Brilliant Opera Collection: Gluck Demofoonte

Composer Christoph Willibald Gluck
Artist Il Complesso Barocco
Alan Curtis conductor
Format 3 CD
Cat. number 95283
EAN code 5028421952833
Release December 2020

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About this release

Demofoonte dates from the early ‘Milan years’ of Christoph Willibald Gluck (1714–1787), long before the radical ‘reform operas’ for which he is most famous and his break with opera seria and the librettos of Pietro Metastasio. Gluck arrived in the northern Italian city in 1737 and was mentored there by composer Giovanni Battista Sammartini. Though Sammartini primarily composed symphonies and music for the church, Milan boasted a vibrant opera scene, and Gluck soon formed an association with one of the city's up-and-coming opera houses, the Teatro Regio Ducal. His first opera, Artaserse, on a libretto by Metastasio, premiered there on 26 December 1741 and opened the Milanese Carnival of 1742. Gluck went on to compose an opera for each of the next four Carnivals at Milan, Demofoonte being the second of these and his third opera overall, premiering on 6 January 1743.

Metastasio’s libretto Demofonte was first set by Antonio Caldara in 1733 and remained popular throughout the 18th century. By 1800 it had inspired at least 73 operas. The story concerns a Thracian king, Demophon, who seeks to abolish the rite of annual sacrifice of a virgin, but is given a cryptic message by the oracle of Apollo: ‘it may only cease when the innocent usurper no longer sits on the throne’. The king seeks a political marriage for his eldest son and heir, Timanthes, to a princess of Phrygia, but Timanthes is secretly married to Dircea, the daughter of a nobleman, and the next appointed sacrificial victim. Timanthes’ younger brother, Cherinthus, in turn, loves the Phrygian princess, Creusa. In a double twist of mistaken parentage, Dircea is revealed to be the King’s daughter, and Timanthes to be the son of Dircea’s foster father (and therefore not the true heir, but an unknowing ‘usurper’). The throne passes to Cherinthus, who is then wedded to his love, the Phrygian princess Creusa. The rite of human sacrifice is abolished.

In celebration of Gluck’s 300th birthday, the early music scholar and harpsichordist Alan Curtis (1934–2015), founder of Il Complesso Barocco and leader of the period music ensemble for nearly four decades, prepared Demofoonte for performance. All of the arias had been preserved, but nearly all of the secco recitatives were lost. Curtis composed new recitatives in Gluck's style, using Gluck’s earliest fully extant opera, Ipermestra, written less than two years after Demofoonte, as a model. This modern revival was given its first performance on 23 November 2014 in Vienna and was recorded with the same excellent cast of singers the week before, in Northern Italy.

The first recording of the opera Demofoonte by Gluck!
Gluck was a great admirer of the poet Metastasio and he composed some 20 operas on his texts. Demofoonte, on texts by Metastasio, was composed by Gluck for the Carnival season in Milan, premiered in 1743.
Not one complete score of this opera survived, and Alan Curtis, the American scholar and conductor collected all the surviving arias from different sources, and recomposed the lost recitatives in Gluck-style, taking as a model the opera Ipermestra, which Gluck composed for the following year 1744 and which survived complete.
This wonderful performance was recorded in 2015, one year before the death of Alan Curtis. It is a worthy and touching legacy of the art of this great conductor and his ensemble Il Complesso Barocco, together with a fine line up of international vocal soloists, stars of the Early Music scene.

