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Thread: Première of the Serenata ZWV177

  1. #1

    Default Premi?re performance of the Serenata ZWV177

    I'm really looking forward to the upcoming recording of the Serenata ("Il Diamante") by Adam Viktora and Ensemble Inegal. Something that I didn't know but recently found out (from another forum member) is that the recent performance in Prague was not the first. The modern premi?re was in October 1992 in Aarhus in Denmark, under Soren Hansen. Another thing I learned is that the Vivaldi scholar Michael Talbot was rather negative about the work at the Zelenka conference of 1995, but he was apparently talking/writing about ZWV 277(!)
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    Last edited by paperMoon; 27-01-2011 at 05:13 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default ZW 177 Il Diamante

    I'm in Italy and I'm a friend of the soprano Roberta Mameli who plays the role of Giunone in Zelenka's Il Diamante. The choir where I sing regularly performs with Roberta. I bought the double CD and this is a real splendor music.
    Thanks a lot to Adam Viktora who has given us a music jewel!!!
    You can buy the CD on www.cdmusic.cz

    armando
    Last edited by root_admin; 07-01-2010 at 11:28 AM.

  3. #3
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    Default Il Diamente ZWV 177

    Thanks for drawing attention to what may prove to be one of the events of 2010 for lovers of Zelenka's music.

    Please look at my listing of what is on BBC Radio 3's "Composer of the Week" programmes for 18 to 22 January and you will see that Il Diamente is scheduled to be in the Friday (22nd) programme. It will be my first chance to hear this music.

    The details on the website talking about Il Diamente make clear that this work from 1737 and what is known about the circumstances surrounding its production provide a whole new insight into where Zelenka belonged in the Dresden Court. It provides clues but no answers! What is clear is that many false statements have been made in the 1970's and 1980's about a forgotten composer. It is odd that in one important document, Hasse and Ristori get mentions - Zelenka just provides the music. A reassessment of the whole situation will be fascinating.

    Andrew

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    Default Re: Il Diamente Serenata ZWV177

    I would like to ask Alistair to consider including the two CD set of Il Diamente in his "Outstanding CD's" listing. It falls into a rare category of music for Zelenka and yet he has excelled again. I particularly like track 9 in CD1 and most of CD2 is fine music very well performed. It did not escape my notice that Adam Viktoria and his wife assumed the roles taken in 1737 by the conductor, Hasse, and his wife Faustina who is believed to have sung the final aria.

    Let us also thank D J Dresden for his excellent booklet notes. I am beginning to realise the debt we all owe to him for his mid-eighteenth century research work and I am longing to hear more about who lived next to whom in Dresden. For example (and what a fascinating example) W F Bach was a neighbour of Zelenka at one time. More diamonds please!

    Andrew Hinds

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Première of the Serenata ZWV177

    Hi, Andrew. Everyone I know who has listened to the Il Diamante recording has nothing but praise for it. I agree with you that it should be an "outstanding recording" on the Discover Zelenka website. If there is anyone who thinks differently, speak now or forever hold your peace...

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    Default The Flaw in the Diamond

    The overwhelming dominance given to the Sopranos unbalances this work quite seriously, to the point that it becomes almost grating and hard to listen to near the end.

    Sure, many may say that this was the taste of the time(judging from operas by Handel and Vivaldi they are probably right, depending on what Castrati actually sounded like) and Zelenka probably was constrained by "political needs" but even one number for a low voice would have provided enough contrast to mitigate the tiresome effect of concentration on one vocal range.

    A fine performance and recording, with a lot of good music, so a Diamond it remains, but flawed it is.
    Last edited by Scott; 07-03-2010 at 07:02 PM.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Premi?re of the Serenata ZWV177

    Interesting point of view, Scott. I wouldn't have said that the absence of scoring for tenor and bass was necessarily a flaw in the music. That may have been stipulated by the powers that existed (either for practical reasons, or perhaps because one or other of the bridal pair was particularly taken by the soprano voice).

    On the other hand, I do think that the arias are on the long side. Having said that, I think that the work is still fantastic and that the recording should go straight into the list of recommended recordings!
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    Last edited by paperMoon; 27-01-2011 at 05:14 PM.

