Reviews

Due to the copyright restrictions in Germany and Switzerland these are only a few reviews which we are explicitly allowed to use. Unfortunately, for this reason a large number of press reviews may not be used at the moment.

  • www.classicalacarte.net - CD Cavalli

  • "‘Sospiri d’amore’ – a recital of carefully chosen excerpts, many of which send you off in search of the complete opera – has a beautiful ebb and flow to it, moving from the playful (‘Qui cade al tuo pie’) to the desperate (‘Io misero fui Rege’) in thoughtful juxtapositions and musical arcs. It helps that Semenzato and Pe take an expansive, Italianate approach to this highly rhetorical music, aided by delicate interventions from Cavina’s small, infinitely refined band. This is public opera rendered with private immediacy and intensity, and although some might miss the brass flurries and fanfares of other recordings, there’s such dramatic flexibility in these arias, ariosos and duets that it’s easier to accept a narrower textural canvas." (Alexandra Coghlan, 9/16)

  • Early Music Today - CD Box: Monteverdi, complete madrigals

  • “Between 1998 and 2006 La Venexiana committed all of Monteverdi’s madrigals to disc. I remember raving over nearly every release as it appeared, finding in their performances not only an infinitely subtle palette of colours and shades, but also a nonchalant yet highly characterised delivery of the texts that only an ensemble of Italian-speakers could produce. While I still treasure performances by other groups [...] La Venexiana’s complete set is far and away the best currently available.” (AH, 12/14)

  • Opera con brio - Handel Festival Halle

  • “’Duello Amoroso’ was an appealing program of duets an arias from cantatas by Steffani and Handel, which the renowned early music ensemble La Venexiana offered with two singers experienced in the baroque repertory, soprano Roberta Mameli and countertenor Raffaele Pè. One could savor in pieces like the poignant imitative chromatic soprano lament, ‘Occhi, perché paingete?’ the influence of Steffani on Handel. In the two Steffani duets, the pair of crystalline voices blended and interwined with ease. One could also clearly hear the influence of Bach. Cello, theorbo, and harp, provided elegant and nuanced support, with director Claudio Cavina at the cembalo. It was a delightful occasion.” (6/14)

  • guardian.co.uk - CD Ulisse

  • “Those who have admired La Venexiana's Orfeo and Poppea shouldn't hesitate. The tone of the performance, dramatically expressive and crisply conversational, is set by Cavina himself; as well as conducting, his is the first voice to be heard, singing the role of Human Frailty in the prologue, and the sense of an ensemble performance is consistently conveyed. There are no spot-lit star performances, though both José Maria Lo Monaco as Penelope and Anicio Zorzi Giustiniani as Ulysses are wonderfully, humanely characterised – their closing duet is all the more touching for being understated – and at the opposite end of the opera's dramatic spectrum, Luca Dordolo is suitably OTT as Irus. With a small group of orchestral strings, Cavina keeps the textures light, and in a sleeve note he does admit to making some small changes to the score where he thinks a third party might have tidied up Monteverdi's manuscript.”

  • Gramophone - CD Ulisse

  • “Cavina’s approach to the skeletal score is perhaps the most minimalist to date on disc. Using an ‘orchestra’ of only seven strings, five plucked instruments and harpsichord, he focusses on the ‘singing recitation’ of Badoaro’s text and Monteverdi’s music, which is vividly and expressively delivered by his mostly Italian cast. Lovlier voices than those of Anicio Zorzi Giustiniani and Jose Maria Lo Monaco have sung Ulysses and Penelope on disc, but few have been more moving in their final reconciliation. Roberta Mameli is an incinsive Minerva, Salvo Vitale a cavernous Neptune, while Francesca Lombardi’s Melanto and Makoto Sakurada’s Eurimaco make aural sex of their ecstatic love scene. An enthralling set.”

  • guardian.co.uk - CD Luzzaschi, Concerto delle Dame

  • “As the three sopranos of La Venexiana show, they are wonderfully supple, ornamented settings, with striking contrasts between the single-voice numbers and the gorgeously rich textures of the three-voice ones, while the viola da gamba, lute and harpsichord provide the most tactful continuo support.”

  • Grammophone - CD Artemisia

  • “The music is terrific and so is the cast. The singers are especially adept at putting across the dialogue, which has the vigour of a staged performance. [...] The orchestra is perfect: six plucked continuo instruments plus single strings, which accompany some of the arias. […] This is a triumph for Claudio Cavina and La Venexiana.”

