“Vivaldi ma non solo” is the new cd by the Greek Mezzo Soprano Marita Paparizou accompanied by the prestigious Solisti Veneti under the baton of the famous Maestro and musicologist Claudio Scimone.
“Oh no, yet another Vivaldi album..” one may wonder, yet he would be greatly mistaken, for this cd has merits of its own. For starters the repertoire, as the title of the cd suggests, is not just limited to Vivaldi but also to two of his “contemporaries” the great Haendel and the lesser known Bertoni. Together they make good company for in this cd one can get a pretty good idea of Baroque music and its development.

Marita Paparizou has followed an International career with conductors such as Florio, Scimone, and many others not just in the baroque repertoire but in French opera, and Rossini as well, with notable success in operas such as “Semiramide”, “Count Ory”, “Italiana in Algeri” not to mention her successful Athens concert in which she handled with exceptional bravura the 20 minutes Rossini tour de force Cantata, sung for the first time in Greece, “Giovanna d’ Arco”.
The present recording contains an array of arias as diverse as “Gelido in ogni venna” from Vivaldi’s “Farnace”, to Bertoni”s “Addio miei sospiri” from his “Tancredi”, via Haendel’s “Morriro ma vendicata” a bravura aria from “Teseo”.

Added to all this, we are offered Vivaldi’s “Stabat Mater” one of his most profound religious works. This very rendition is of exceptional quality. Maestro Scimone uses a revised edition based on original manuscripts and his refined and polished Orchestra offers us an enchanting account of the music. Marita Paparizou sings with a sense of deep religious fervor as if the very existence of her soul depends on it, with fine legato lines, and a sense of a deeper understanding of the music. Her deep dark toned voice suits the piece to perfection, as if Vivaldi had her in mind when composing it. It is by far one of the best recordings of Vivaldi’s work in the International discography..
On a more mundane level, the arias from “Orlando Furioso” , a piece she has sung often in her carrier , serve as a vehicle for her accomplished vocal technique, not only as far as the vocal pyrotechnics and coloraturas are concerned, but also of her vocalita, and her ability to coin a phrase with power as well as sensitivity.
The lesser known “Gelido in ogni venna” from Vivaldi’s “Farnace” is a real jewel, and is given a new breath of life from the voice of Mrs Paparizou. It is a perfect carrier for her voice, an aria in which she has the opportunity of showing her great dramatic talents.
Just listen to Haendel’s aria “Morirro ma vendicata” which illustrates my point. Fiery coloraturas are followed by extreme changes of mood perfectly expressed by both the singer and the Orchestra.
As a welcome bonus , which makes one wish for a new recording of this little jewel with Paparizou and Scimone, is the aria “Addio miei sospiri” from his Tancredi, used however in his “Orfeo”. Here the mood changes from anger to heroism, with Mrs Paparizou at her forte, closing one of the most enjoyable albums of the year.
Maestro Scimone proves to us once more what a great conductor he is, with his own orchestra the existence of which spans more than five decades, exponents of Vivaldi’s music in the 60’s and 70’s, with the added bonus the presence of Piero Tosso one of the most important violinists. This record is a tribute not only to the composers it presents, but to a great tradition of baroque music making which bridges the past and the present. One can only hope that the same team will follow with a second album “Rossini ma non solo”.. Let’s hope, for miracles do really happen when such great artists meet.