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Soloists and Germanico victorious
Add date: Saturday, 28 January 2017

For the first time, Nicola Porpora’s late Baroque opera in three acts, „Germanico in Germania” was presented in Poland as part of the Opera Rara Festival. The audience gathered in the Słowacki Theatre in Krakow could see and hear some of the best opera singers in the world, accompanied by historical instruments played by Capella Cracoviensis, led with impetus by Jan Tomasz Adamus, playing the harpsichord.

The story of betrayal, war and love set in the year 14 A.D. at the borderlands of the Roman Empire was the subject of several operas. The heroic deeds of Arminius became a basis for the plot for works by Heinrich Ignaz Biber, Johann Adolf Hasse and Georg Frideric Handel. Nicola Porpora, who went down in history not only as a talented composer, but also as a teacher, who taught some of the most talented stars of the 18th century, including the famous castrati Gaetan Majorano, also known as Caffarelli, as well as Carlo Broschi, remembered as Farinelli, decided to emphasise the character of the great Roman general, Germanico. The significance of the Neapolitan opera, as well as the difficulty of vocal parts can be confirmed by the fact that during the 1732 premiere in Rome the main roles were given to virtuoso castrati – the aforementioned Caffarelli and Domenico Annibali (“Domenichino”), who played the main role.

fot. Hasenien Dousery |

The concert version presented in Krakow was filled with moments of excitement, emotions and surprises. The very first piece opening the opera – a sinfonia in three parts with a free part played by horns – was a perfect example of the extraordinary character of this work. Every act masterfully crafted by Porpora contained both lyrical cantilena arias, as well as arias di bravura, fraught with all kinds of difficult coloraturas. The role of the eponymous general was performed by the legendary Max Emanuel Cenčić, Croatian counter-tenor, whose performance was characterised by many strong moments, especially the captivating “Qual turbine che scende”. The role of his opponent, the valiant and invincible Arminius was played by the outstanding Greek mezzosoprano, Mary-Ellen Nesi, who shone brightly, presenting not only her amazing technique, but also playing a character full of drama. The lyrical “Parto, ti lascio” performed by Nesi was so moving that the audience rewarded the artist with long ovation. The role of Rosmonda, Arminius’ wife was played by Dilyara Idrisova, who masterfully concluded the first act of the opera with an aria concertante with a horn – “Son qual misero”. The unique and famous Russian soprano Julia Lezhneva (Ersinda), who enjoys universal love and admiration from the audience, also did not disappoint and enthralled the listeners with her complex gorgias and fiorituras. The role of a treacherous boaster was played very well by Hungarian tenor György Hanczár (Segeste). Also noteworthy was the performance of Marzena Lubaszka (Cecina), who replaced Hasnaa Bennani. We could also admire the entire cast of soloists in the joyful ending choir piece (“Si verra l’amico giorno”). After this masterful performance, the ovations at the Słowacki Theatre seemed to go on endlessly. After the performance, the artists found some time for the audience and signed autographs.

fot. Hasenien Dousery |

We also have another good news for the lovers of Baroque music and the Opera Rara Festival – this year we can also expect the release of Porpora’s Germanico in Germania in the form of an album by Decca, performed by the same cast of singers.

The festival is organised by: The City of Krakow, Krakow Festival Office and Capella Cracoviensis.

Partner: Juliusz Słowacki Theater.

Krakow – IFEA World Festival & Event City 2016

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