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Joao de Sousa Carvalho (1745-1798): L'Angelica / Joana Seara, Lidia Vinyes Curtis, Fernando Guimaraes, Maria Luisa Tavares, Sandra Medeiros. Concerto Campestre

Album Summary

>Carvalho, Joao de Sousa : L'Angelica, opera
Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

João de Sousa Carvalho was one of the most important Portuguese composers of his generation. L'Angelica was his first opportunity to write a courtly drama after being appointed as music master to the royal princesses, and impressing these noble patrons was a top priority. Setting a libretto by the great poet Metastasio, Carvalho brings out every ounce of dramatic intensity in his richly expressive score, the story of how the beautiful Angelica uses and misuses her seductive charms told in music so captivating that Queen Maria entrusted her composer with key royal commissions thereafter.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Auditório Viana da Mota, Escola Superior de Música de L (10/14/2014-10/19/2014).


Prominent musicologists concur that Joao de Sousa Carvalho (1745-1798) was the most important Portuguese composer of his era. He wrote a sizable body of music but is best remembered as a major exponent of the Serenata, a type of composition stylistically situated somewhere between a cantata, oratorio and opera. The Serenata was a very popular diversion at court often written to celebrate the birthday or name day of some member of the royal family. The texts adapted into libretti usually dealt with patrician notions of fealty and honor. A didactic subtext is often present. Case in point, L’Angelica: “The gifts of beauty and intelligence should be used in an appropriate and morally acceptable manner”. Operating within the conventions of this template, Carvalho was successful in fashioning eminently engaging music, expertly aligned with the potentials of the voice. In accordance with the practices of the day, there is a liberal dose of recitative and ornamentation. The 5 singers are uniformly very good. The contribution of Concerto Campestre, 17 players strong, and their conductor, Pedro Castro is solid as well. The recorded sound is rich, vibrant and very naturally balanced between singers and instrumentalists. Maestro Castro’s exhaustive essay detailing the origin and development of this genre is mandatory reading. Let’s hope that more of the 36 Serenatas attributed to Carvalho can be resurrected with the same degree of care and enthusiasm as exhibited here.
Submitted on 07/01/16 by Allen Cohen 
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Works Details

>Carvalho, Joao de Sousa : L'Angelica, opera
  • Conductor: Pedro Castro
  • Ensemble: Concerto Campestre
  • Notes: Auditório Viana da Mota, Escola Superior de Música de Lisboa, Portugal (10/14/2014-10/19/2014)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 27 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Written: 1778