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In Monteverdi’s time in Mantua, Mary Magdalen was remembered in theatrical interludes during Holy Week. He and his colleagues Guivizzani, Effrem and Rossi appear in an original programme, following the world premiere recording of La Maddalena by Antonio Bertali, premiered in Vienna in 1663. The outstanding singing and playing of Scherzi Musicali, perfectly capturing the balance between sacred and secular, is infused with solemn joy, tickling the palate like the marsala in a tiramisu. Staying in Holy Week, here’s an honourable mention for a double CD of solo Lamentatione by the Venetian Alessandro della Ciaia, emotively voiced by soprano Roberta Invernizzi with Laboratorio ‘600: sometimes daringly, almost painfully, plangent.

REBECCA TAVENER Read the full review on Agora Classica

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