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Giovanni Battista Martini (1706-1784), Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757): La Dirindina, opera / Tullia Pedersoli, Camilla Antonini, soprano; Francesco Motto, basso continuo; I Solisti Ambrosiani, Enrico Barbagli

Album Summary

>Scarlatti, Domenico : La Dirindina, intermezzo in 2 parts for 3 voices & orchestra
>Martini, Giovanni Battist : La Dirindina, intermezzo
Conductor Ensemble Composers

Notes & Reviews:

This pleasant intermezzo is based on the comic love triangle among the three protagonists (Don Carissimo, the music teacher in love with his voice student Dirindina who, in turn, is in love with the castrato Liscione) cannot help but bring a smile to even modern-day listeners. Today, this all seems a thing of the past and it is easy for us to laugh about it. But in the early 1700s, these characters were all alive and breathing and could be found just about anywhere. This delightful little opera was to have gone on-stage for the 1715 Carnival season of the Teatro Capranica in Rome as an intermezzo during the opera Ambleto when it was suppressed by papal censors due to its racy text. The years passed and dust began to gather on the manuscript of Scarlatti's opera, until an erudite and highly-cultured musician found the libretto. That musician was Padre Giovanni Battisti Martini, but not yet the world-renowned teacher, the one with whom Mozart would come to study. Having found the text (and perhaps even the score), young Martini decided to set it to music in 1737. Of course, the freshness and spontaneity of Scarlatti's score are something else, but Martini's opera is certainly more articulated and had all the attributes required to enter into the standard repertory, despite its vocal challenges. The music is aristocratic and elegant, the recitatives entertaining and the ensemble writing is not, as is so often said about the music of Padre Martini, just an exercise in style.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: SOUND CHECK STUDIO di Milano nel mese di febbraio (02/2016).


Both Scarlatti and Martini delight with La Dirindina
I wish I spoke Italian. If I did, I expect I'd enjoy these two versions of La Dirindina even more. Nevertheless, the broadly played performances of the singers (particularly Carlo Torriani), gave me a general idea of the humorous interplay going on in this opera buffa.

In the early 1700s, humorous musical interludes were inserted between the acts of operas. At that time, operas were concerned with the doings of gods and men (always of noble blood), had large casts, and were deadly serious. By contrast, the short opera buffa usually involved commoners or servants, with a cast of three.

In La Dirindina, an old music teacher (Don Carissimo) has immoral designs on his pupil (Dirindina), a young aspiring singer. Her attentions are drawn to a handsome castrato (Liscione). The libretto satirizes the world of opera and opera singers. Dirindina and Liscione, for example, fall in love while singing a duet about Dido and Aeneas, mirroring the action audience saw in the serious operas.

It's also a pretty racy text, with plenty of sexual innuendoes and sexually-based humor. Dominico Scarlatti's setting for the 1715 Carnival Season in Rome didn't make it past the censors. But Padre Martini's 1737 version did.

Scarlatti relies more heavily on secco recitative to move the story along, though his arias, duos, and trios are quite lovely. Martini, on the other hand, uses recitative more sparingly, letting duets carry the conversations. To my ears, Martini's music also seems to capture the humorous nature of the text better than Scarlatti.

This album expanded my musical knowledge in several directions. About the only opera buffa, I was familiar with before was Pergolisi's La Serva Padrona. Hearing these helped provide some context for that work.

Virtually all I had heard by Dominico Scarlatti were his keyboard sonatas, so it was nice to hear a different type of composition by him. I was familiar with Padre Martini through music history. He was a noted master of counterpoint and a sought-after composition teacher (his pupils include JC Bach and Mozart). But I had not heard any of his music before now. It was a pleasure.
Submitted on 08/29/16 by RGraves321 
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Works Details

>Scarlatti, Domenico : La Dirindina, intermezzo in 2 parts for 3 voices & orchestra
  • Conductor: Enrico Barbagli
  • Ensemble: I Solisti Ambrosiani
  • Running Time: 3 min. 23 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: circa 1714

>Martini, Giovanni Battist : La Dirindina, intermezzo
  • Ensemble: I Solisti Ambrosiani
  • Running Time: 3 min. 14 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Written: 1731