveals Caccini’s opera as a work with the substance and depth to become standard for ensembles specializing in early Baroque repertoire. His vocal writing is fluid, with expressive recitatives and lovely, shapely ensembles. Like Monteverdi, Caccini shows a profound psychological understanding of the characters, expressed in writing that captures the subtly shifting emotions of the text. The vocal and instrumental performances are beyond reproach. Director Achten also plays theorbo and sings the role of Orfeo. All of the soloists have voices of exceptional purity and freshness. Based on photos in the booklet, most of them look like they are barely out of their teens, but there’s nothing juvenile about their performances; they sing with flawless technique, a solid grasp of appropriate performance practice, and probing insight. With the equally accomplished instrumental ensemble, they interact with the sensitivity and intimacy of a string quartet, with the result sounding like chamber music. Ricercar’s sound is clean and lively. Caccini’s Euridice is a revelation, and this superb recording should be of interest to any fans of early opera and of the early Baroque in general. (source: Allmusic)


Orfeo : Nicolas ACHTEN (baryton)
Euridice : Céline VIESLET (soprano)
Tragedia, Daphne : Magid EL-BUSHRA (contre-ténor)
Ninfa, Vénère : Marie de ROY (soprano)
Ninfa, Proserpina : Laurence RENSON (mezzo-soprano)
Arcetro, Caronte : Reinoud VAN MECHELEN (ténor)
Tirsi, Aminta, Plutone : Olivier BERTEN (baryton)
Sarah RIDY, harpe triple
Eriko SEMBA, basse de viole, lirone
Simon LINNÉ, luth, théorbe, guitare
Francesco CORTI, clavecin, orgue

direction Nicolas ACHTEN (théorbe)

1. Aria di Romanesca
2. La Tragedia : Io che d’alti sospir
Atto primo
Scena prima
3. Pastore del Coro : Ninfe ch’i bei crin d’oro
4. Euridice : Donne ch’a miei diletti
5. Coro : Al canto al ballo
Scena seconda
6. Orfeo : Antri ch’a miei lamenti
7. Dafne Nunzia : Lassa, che di spavento
8. Dafne Nunzia : Per quel vago boschetto
9. Orfeo : Non piango e non sospiro
10. Arcetro : Ahi mort’ invid’e ria
11. Ninfa del coro : Cruda morte
Scena terza
12. Arcetro : Se fato invido e rio
13. Coro : Se de boschi i verdi onori
Atto secondo
Scena quarta
14. Aria di Romanesca
Venere : Scorto da immortal guida
15. Orfeo : Funeste piaggie ombrosi orridi campi
16. Plutone : Ond’e cotanto ardire
17. Plutone : Trionfi oggi pietà ne campi inferni
18. Coro : Poi che gli etern’imperi
Atto terzo
Scena quinta
19. Aria di Romanesca
Arcetro : Già del bel carro ardente
20. Aminta : Voi che si ratte il volo
21. Orfeo : Gioite al canto mio
22. Coro : Biondo arcier che d’alto monte Aureo fonde

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