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Haydn: Opera At Eszterhaza / Huss, Haydn Sinfonietta Wien

Haydn / Persson / Richter / Huss
Release Date: 01/26/2010 
Label:  Bis   Catalog #: 1811  
Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn
Performer:  Miah PerssonIván PaleyBernard RichterManfred Hemm,   ... 
Conductor:  Manfred Huss
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Haydn Sinfonietta Vienna
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Multi 
Low Stock: Currently 3 or fewer in stock. Usually ships in 24 hours, unless stock becomes depleted.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is a hybrid Super Audio CD playable on both regular and Super Audio CD players.

3361780.az_HAYDN_Arias_Manfred_Huss.html

HAYDN Arias Manfred Huss, cond; Vienna Haydn Sinfonietta; Miah Persson (sop 1 ); Kirstin Chávez (mez 2 ); Bernard Richter (ten 3 ); Chrisoph Genz (ten 4 Read more class="ARIAL12">); Iván Paley (bar 5 ); Manfred Hemm (bs 6 ) BIS SACD 1811 (SACD: 71:31 Text and Translation)


1 Infelice Sventurata. 1 Costretta a piangere. 1 Signor, voi sapete. 1 Solo e pensoso. 5 Dice benissimo. 3 Da che penso a Maritarmi. 3 Se tu mi sprezzi, ingrata. 3 Tornate pur mia bella. 3 Begli ochi vezzosi. 3 Ah, tu non senti—Qual destra omicida. 2 La Circe: “Son pietosa, son bonina.” 3 “Son due ore che giro.” 3,4,6 “Lavatevi presto”


The notes tell us that Haydn conducted 1026 performances of 79 operas at Eszterháza between 1780 and 1790 (take that, James Levine!). He also wrote five of those operas, plus many arias for insertion into works by other composers, in the case of this CD Cimarosa, Anfossi, Salieri, Gassmann, Sarti, Traetta, and unidentified. Here are seven of those arias (all part of Hob. XXIVb), plus three numbers from his own La Circe , one ( Costretta a piangere ) from an early lost opera, an alternate version of “Begli ochi vezzosi” from Il mondo della luna , and an independent concert aria, Solo e pensoso.


When we listen to a CD of opera arias, it usually contains arias we know well, from operas we also know; in addition, the arias are likely to have been selected—by the singer or the producer—as ones the buying public is known to like. None of that applies here. Not knowing the operas is a big disadvantage: Who is the character? What is she/he singing about? Who is he/she addressing? What is the plot, and where are we in it? The booklet helps, with a few sentences about each number—and Italian/English texts—but one must still work to get into the spirit and substance of each scene.


The rewards are plentiful, however, helped by beautiful music and consistently fine performances. The period-instrument ensemble is excellent. Three of these arias were recorded by Edith Mathis with Armin Jordan, used as LP side or CD fillers in Antal Doráti’s Philips series of eight Haydn operas. Although Mathis has a glorious voice, her wide vibrato and swoops now sound inappropriate to our retrained ears. Miah Persson sings the first four arias on this disc; she has an equally lovely soprano, and her well-controlled contributions are more dramatic than Mathis’s. Solo e pensoso , written in 1798, was Haydn’s final Italian aria; it is a beauty, the mature master at his best. Persson and Bernard Richter share most of the load here; he has a strong, vibrant, and accurate tenor, projecting Orestes’ struggle against Clytemnestra ( Ah, tu non senti ) with fury and fear. The other singers are merely satisfactory but have less to do—one number apiece, including the final trio (tenor, tenor, bass).


The recorded sound is clean and well balanced. SACD enlivens the violins but thins out the voices. Surround sound mitigates the latter a bit but seems oddly inappropriate for this disc; the Prince didn’t invite me to Eszterháza (his loss), so I can’t say what it sounded like then. In any case, these performances, and this disc, are certainly a preferred way to hear this music. By the second time through, this CD is well on its way to becoming a highlights disc.