Track list

Disk 1

  1. Christoph Willibald Gluck: Gluck, Wq.3, Sinfonia: I. Allegro
  2. Christoph Willibald Gluck: Gluck, Wq.3, Sinfonia: II. Andante
  3. Christoph Willibald Gluck: Gluck, Wq.3, Sinfonia: III. Presto
  4. Christoph Willibald Gluck: Gluck, Wq.3, Pt. 1, scena I: I. Credimi, o padre … (Dircea · Matusio)
  5. Christoph Willibald Gluck: Gluck, Wq.3, Pt. 1, scena I: II. O più tremar non voglio (Matusio)
  6. Christoph Willibald Gluck: Gluck, Wq.3, Pt. 1, scena II: I. Se il mio principe almeno … (Dircea · Timante)
  7. Christoph Willibald Gluck: Gluck, Wq.3, Pt. 1, scena II: II. In te spero, o sposo amato (Dircea)
  8. Christoph Willibald Gluck: Gluck, Wq.3, Pt. 1, scena III: I. Ma viene il real genitor … (Timante · Demofoonte · Adrasto)
  9. Christoph Willibald Gluck: Gluck, Wq.3, Pt. 1, scena III: II. Per lei fra l’armi (Demofoonte)
  10. Christoph Willibald Gluck: Gluck, Wq.3, Pt. 1, scena IV: I. Ma che vi fece, o stelle …
  11. Christoph Willibald Gluck: Gluck, Wq.3, Pt. 1, scena IV: II. Sperai vicino al lido (Timante)
  12. Christoph Willibald Gluck: Gluck, Wq.3, Pt. 1, scena V: I. Marcia
  13. Christoph Willibald Gluck: Gluck, Wq.3, Pt. 1, scena V: II. Ma che t’affanna, o prence? … (Creusa · Cherinto)
  14. Christoph Willibald Gluck: Gluck, Wq.3, Pt. 1, scena V: III. T’intendo, ingrata (Cherinto
  15. Christoph Willibald Gluck: Gluck, Wq.3, Pt. 1, scena VI: I. Dove? Ferma (Creusa · Cherinto) Dimmi cherinto. È questa la frigia principessa? (Timante · Cherinto · Creusa), scena VII Numi! A Creusa?’ … (Creusa · Cherinto)
  16. Christoph Willibald Gluck: Gluck, Wq.3, Pt. 1, scena VII: II. Non curo l’affetto (Creusa)
  17. Christoph Willibald Gluck: Gluck, Wq.3, Pt. 1, scena VIII: I. Oh dei! Perché tanto furor! …
  18. Christoph Willibald Gluck: Gluck, Wq.3, Pt. 1, scena VIII: II. Il suo leggiadro viso (Cherinto)
  19. Christoph Willibald Gluck: Gluck, Wq.3, Pt. 1, scena IX: I. Olà ministri … (Adrasto · Matusio · Timante · Dircea)
  20. Christoph Willibald Gluck: Gluck, Wq.3, Pt. 1, scena IX: II. Padre, perdona… oh pene! (Dircea)
  21. Christoph Willibald Gluck: Gluck, Wq.3, Pt. 1, scena X: I. Appresso a lei … (Timante · Matusio)
  22. Christoph Willibald Gluck: Gluck, Wq.3, Pt. 1, scena X: II. Gemo in un punto e fremo (Timante)

