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In 1658, on the occasion of the recent birth of King Philip IV of Spain's first son (prince Felipe Próspero), the Grand Duchy of Tuscany celebrated the royal event with one of the most magnificent operas ever staged in Florence: l'Ipermestra by Giovanni Andrea Moniglia and Francesco Cavalli.
This opera originated from an unusual mix of court culture and the fashionable "opera alla veneziana", one of the most in vogue entertainments in Europe at the time. However, the main patron of this sign of alliance with the Spanish crown was not the grand duke Ferdinand II de' Medici, but his notorious brother, cardinal Giovan Carlo de' Medici: relentless operagoer and patron of singers, musicians, and academies. l'Ipermestra was one of his most important projects, and its origin, hidden for centuries, has only recently come to light.
An account of the opera was printed in 1658 on the occasion of the performances. Yet although the publicity for the 1658 première was so convincing that everyone believed the opera had been written just for that occasion, we have proof of the existence of l'Ipermestra as early as 1654 - four years prior to the Spanish prince's birth.
- World premiere recording of Cavalli's opera dated 1654-1658
- Recording made after a live stage performance in Utrecht, 2006
- It is a real discovery on a musical point of view and its value is enhanced by a superb performance by soloists and orchestra.
- A performance giving full credit to the composer and his at times excessive demands.
- To the contemporary lover of early music this performance offers beauty in its purest form.
LA SFERA ARMONIOSA/MIKE FENTROSS