FANFARE: James H. North


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Opera at Eszterháza is the latest issue in the collaborative series by BIS, the Haydn Sinfonietta Wien and Manfred Huss. It forms part of 2009’s celebration to mark the 200 th anniversary of Haydn’s death in 2009. About a year ago, in June 2009, I had the pleasure of reviewing another of their CDs, namely Acide, a recording of the surviving fragments of Haydn’s first Italian opera. All concerned should be congratulated for their continuing efforts in bringing to the public’s attention forgotten or neglected works by a composer of Haydn’s stature. Sadly, nearly all of Haydn’s operatic compositions fall nowadays into the list of neglects, possibly due to the fact that many of the librettos he used were not very good; most of his operas progress rather slowly and are not rich in dramatic action, making them difficult to stage. Haydn also composed a great number of operas, concert arias, scenes and extra arias to be inserted in operas by other composers, with the aim of suiting a particular singer, as was customary in his day. This disc contains a selection of some of the best examples of such works.
 
The first four arias of the disc are for soprano and two, Infelice sventurata and Signor, voi sapete, were written for other composers’ operas; respectively Domenico Cimarosa’s I due supposti and Pasquale Anfossi’s Il matrimonio per inganno. All four pieces are immediately pleasing to the ear, wonderfully proportionate with clever orchestrations, revealing that Haydn was comfortable with writing both gracefully moving arias, like Infelice sventurata or Costretta a piangere, and witty pieces as Signor, voi sapete, which is one of the gems here and possibly my favourite. Swedish soprano Miah Persson sings these first four pieces splendidly. She has a beautiful voice with a crystal clear tone, easy high notes and elegant phrasing, all supported by an excellent technique, making these pieces the most enjoyable of the whole disc.
 
The four soprano arias are followed by an insertion aria, Dice benissimo, which Haydn wrote for baritone Luigi Rossi and Antonio Salieri’s opera La Scuola de’ Gelosi. It is a short but rather interesting piece, cynical in tone but with undoubtedly great music. It suits Colombian baritone Iván Paley’s voice and he makes an excellent job, delivering it with technical precision and great humour.
 
These initial five pieces are then followed by five arias for tenor, sung here by young Swiss tenor Bernard Richter. I was very impressed with Richter in last year’s BIS CD of Haydn’s Acide (which I mentioned above) but here I did not find his performance so convincing. He has a crystalline tone, very clear diction and appears comfortable in the highest as well as the middle and lower ranges of his voice. However, while in Acide he was spot-on, here he sounds sometimes a shade dry, his style slightly declamatory and his phrasing not as refined. On occasion, his voice sounds a little nasal in the top notes (perhaps he was suffering from a cold?), which although it does not distort, it makes the effect less attractive. Nevertheless, his performance is not at all bad; on the contrary, he delivers all five pieces very effectively. This is particularly true of the beautiful aria Tornate pur mia bella where he displays an excellent legato technique and performs the piece with great delicacy and tenderness, perfectly expressing a young man in love, as the piece describes.
 
The final CD tracks, as stated in the booklet notes, come from an opera pastiche, La Circe, which Haydn arranged from music by several composers. We are offered three pieces: an aria, a scena and a terzetto. The aria entitled Son pietosa, son bonina is sung by young American mezzo-soprano Kirstin Chávez who to me was the revelation in terms of singing ability. It was the first time I heard her sing though I have read various revues about her performances in Bizet’s Carmen, which tend to praise her voice but mainly to rave and revolve around her sensual, striking beauty. However, Ms Chávez really does possess a remarkable voice, with a velvety rich tone and is dramatically very expressive. Her high notes are warm and easy, she displays a solid coloratura and she has an exquisite dark edge in the lower range of her voice, which gives her performance a certain degree of exoticism. The only thing I would say is that her diction could be better; there are a couple of occasions during the aria where it is a little unclear.
 
Bernard Richter returns on the final two CD tracks: Son due ore che giro the scena and then in the terzetto Lavatevi presto where he is joined by German tenor Christoph Genz and Austrian bass Manfred Hemm. Both pieces are effectively delivered by all three singers and Hemm’s resonant bass is particularly impressive.
 
The Haydn Sinfonietta Wien and Manfred Huss are in great form throughout the CD and deliver a fulfilling, technically flawless performance, full of delicate nuances, effectively showcasing their expertise in music of the classical period in general and of Haydn in particular. Their rendition of these forgotten and nearly lost operatic compositions is as beautiful as it is precise and a joy from beginning to end.
 