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    Default Re: Première of the Serenata ZWV177

    Quote Originally Posted by paperMoon
    ... I do think that the arias are on the long side. Having said that, I think that the work is still fantastic and that the recording should go straight into the list of recommended recordings!
    Zelenka always seemed to have a problem with keeping the length of his arias down. Janice Stockgit mentions somewhere in her book (I can't find the reference) a criticism of this by someone influential, such as the Elector.

    In the case of Il Diamante, this combined with the unrelenting restlessness of the music does easily make the work a bit overwhelming and grating if one is not in the right frame of mind or just simply tired after a long day at the office. You have to wait for the final aria of Venus for a bit of tenderness and calm.

    However, apart from one of the singers, it is a splendid performance of a scintillating work in a genre unusual for Zelenka. It deserves a recommendation.
    Osbert

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    Default Re: Première of the Serenata ZWV177

    As for the two points mentioned here, I want to point out the following things to be taken into consideration, but of course it is all a matter of personal taste:

    First, the evening before the Il Diamante concert, Hasse's opera Senocrita was premiered in the opera house. It was a five act opera, with ballets and intermezzo probably lasting 4-5 hours. The cast consisted of SSSSAA – almost the same as Zelenka's. I suspect the old alto Campioli did not sing in the Il Diamante because he was on his last meters and he retired a year later. Zelenka would undoubtedly have had an extra alto aria if Annibali had been in town, but he was in London singing with Handel's company. There was no good opera tenor during these years, and Götzel was primarily a church singer. The situation only changed when Amorevoli was hired from Naples after Crown Prince Friedrich Christian heard him sing there on many occasions during the summer and autumn of 1738. He arrived in 1742. As for the basses, Ermini was at that time only doing the intermezzo's, while Bahn was perhaps not availabe. Rietzschel lacked experience for the opera, as he himself stated in a letter I've seen here, he wanted to go to Italy – on Hasse's recommendation – to learn more. Sadly, he died in 1738.

    So, the scoring is for the best singers in Dresden, and those available to Zelenka and Hasse at the time. But I doubt they, or others, would have seen any problems in the balance of a setting like this. I certainly do not. It is the most natural thing. Does anyone tire of Zelenka's beautiful oratorio Gesu al Calvario even though the cast is for SSAAA?

    Second, as for the long arias of Zelenka, keep in mind that Il Diamante was Taffel musik, ie. it was performed while the King and Queen, bride and groom, and the other 81 guests were gorging on the fresh game being served on the brand new Meissen porcelain tableware. Hence the powerful opening of the work, a true "noise killer" as Michael Talbot so brilliantly coined it in his booklet notes to a Vivaldi Serenata. The purpose of such a loud opening was to get everyone's attention. As for the singers; every voice has one chance to shine, so the singers wouldn't mind the length of the arias; indeed it was a vehicle for them to show their virtuosity. Terra, incidentally, has two arias; I suspect Terra was sung by Maria Rosa Negri but was the other Terra aria perhaps sung by her sister Anna? If that was the case, then everyone was happy, everyone got their moment. And no wonder Zelenka can afford to drop the volume in the last aria of Venere, no one of the guests would have dared to utter a word while Faustina made her entry and showed her brilliance.

    Then, what is a long aria? Last night I attended Cecilia Bartoli's concert here in the Frauenkirche. Time and space disappeared while she displayed her great and unrivalled art. I wouldn't have minded if she would have sung forever. Some of the Naples arias she sang were what I guess you call long; so are some of arias Simone Kermes sings on a new and fabulous cd of Naples arias. Pergolesi 14 minutes, Hasse 10 minutes, Leo and Vinci 8 minutes plus. Cant' you imagine the joy of the singers to have the stage all for themselves for so long?

    Thankfully I do not have a problem with this or with Zelenka's long arias. And in the old days, he was never criticised for his long works as Osbert claims. The occasion referred to was in 1722. The Crown Prince at the time, August, later King and Elector, once asked Zelenka to shorten a work, as a result the Miserere was omitted. There was a reason for this (as Jan Stockigt has pointed out in her paper about the churchings of Crown Princess Maria Josepha); at the time Maria Josepha was pregnant and probably could not sit still for long. In fact she would have complications and the boy she gave birth to, the wonderful friend of music Friedrich Christian, was born with a congenital physical defect.

    Best wishes from cold Dresden,
    Johannes

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    Default Re: Première of the Serenata ZWV177

    WOW!!

    Thanks for a wonderful, informative reply djdresden.

    Hope that spring weather arrives soon in Dresden, stay warm until it does.

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