Cavalli: Il Xerse

Despite enjoying remarkable success at its premiere in 1655, Francesco Cavalli’s opera Il Xerse has been overshadowed by ensuing versions of the story of Xerxes I, the great Persian ruler, not least by Handel’s enduringly popular Xerxes. This milestone release represents the first recording of Cavalli’s opera in the new Bärenreiter critical edition, and is the audio version of the audiovisual production recently released on the Dynamic label (DYN-37983/DYN-57983): ‘Thanks to Muscato’s direction, Giovanna Fiorentini’s decisive costuming, and the remarkable vocal and dramatic talents of the cast, each character has an appealing individuality that propels the story with effortless clarity.’ (American Record Guide)


Francesco CAVALLI (1602–1676)
Il Xerse
Dramma per musica in a prologue and three acts (1655)
Libretto by Nicolò Minato (c. 1627–1698)
Critical edition by Sara Elisa Stangalino and Hendrik Schulze (2019) – abridged version
Sung in Italian

Dioklea Hoxha, Carolina Lippo, Ekaterina Protsenko, Sopranos
Gaia Petrone, Mezzo-soprano • Carlo Vistoli, Countertenor
Orchestra Barocca Modo Antiquo • Federico Maria Sardelli

Francesco Cavalli was successor to Monteverdi and the most influential opera composer in Venice during the mid⁠-⁠17th century. His dramma per musica, Il Xerse, was innovative for the period, with a tangled plot of affections and relationships based on history rather than mythology. Its enormous success was due in no small part to Xerse’s bizarre and overblown character and his famous declaration of love for a tree, ‘Ombra mai fu’. Cavalli’s Il Xerse is commedia dell’arte theatre that creates an exotic world aimed at inspiring awe in its audiences, enhanced with music that conveys an avalanche of emotions.

Listen to an extract from Act III:
La donna caduta

Also available
37983 [DVD] / 57983 [Blu-ray]
Audiovisual premiere of the new Bärenreiter critical edition on the Dynamic label
About the Artists
Carlo Vistoli
Ekaterina Protsenko
Gaia Petrone
Carolina Lippo
Dioklea Hoxha
Federico Maria Sardelli is a conductor, composer, flautist, musicologist, painter, engraver and essayist. Principal conductor of the Baroque Academy of St Cecilia, Rome, he is also a regular guest of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Teatro La Fenice, Moscow State Chamber Orchestra and many other theatres. He founded Modo Antiquo in 1984. Sardelli has made more than forty recordings for Naïve, Deutsche Grammophon, Sony Classical, Glossa, Dynamic and Brilliant, and was nominated for GRAMMY Awards in 1997 and 2000.
Founded by Federico Maria Sardelli in 1984, the Baroque orchestra Modo Antiquo unites musicians endowed with virtuosity and a profound knowledge of the languages and practices of historical performance. The orchestra has appeared at many festivals and in theatres worldwide. It has recorded extensively for labels such as Naïve, Sony Classical, Glossa and Deutsche Grammophon, with an impressive discography of more than forty albums that include many world premiere recordings.
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