Notes & Reviews:
The Boston Early Music Festival Baroque Opera Project aims to unearth and present exceptional Baroque operas that illuminate the history of the art form while providing unprecedented entertainment. Recent performances have been hailed as “a resounding success” (Opera News), “hugely entertaining” (The Boston Phoenix), and “luxuriant” (The Boston Herald). In 2004, BEMF initiated a series of recordings to preserve its groundbreaking Baroque opera creations. The first three CDs in the series earned Grammy nominations for Best Opera Recording. In Blow’s adaptation of the myth of Venus and Adonis – the earliest surviving English opera – Venus falls in love with Adonis after being struck by Cupid’s errant arrow, and then encourages him to hunt the very wild boar that eventually gores him to death.
Forsythe's languid singing is apt for the eroticism of Venus, whose lover Adonis is sung smoothly by baritone Tyler Duncan; Mireille Lebel is less boyish than most Cupids on disc but that does no harm to the impression of knowing innuendo and cynicism (full of in-jokes aimed at members of Charles II's court). The BEMF chorus sounds lovely in gentler passages that adopt a lyrical French style...yet another wonderful recording of a 17th-century opera.
International Record Review
Amanda Forsythe is - as she must be - a warm, enticing Venus, though a perverse one, whom the libretto demands must finally drive her hesitating lover to the chase. Tyler Duncan has a fine baritone, but not quite so confident in the lower register. It's a pretty good chorus too, heard to best effect in the plangent closing number.
This vivid Boston performance evokes the pastoral spirit of the piece, with Amanda Forsythe and Tyler Duncan alluring as the lovers, and Mireille Lebel as a cute Cupid.
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