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After great success on CD and in Silviu Purcarete’s staging at Nancy, conductor Diego Fasolis brings his five countertenors to DVD. It’s clearly a brilliant performance – I cannot warm much to Vinci’s music, though he is a decent melodist – with Fasolis and the Concerto Köln playing with furious energy and plenty of nice titivation in continuo and scoring, while the singing is almost uniformly astonishing. But the film – made with great attention to detail – puts way too much focus on the generic mincing and fey gesturing of the overly stylised staging, whose campery gets wearisome; and close-ups of the singers don’t always do them many favours. The real stars are Diego Fasolis as the long-suffering Arbace (the Carestini role) and Max Emanuel Cencic as his equally put-upon love Mandane (yep, this is 18th-century Rome, so no roles for female singers). Perfect for drag-act falsettist fans.

Robert Thicknesse Read the full review on Agora Classica

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