Monteverdi: Operatic Arias and Madrigals

Reviewed on Tue 19 Apr, 2016

My personal favourites are from Poppea: ‘Pur ti miro’ (for which she is joined by Anna Prohaska) brings a perfect blend of voices, but the star item is ‘Addio Roma!’, where Kožená succeeds in making one feel totally involved in Ottavia’s emotional agony.

This exciting issue includes various styles of madrigal, other songs and three excerpts from L’incoronazione di Poppea. There is also some instrumental music from three contemporary composers played by the baroque orchestra on some fascinating instruments. Magdalena Kožená has a sensitive harpsichord accompanist and is sometimes joined by other singers. There are three male voices in ‘Lamento della Ninfa’, a sad song of love from the Eighth Book of Madrigals. In complete contrast to this exquisite piece comes a song of war, Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda, an operatic scena where, as well as singing all three roles, Kožená is wonderfully expressive. Track 6, a beautiful legato love song, shows her voice at its most mellow, but my personal favourites are from Poppea: ‘Pur ti miro’ (for which she is joined by Anna Prohaska) brings a perfect blend of voices, but the star item is ‘Addio Roma!’, where Kožená succeeds in making one feel totally involved in Ottavia’s emotional agony. With good liner notes and full texts in four languages, this Archiv release is a delight throughout.
–Ruth Piatkus