  • International Record Review - CD Artemisia

  • “The performance recorded here is nothing less than a triumph. […] La Venexiana’s familiarity with, and affection for, the work shows most obviously in the captivating way they project the drama and inhabit the characters. […] Cavina keeps things modest an intimate, in keeping with the tiny seventeenth-century Venetian opera stage houses, using single strings and trusting in the original continuo textures. Above all, he shows us just how telling an apparently simple bass line can be, offering ‘melodic comment’ on what’s being sung, hinting to us whether a character is lying or keeping a secret. We are drawn in. Cavina’s choice of singers is perfectly matched to the scale of the production. […] It’s brilliant.”

  • www.allmusic.com - CD Round M

  • “Claudio Cavina and his ensemble La Venexiana have irreproachable credentials as Monteverdi experts. Their recordings of the complete Books of Madrigals and the operas Orfeo and Poppea set the standard for technically impeccable, intelligently informed, and devastatingly expressive performances, so when they set their hands to introducing jazz elements into the composer’s music, listeners can be confident that they are not approaching it casually or with any lack of respect. […] The outstanding soprano Roberta Mameli, who was featured on many of La Venexiana’s albums, is equally in her element in the freedom she brings to these performances. Her tone, piercingly pure but full-bodied, and her easy feel for jazz immediately command attention and sometimes amazement.”

  • www.telegraph.co.uk - CD L’Incoronazione di Poppea

  • “The playing of nine continuo instrumentalists, led by Roberta Mameli and Emanuela Galli, is vivid and stylish.”

  • www.bbc.co.uk - CD L’Incoronazione di Poppea

  • “The rather unsavoury tale of Nero’s infatuation with the courtesan Poppea, her social climbing at the expense of her former lover or anyone else who stands in her way, is delivered with such passion, brilliance and vitality that the performances seem to leap into life before us. Roberta Mameli as Nero is as imperious as you could wish, and Emanuela Galli’s Poppea is believably seductive; the way they linger over the final love duet is extreme, but utterly entrancing. As Poppea’s old Nurse Arnalta, Ian Honeyman proves a real scene-stealer, but the most colourful turn of all is the instrumental group, whose continuo playing and musical punctuation is deliciously colourful and joyfully flamboyant, a constant source of delight and fascination. (…) I can’t wait to hear it again!”

  • music.barnesandnoble.com - CD L’Incoronazione di Poppea

  • “The performance really takes off when the principals make their entrances, and by the third scene, the erotically charged bedroom interaction with Poppea and Nero, the listener is likely to be swept up in the musical excitement and drama. (…) Highly recommended.”

  • The Guardian Online - CD L’Incoronazione die Poppea

  • “The performances crackle with theatricality, the ensemble playing is first rate and the singing is outstanding, with Emanuela Galli as Poppea and Roberta Mameli as Nerone making wonderfully believable characters of the murderously scheming lovers.”

  • Le Progrès - Festival de musique baroque de Lyon

  • “[…] La Venexiana, one of the best ensembles to perform the repertoire of the Italian madrigals […].”

  • Die Presse - Melk Monastery International Baroque Festival

  • “To celebrate the 400th anniversary of its first performance, a concert production of Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo was held in the monastery chapel. Particularly outstanding were Mirko Guadagnini in the title role and the equally undiminished Gloria Banditelli as Messagera. A self-assured Claudio Cavina conducted his considerably increased madrigal ensemble La Venexiana.”

  • Wiener Zeitung, Vienna Concert Hall

  • “Hearts were blissfully warmed as the first A-Cappella chord was sung. A sound which is as balanced as the high walls of a Florentine renaissance palace: rich in sound, precise intonation and a warm timbre.”

  • The Guardian - St John's, Smith Square, London, Lufthansa Baroque Festival

  • “Anyone who has heard any of La Venexiana's superlative recordings of the Monteverdi madrigals will know how dramatically alive their approach to this music can be. Every bar of L'Orfeo had that same special charge, one that non-native Italian singers can never quite match. […] Everything was so vivid, so innately theatrical - Mirko Guadagnini was a charismatic Orfeo, Gloria Banditelli the totally clear Messenger, José Lo Monaco a striking Esperanza.”

  • The Times - London, St John's Smith Square, Lufthansa Festival

  • “Instrumentally, this was a golden night. […] Each player projected confidently. That was the singers' way, too.”

  • The Sunday Times

  • “La Venexiana, one of the increasing number of expert Italian early music groups, perform with an ultra-refined passion, introducing a varied palette of voices with or without instruments, and responding to the inflexions of the poetry with consummate flexibility.”

  • Telegraph - Monteverdi: Ottavo Libro dei Madrigali

  • “La Venexiana squeeze every ounce of drama out of the music in truly thrilling performances that grip the attention from the first note to the last.”