The recording quality of the work is excellent whether one listens to it on normal CD or SACD equipment; however, only on SACD does one get the glorious detail of each instrument or of the voices and the gorgeous sound of the orchestra as a whole. The booklet notes are also better than most: expertly written by Manfred Huss in a clear, attractive style, simultaneously informative and enjoyable; not too long; not too short and accessible to all whether one has a deep knowledge of music or not. The notes are in English, German and French as well as the biographies of Huss and the two main singers: Persson and Richter. For information on the other singers, their websites are clearly listed. The booklet also includes all texts in the original Italian with English translations.
 
Overall, Opera at Eszterháza is an excellent work though the real star is not the singing but Haydn’s music. This, I believe, was Huss’s intention. Haydn’s music is superb in its adventurous orchestrations, full of wit and subtle emotions and, most of all incredibly beautiful. I loved this CD and it made me wonder why musicians do not record Haydn’s operatic works more often; they may have a slow moving action but surely on disc that is not so important!
 
-- Margarida Mota-Bull, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

1.
Infelice sventurata, H 24b no 15 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Performer:  Miah Persson (Soprano)
Conductor:  Manfred Huss
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Haydn Sinfonietta Vienna
Period: Classical 
2.
Costretta a piangere, H 24b no 1 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Performer:  Miah Persson (Soprano)
Conductor:  Manfred Huss
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Haydn Sinfonietta Vienna
Period: Classical 
3.
Signor voi sapete, H 24b no 7 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Performer:  Miah Persson (Soprano)
Conductor:  Manfred Huss
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Haydn Sinfonietta Vienna
Period: Classical 
4.
Solo e pensoso, H 24b no 20 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Performer:  Miah Persson (Soprano)
Conductor:  Manfred Huss
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Haydn Sinfonietta Vienna
Period: Classical 
Written: 1798; Vienna, Austria 
5.
Dice, benissimo, H 24b no 5 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Performer:  Iván Paley (Baritone)
Conductor:  Manfred Huss
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Haydn Sinfonietta Vienna
Period: Classical 
Written: ?07/27/1780; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
6.
Da che penso a maritarmi, H 24b no 16 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Performer:  Bernard Richter (Tenor)
Conductor:  Manfred Huss
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Haydn Sinfonietta Vienna
Period: Classical 
7.
Se tu mi sprezzi, H 24b no 14 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Performer:  Bernard Richter (Tenor)
Conductor:  Manfred Huss
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Haydn Sinfonietta Vienna
8.
Tornate pur mia bella, H 24b no 22 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Performer:  Bernard Richter (Tenor)
Conductor:  Manfred Huss
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Haydn Sinfonietta Vienna
9.
Il mondo della luna, H 28 no 7: Begli occhi vezzosi by Franz Joseph Haydn
Performer:  Bernard Richter (Tenor)
Conductor:  Manfred Huss
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Haydn Sinfonietta Vienna
10.
Ah tu non senti...Qual destra omicida, H 24B no 10 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Performer:  Bernard Richter (Tenor)
Conductor:  Manfred Huss
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Haydn Sinfonietta Vienna
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1786; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
11.
La maga Circe, H 32 no 1 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Performer:  Manfred Hemm (Bass), Christoph Genz (Tenor), Kirsten Chavez (Mezzo Soprano),
Bernard Richter (Tenor)
Conductor:  Manfred Huss
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Haydn Sinfonietta Vienna

Sound Samples

Infelice sventurata, Hob.XXIVb:15
Costretta a piangere, Hob.XXIVb:1
Signor voi sapete, Hob.XXIVb:7
Solo e pensoso, Hob.XXIVb:20
Dice benissimo, Hob.XXIVb:5
Da che penso a maritarmi, Hob.XXIVb:16
Se tu mi sprezzi, Hob.XXIVb:14
Tornate pur mia bella, Hob.XXIVb:22
Il mondo della luna, Hob. XXVIII:7: Begli occhi vezzosi
Ah tu non senti... Qual destra omicida, Hob.XXIVb:10
La maga Circe, Hob.XXXII:1: Son pietosa, son bonina
La maga Circe, Hob.XXXII:1: Son due ore che giro
La maga Circe, Hob.XXXII:1: Lavatevi presto

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