February 07, 2022

“Maria & Maddalena” from Francesca Aspromonte selected as an Editor’s Choice by Gramophone Magazine

“Soprano Francesca Aspromonte follows her fine recital of Baroque operatic prologues (8/18) with an equally enterprising ‘concept’ album devoted to the biblical figures of the Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalene, the penitent sinner”.

Maria & Maddalena performed by Francesca Aspromonte received a sublime review and has been selected as an Editor’s Choice by Gramophone Magazine. Review by Richard Wigmore.

On her second PENTATONE album Maria & Maddalena, star soprano Francesca Aspromonte explores the Two Marys in oratorios by Lulier, Bononcini, Leopoldo I d’Asburgo, Caldara, Perti, Handel and Scarlatti, partly in new editions, documenting the extremely bloom of the genre in the years around 1700. She performs these works together with violinist Boris Begelman as well as the seasoned players of I Barocchisti under the baton of the eminent Diego Fasolis.

“In a heartfelt if slightly gushing note, Aspromonte invites us to reflect on the spiritual conflicts of the Gospel’s two iconic female figures. Her commitment to their stories as told through music shines out in every number. With a warm, sensuous middle register and free-soaring top, her soprano is a notable coloufrul instrument; and she deploys it with subtlety, grace, and a vivid sense of drama. Nothing is ever generalised. Aspromonte’s natural intensity and care for the sound and sense of the words are immediately revealed in the lively Lulier aria that opens the disc. Jousting with Boris Begelman’s solo violin, she mingles brilliance and passionate urgency in arias by Bononcini and Perti, while Magdalene’s vision of salvation in La Resurrezione provokes delirious whoops of joy”.

“Imaginatively planned, brilliantly executed, this is a disc guaranteed to give pleasure to any lover of the Italian Baroque with a sense of adventure”.

Photo by Nicola dal Maso