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Cavalli: La virtù de’ strali d’Amore
Libretto in collaboration with Giovanni Faustini

Caprice / Leucippe / Clarindo – Giacinta Nicotra
Pleasure / Clito / Rumour – Gemma Bertagnolli
Pallante – Juan Sancho
Erabena – Cristiana Arcari
Meonte – Filippo Adami
Cleria / Venus – Roberta Invernizzi
Cleandra / Amore – Monica Piccinini
First sailor / Evagora / Jupiter – Marco Scavazza
Second sailor / Saturn – Roberto Abbondanza
Ericlea / Psiche – Donatella Lombardi
Darete / Marte – Filippo Morace

Davide Livermore, stage direction
Tiziano Santi, set design
Vera Marzot, costume design
Claudio Coloretti, lighting design

Europa Galante/Fabio Bondi
, solo violinist and conductor

Recorded at Teatro Malibran, Venice, Italy, 14 October 2008

Naxos DVD: 2110614-15

This relatively small scale production was filmed at a single performance in Teatro Malibran, which had once boasted the biggest, most luxurious and extravagant stage in Venice. The only review of this Cavalli revival to be found suggests that it is far better (besides being a lot cheaper) on DVD. It casts its spell quite slowly, but by the end of the first act you may find yourself caught up in the tale of love thwarted and regained, the counterpointing of Man and God, sorcery, revelation and ultimate resolution, all set in Cyprus.

It needs experts to determine whether, as claimed, Cavalli reveals "his own pronounced independence of Monteverdi"; increasingly I became convinced so.

For non-specalists what is striking at first is a seeming lack of usual precision in its filming, pervaded with a sort of mistiness, on an almost bare stage which makes the viewer exercise imagination. But it soon becomes clear that this is a very sophisticated if minimal staging, with doubling and trebling of the parts to focus upon the interactions of gods and humans, with deceptions, sexual confusions and all; standing for the vagaries of real relationships. The versatility required of the cast, no doubt depending on the budget for the show, also helps to keep us, the audience, on our toes.

Gradually one gets to focus on the drama and identify first with a supposed bereavement (reversed by magic so that the plot isn't spoilt) and changes of fortune. The interactions of Gods and humans becomes more complicated, the acting and singing intensified until, by about the middle of the second act I was quite captivated (which was not so for the only review I've been able to locate of the live performance).

This DVD offers an unusual adventure and is well worth acquiring if you can slow the pace of modern living. I shall certainly watch it all through again, time allowing...

Peter Grahame Woolf

See also Cavalli Gli Amori d'Apollo e di Dafne