Today’s concept of bel canto is founded primarily on the beautiful melodies of the brilliant virtuoso opera arias of La sonnambula, L’elisir d’amore etc; this recording aims to challenge the listener’s understanding of this term by introducing another, much lesser-known facet: that of chamber bel canto, or bel canto da camera. Ariettas by two Italian 19th-century composers Mauro Giuliani and Girolamo Crescentini are thus included, and while neither of these names are normally counted among the ‘bel canto’ greats, such as the opera-centric Bellini and Donizetti, both composers’ chamber works in fact reveals the “subtlety of the human soul much more deeply,” argue the artists, “than in the brightest operas arias.”
Crescentini was at one point employed as a Singing Master to Napoleon’s family, and in his day Giuliani was counted among the greatest virtuoso guitarists of his generation, reaching the height of his performing-composing career in Vienna during the early 1800s. At hand to perform each composer’s works is soprano ‘sfogato’ Veronica Amarres – a graduate of St Petersburg Conservatory whose competition successes include first prize at the Athens’ Maria Callas Grand Prix – and the guitarist Sandro Volta, winner of the Grand Prix Du Disque in Paris in 1994 and whose performances have been praised by the likes of The New York Times and Early Music magazine for their originality of interpretation.
- A beautiful bouquet of songs in Bel Canto da Camera style: small scale arias or ariettas, drawing room dramas in gentle, charming bel canto cantilenas, eschewing the high strung passions of opera arias by the likes of Bellini and Donizetti, but no less poignant and touching.
- Includes world premiere recording of Crescentini’s original version of 12 Ariettas.
- Beautifully sung, with the right touch of sentiment, by soprano Veronica Amarres (First prize of Maria Callas Competition in Athens) and excellent guitarist Sandro Volta.
- Liner notes and biographies included in the booklet.
- Sung texts available for download by clicking on ‘Download booklet’, below the cover.