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Aria Fresca

Album Summary

>Verdi, Giuseppe : Rigoletto
>Strauss, Richard : Der Rosenkavalier, Op. 59
>Anonymous : Hungaria
>Puccini, Giacomo : Turandot
>Vena, Claudio : Tango Solitario
>Gounod, Charles : Faust
>Pasculli, Antonio : Gran Concerto for Oboe on motives from Verdi's "I vespri siciliani"
>Rossini, Gioachino : La danza. Tarantella Napolitana ("Già la luna è in mezzo al mare"), for voice & piano
>Puccini, Giacomo : Madama Butterfly
Performers Conductor Ensemble Composers
Notes & Reviews:

Personnel: Peter DeSotto (tenor, mandolin, violin); George Meanwell (guitar, cello); Claudio Vena (viola, accordion); Cynthia Steljes (oboe, English horn).

Recording information: Humbercrest United Church, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; St. Clement's Anglican Church, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Originally released in 1998 and reissued in 2005 as part of Linus Records' complete career overview of the Toronto-based classical-folk group Quartetto Gelato, Aria Fresca was the quartet's final album with founder and leader Claudio Vena. The album mostly consists of vocal showcases for tenor Peter DeSotto, familiar arias adapted from various operas (mostly Italian) to fit their idiosyncratic and ever-shifting style. All members of Quartetto Gelato double or triple on their instruments (even DeSotto, who plays violin and mandolin in addition to singing), which gives the album a much more varied sound than similar groups can manage. Primary arranger Vena also gets to stretch out a bit, first with a fully orchestral collaboration with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra on Puccini's Prelude and Aria "Nessun' Dorma" from Turandot and next with his composition "Tango Solitario," an homage to Astor Piazzolla that features his own accordion playing against George Meanwell's canny cello counterpoint. A diverse and enjoyable set, Aria Fresca is a worthy capper to the first stage of Quartetto Gelato's career. ~ Stewart Mason



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Works Details

>Verdi, Giuseppe : Rigoletto :: La Donna è mobile
  • Performers: Claudio Vena (Accordion); George Meanwell (Cello); Quartetto Gelato; Cynthia Steljes (Oboe); Peter Sotto (Violin)
  • Ensemble: Quartetto Gelato
  • Running Time: 2 min. 26 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1851
  • Studio/Live: Studio

>Strauss, Richard : Der Rosenkavalier, Op. 59 :: Suite, includin
  • Performers: Peter Sotto (Violin); Quartetto Gelato; Claudio Vena (Viola); Claudio Vena (Accordion); Cynthia Steljes (Oboe); George Meanwell (Cello)
  • Ensemble: Quartetto Gelato
  • Running Time: 11 min. 15 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1945
  • Studio/Live: Studio

>Anonymous : Hungaria
  • Performers: Quartetto Gelato; George Meanwell (Guitar); Claudio Vena (Accordion); Cynthia Steljes (Oboe); George Meanwell (Cello); Claudio Vena (Viola); Peter Sotto (Violin)
  • Ensemble: Quartetto Gelato
  • Running Time: 6 min. 44 sec.
  • Studio/Live: Studio

>Puccini, Giacomo : Turandot :: Prelude. Aria. Nessun' Dorma
  • Performers: Quartetto Gelato; Cynthia Steljes (Oboe); George Meanwell (Cello); Claudio Vena (Viola); Peter Sotto (Violin)
  • Conductor: Joaquin Valdepeñas
  • Ensemble: Quartetto Gelato
  • Notes: Composition written: 1926.
  • Running Time: 11 min. 44 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1926
  • Studio/Live: Studio

>Vena, Claudio : Tango Solitario
  • Performers: Cynthia Steljes (Oboe); George Meanwell (Cello); Quartetto Gelato; Peter Sotto (Violin); Claudio Vena (Accordion)
  • Ensemble: Quartetto Gelato
  • Running Time: 5 min. 19 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Studio/Live: Studio

>Gounod, Charles : Faust :: Salut! demeure chaste et pure
  • Performers: Quartetto Gelato; George Meanwell (Cello); Cynthia Steljes (Oboe); Claudio Vena (Viola); Peter Sotto (Violin)
  • Ensemble: Quartetto Gelato
  • Running Time: 5 min. 9 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1856-1859
  • Studio/Live: Studio

>Pasculli, Antonio : Gran Concerto for Oboe on motives from Verdi's "I vespri siciliani"
  • Performers: Peter Sotto (Violin); George Meanwell (Cello); Cynthia Steljes (Oboe); Claudio Vena (Accordion); George Meanwell (Guitar); Quartetto Gelato; Claudio Vena (Viola)
  • Ensemble: Quartetto Gelato
  • Running Time: 13 min. 58 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Concerto
  • Studio/Live: Studio

>Rossini, Gioachino : La danza. Tarantella Napolitana ("Già la luna è in mezzo al mare"), for voice & piano
  • Performers: George Meanwell (Guitar); Cynthia Steljes (Oboe); Claudio Vena (Accordion); Peter Sotto (Violin); Quartetto Gelato; Peter Sotto (Mandolin)
  • Ensemble: Quartetto Gelato
  • Running Time: 3 min. 11 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1830-1835
  • Studio/Live: Studio

>Puccini, Giacomo : Madama Butterfly :: Butterfly's lament
  • Performers: Peter Sotto (Violin); Quartetto Gelato; George Meanwell (Cello); Cynthia Steljes (Oboe); Claudio Vena (Accordion)
  • Conductor: Joaquin Valdepeñas
  • Ensemble: Quartetto Gelato
  • Notes: Composition written: 1904.
  • Running Time: 3 min. 46 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1904
  • Studio/Live: Studio