Following the highly acclaimed production at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, The Classical Opera Company presents Artaxerxes, recorded to celebrate the 300th anniversary of composer Thomas Arne.
This is the first complete recording of one of the most important and successful of all English operas, with the lost Finale realised most effectively by Duncan Druce.
Composer Thomas Arne, most famous for composing ‘Rule Britannia’, also won fans in Mozart and Haydn with his opera Artaxerxes that remained in the London repertoire almost continuously from its premiere in 1762 until the 1830s.
This stunning, but rarely recorded, opera has many well-known arias including ‘The soldier tir'd’, originally made famous by Joan Sutherland and sung here by Elizabeth Watts (“A lyric soprano as ravishing as one could possibly want” IRR).
The Classical Opera Company was founded in 1997 by conductor Ian Page. It specialises in the music of Mozart and his contemporaries, performing with its own period-instrument orchestra, and is emerging as one of Britain's most exciting and highly regarded young arts organisations.
The company appears regularly in London at such venues as Sadler's Wells, the Barbican and Wigmore Hall and has also performed at Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, The Anvil, Basingstoke, St George's, Bristol, the Barbican's Mostly Mozart Festival, the Lufthansa Baroque Festival, the Bath International Music Festival, the Brighton Festival and the Buxton Festival.
Recitative: Still Silence Reigns Around
No.1, Duettino: Fair Aurora, Prithee Stay
Recitative: Alas, Thou Know'st That For My Love To Thee
No. 2, Air: Adieu, Thou Lovely Youth
Recitative: O Cruel Parting! How Can I Survive?
No. 3, Air: Amid A Thousand Racking Woes
Recitative: Be Firm, My Heart
No. 4, Air: Behold, On Lethe's Dismal Strand
Recitative: Stay, Artaxerxes, Stay
No. 5, Air: Fair Semira, Lovely Maid
Recitative: I Fear Some Dread Disaster...
No. 6, Air: When Real Joys We Miss
Recitative: Ye Gods, Protectors Of The Persian Empire
No, 7, Air: How Hard Is The Fate
Recitative: Whither Do I Fly?
No. 8, Air: They Father! Away, I Renounce The Soft Claim
Recitative: Ye Cruel Gods, What Crime Have I Committed
No. 9, Air: Acquit Thee Of This Foul Offence
Recitative: Appearance, I Must Own, Is Strong Against Me
No. 10, Air: O Too Lovely, Too Unkind
Accompanied Recitative: Dear And Beloved Shade
No. 11, Air: Fly, Soft Ideas, Fly
Recitative: Guards, Speed Ye To The Tower
No. 12, Air: In Infancy, Our Hopes And Fears
Recitative: So Far My Great Resolve Succeeds
No. 13, Air: Disdainful You Fly Me
Recitative: Why, My Dear Friend, So Pensive, So Inactive?
No. 14, Air: To Sigh And Complain
Recitative: How Many Links To Dire Misfortune's Chain
No. 15, Air: If O'er The Cruel Tyrant Love
Recitative: Which Fatal Evil Shall I First Oppose?,
No.16, Air: If The River's Swelling Waves
Recitative: Ye Solid Pillars Of The Persian Empire
No.17, Air: By That Belov'd Embrace
Recitative: Ah Me, At Poor Arbaces' Parting
No.18, Air: Monster, Away
Recitative: See, Lov'd Semira
Accompanied Recitative: At Last My Soul Has Room
No.19, Air: Thou, Like The Glorious Sun
No.20, Air: Why Is Death For Ever Late
Recitative: Arbaces! Gracious Heav'n, What S This I See?
No.21, Air: Water Parted From The Sea
Recitative: That Face, Secure In Conscious Innocence
No.22, Air: Though Oft A Cloud With Envious Shade
Recitative: My Son, Arbaces... Where Art Thou Retir'd?
No.23, Air: O Let The Danger Of A Son
Accompanied Recitative: Ye Adverse Gods!
No.24, Air: O, Much Lov'd Son, If Death
Recitative: Perhaps The King Releas'd Arbaces
No.25, Air: Let Not Rage, Thy Bosom Firing
Recitative: What Have I Done? Alas, I Vainly Thought
No.26, Air: 'Tis Not True That In Our Grief
Recitative: Nor Here My Searching Eyes Can Find Mandane
No.27, Duetto: For Thee I Live, My Dearest
Recitative: To You, My People, Much Belov'd
No.28, Air: The Soldier, Tir'd Of War's Alarms
Recitative: Behold, My King, Arbaces At Thy Feet
No.29, Finale: Live To Us, To Empire Live
9th January 2011
“The music...is far from parochial, with as rich an array of influences as any Handel. Page and co achieved a signal success when they revived the piece, with newly composed recitatives (by Page) and finale (by Duncan Druce), at Covent Garden in 2009. This recording, more intimate than epic, happily preserves that achievement. Christopher Ainslie is outstanding in the title role.”
23rd January 2011
“Arne's music veers from sub-Handel baroque to early galant, in the charming, innocent style of Johann Christian Bach...Elizabeth Watts and Rebecca Bottone shine under Ian Page's crisp direction.”
“Page directs his players with style and sureness...How well the orchestra (and not only the woodwind) plays...The anger and venom summoned in Watts's vocal onslaught makes Mozart's Elettra seem no more than mildly put out. Watts truly brings Mandane's feelings to life...Some of the best singing comes from Christopher Ainslie in the title-role.”
“The very fine cast enters with spirit into the text's convoluted scenario of love and betrayal in ancient Persia and delivering [sic] the notes with assurance. Ian Page conducts the period-instrument forces with conviction and the sound is excellent.”
“The recitatives...are delivered with conviction, flowing seamlessly into the arias. Christopher Ainslie as Artaxerxes woos with honeyed tone, while Caitlin Hulcup as his friend Arbaces impresses with her coloratura...There's much delectable writing for woodwind and horns, all beautifully played. This lively account of a charming work will give much pleasure.”
“the ruthless virtuosity of [Watts's] 'Monster away!' carries all before it...admirable work by the other voices.”
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