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Barnaby Rayfield
Fanfare, September 2016

The singing is generally very fine. Joana Seara’s fresh, keen tones as Angelica are a delight. Her lover Medoro is taken by the very fruity mezzo Lidia Vinyes Curtis, who sings with full tone if tentative coloratura. The light pleasant tenor of Fernando Guimarães is ideal for Orlando’s intricate music and changes of mood, …An invigorating find. © 2016 Fanfare Read complete review

Elliot Fisch
American Record Guide, September 2016

The performances are very good—particularly the females, who perform the music and difficult ornamentation with excellent tone and control. …The small period instrument orchestra plays beautifully under conductor Castro’s sensitive direction. The sound is excellent. © 2016 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

David Denton
David's Review Corner, April 2016

Naxos continue on a journey of musical discovery, this ‘courtly serenata’ from the Portuguese composer, João de Sousa Carvalho, one of its most significant. Standing somewhere between a cantata and opera, L’Angelica was completed in 1778 to a text by Pietro Metastasio, Carvalho having by then served for some years as a mentor to the children of the Royal Family. His own education took place in Lisbon and Naples where he learned his craft in the world of opera, his fortunes changing when he married a wealthy woman and spent his last years in ‘retirement’ on her estate. The story of this dramatic scenario is of the beautiful princess, Angelica, who loves Medoro, a Moorish soldier who is now recovering from battle in a cave, she keeping the warrior-knight, Orlando, away from him by professing her love only for him. The conniving young lady at last gets her chosen man, everything ending happily when the tricked Orlando sees a star in the sky that reveals her goodness as all join in a song of her praise. Lasting not much short of two hours, it is shaped in a series of arias, duets and recitatives, a subplot of the love of a shepherd and shepherdess fleshing out the cast of five who form the chorus in the finale. The opening Sinfonia places Carvalho’s style in the lineage of Haydn, and though many of the arias are highly decorated, it is strong in melodic content. Calling for singers of outstanding ability, with two of the male roles here sung by women—though intended for male castratos—which leaves only the tenor part of Orlando for a male voice. As was fashionable at that time, it is sung in Italian, the Portuguese cast enjoying careers on the international stage, particularly in the field of Baroque music. If I point to the brilliance of the mezzo, Lidia Vinyes Curtis, as Medoro, that comes from Carvalho’s gift of excitingly brilliant arias to that role. The silvery voice of Joana Seara perfectly portray’s a young woman much in love; Maria Luisa Tavares and Sandra Medeiros sing the two shepherds, with Fernando Guimarães a dry-voiced Orlando. An unusually fine Portuguese period instrument group, Concerto Campestre, is ably conducted by Pedro Castro, the musicologist who discovered the manuscript score from which he has created this performing edition. A remarkable find, and I beg all lovers of Baroque opera to hear it. © 2016 David’s Review Corner

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