Arie per basso
Lorenzo Regazzo, bass
Rinaldo Alessandrini, conductor
Arie per basso is an album of an ambitious collection, Tesori del Piemonte (“treasures of Piemonte”), which has released many works by Antonio Vivaldi and other composers and, as its other titles, has a disturbing and inappropriate cover (a pale woman with heavy make-up – what is she doing here?) and an excellent content. I had the occasion to review another album of the collection some time ago (Arie per tenore, with Topi Lehtipuu) and this time I renew my acquaintance with the “red priest” with the repertoire written for the lowest male voice.
Arie per basso makes me curious for two reasons. The first one is the theme. It is an original idea to focus on the lowest male voice because the Baroque repertoire usually discarded it for high voices and thus there are comparatively few roles for bass (some operas have none of them) and they are nearly always secondary roles. This album is thus a revenge and an occasion to listen to many excerpts from rare operas as Armida al campo d’Egitto, Semiramide, L’Adelaide and (relatively) more famous masterworks as Tito Manlio, Il Farnace and Orlando furioso – and many others, alongside with two Sinfonie (from Armida al campo d’Egitto and Il Farnace) and the Concerto per archi in B major (RV 162).
The second reason was the singer himself, Lorenzo Regazzo. He is one of the best basses you can wish both for the natural gift of his voice and for his technique. His voice has a beautiful timbre, rather light for a bass, and has all the flexibility required to face the arduous coloratura, but there is another aspect which is maybe even more important. Regazzo is a very good interpreter and his attention to expression, even to single words, allows to understand the depth of the emotions of the characters, which range from heartfelt sorrow (Con la face di Megera) to fury and rage (Terribile è lo scempio, Rabbia che accendasi).
Rinaldo Alessandrini and the Complesso Italiano are marvellous too and the recording allows to perceive their vivid sound and the perfect control of dynamics. Alessandrini does not choose too fast tempi, as it happens often with Vivaldi, and his direction concentrates instead on the richness of Vivaldi’s moods and manages to express them with accuracy – an achievement made possible especially by the conductor’s precision and sensitivity.
Arie per basso is thus one of the best achievements in Vivaldi’s discography and I highly recommend it to you.