Disk 2

  1. Christoph Willibald Gluck: Gluck, Wq.3, Pt. 2, scena I: I. Creusa intendo … (Demofoonte · Creusa · Adrastro)
  2. Christoph Willibald Gluck: Gluck, Wq.3, Pt. 2, scena I: II. Tu sai chi son (Creusa)
  3. Christoph Willibald Gluck: Gluck, Wq.3, Pt. 2, scena II: I. Che alterezza ha costei! … (Demofoonte · Timante)
  4. Christoph Willibald Gluck: Gluck, Wq.3, Pt. 2, scena II: II. Prudente mi chiedi? (Timante)
  5. Christoph Willibald Gluck: Gluck, Wq.3, Pt. 2, scena III: I. Dunque m’insulta ognun? …
  6. Christoph Willibald Gluck: Gluck, Wq.3, Pt. 2, scena III: II. Se tronca un ramo (Demofoonte)
  7. Christoph Willibald Gluck: Gluck, Wq.3, Pt. 2, scena IV: I. È l’unica speranza… … (Matusio · Timante)
  8. Christoph Willibald Gluck: Gluck, Wq.3, Pt. 2, scena IV: II. È soccorso d’incognita mano (Matusio)
  9. Christoph Willibald Gluck: Gluck, Wq.3, Pt. 2, scena V: I. Ah principessa … (Dircea · Creusa)
  10. Christoph Willibald Gluck: Gluck, Wq.3, Pt. 2, scena V: II. Se tutti i mali miei (Dircea)
  11. Christoph Willibald Gluck: Gluck, Wq.3, Pt. 2, scena VI: I. Che incanto è la beltà! (Creusa · Cherinto)
  12. Christoph Willibald Gluck: Gluck, Wq.3, Pt. 2, scena VI: II. No, non chiedo, amate stelle (Cherinto)
  13. Christoph Willibald Gluck: Gluck, Wq.3, Pt. 2, scena VII: I. Se immaginar potessi …
  14. Christoph Willibald Gluck: Gluck, Wq.3, Pt. 2, scena VII: II. Felice età dell’oro (Creusa)
  15. Christoph Willibald Gluck: Gluck, Wq.3, Pt. 2, scena VIII: I. Santi numi del cielo … (Dircea · Timante), scena IX. I. Indegno. Non fuggirmi. T’arresta … (Demofoonte · Timante · Dircea)
  16. Christoph Willibald Gluck: Gluck, Wq.3, Pt. 2, scena IX.: II. Perfidi! Già che in vita (Demofoonte)
  17. Christoph Willibald Gluck: Gluck, Wq.3, Pt. 2, scena X: I. Sposo/Consorte …
  18. Christoph Willibald Gluck: Gluck, Wq.3, Pt. 2, scena X: II. La destra ti chiedo (Dircea · Timante)

Disk 3

  1. Christoph Willibald Gluck: Gluck, Wq.3, Pt. 3, scena I: I. Taci … (Timante · Adrasto)
  2. Christoph Willibald Gluck: Gluck, Wq.3, Pt. 3, scena I: II. Non odi consiglio? (Adrasto)
  3. Christoph Willibald Gluck: Gluck, Wq.3, Pt. 3, scena II: I. Perché bramar la vita? … (Timante · Cherinto)
  4. Christoph Willibald Gluck: Gluck, Wq.3, Pt. 3, scena II: II. Nel tuo dono io veggo assai (Cherinto)
  5. Christoph Willibald Gluck: Gluck, Wq.3, Pt. 3, scena III: I. Oh figlio, oh sposa … (Timante · Matusio)
  6. Christoph Willibald Gluck: Gluck, Wq.3, Pt. 3, scena III: II. Ah che né mal verace (Matusio)
  7. Christoph Willibald Gluck: Gluck, Wq.3, Pt. 3, scena IV: I. Misero me! (Timante)
  8. Christoph Willibald Gluck: Gluck, Wq.3, Pt. 3, scena V: I. Timante/‘Ah, principessa …
  9. Christoph Willibald Gluck: Gluck, Wq.3, Pt. 3, scena V: II. Misero pargoletto (Timante)
  10. Christoph Willibald Gluck: Gluck, Wq.3, Pt. 3, scena VI: I. Sieguilo, Adrasto …
  11. Christoph Willibald Gluck: Gluck, Wq.3, Pt. 3, scena VI: II. Odo il suono de queruli accenti (Demofoonte)
  12. Christoph Willibald Gluck: Gluck, Wq.3, Pt. 3, scena VII: I. E tu Dircea, che fai? … (Creusa)
  13. Christoph Willibald Gluck: Gluck, Wq.3, Pt. 3, scena VII: II. Che mai risponderti (Dircea)
  14. Christoph Willibald Gluck: Gluck, Wq.3, Pt. 3, scena VIII: I.Qual terra è questa! …
  15. Christoph Willibald Gluck: Gluck, Wq.3, Pt. 3, scena VIII: II. Non dura una sventura (Creusa)
  16. Christoph Willibald Gluck: Gluck, Wq.3, Pt. 3, scena IX: I. Il re per tutto ti ricerca (Adrasto · Timante · Matusio · Dircea). Scena X Non t’ingannan, Timante (Demofoonte · Timante)
  17. Christoph Willibald Gluck: Gluck, Wq.3, Pt. 3: I. Par maggiore ogni diletto (Coro)