Vivaldi’s Il Tamerlano (Best of 2020)

Il Tamerlano

Antonio Vivaldi

Bruno Taddia, Bajazet; Filippo Mineccia, Tamerlano; Delphine Galou, Asteria;

Sophia Rennert, Irene; Marina De Liso, Andronico; Arianna Vendittelli, Idaspe;

Accademia Bizantina, Ottavio Dantone, director

Naïve Vivaldi Edition Vol. 65

In recent years, there has been a reconsideration of Antonio Vivaldi’s stage works. A Vivaldi Edition is appearing on the Naïve label, its latest offering the pasticcio opera Il Tamerlano. Premiered in 1735 in Verona, the work contains arias by Vivaldi’s contemporaries Hasse, Giacamelli, and Broschi. Vivaldi composed recitatives and interludes and contributed several arias of his own. The various trunk arias may be from disparate sources, but the opera coheres around extraordinary vocal writing.

From top – Arianna Venditelli’s Idaspe, displaying extraordinary coloratura runs – to bottom – Bruno Taddia’s resonant yet flexible singing in the role of Bajazet – the cast is excellent. Particularly impressive is the countertenor Filippo Mineccia, whose wide-ranging voice drops into tenor chest notes and to the top of the staff for soprano register high notes. His tone is warm and portrayal poignant. 

Il Tamerlano is an excellent opportunity to hear Vivaldi’s music measured against other prominent opera composers of the day.The high quality of his stage works are becoming firmly established, and the selections by the other included composers suggest that there is still more fertile terrain to explore in Italy’s high baroque era. Il Tamerlano is Sequenza 21’s Best Opera Recording of 2020. 

-Christian Carey