Album review: La Risonanza, Vivaldi: La Senna Festeggiante (Glossa)


"La Senna Festeggiante" is a serenata, a secular cantata usually performed al fresco in the evening, and written for a specific occasion – in this case, a 1726 tripartite tribute to the French Ambassador, the French king Louis XV, and arts patron Cardinal Ottoboni.

Unlike opera, there is little or no action, simply a three-way civilised conversation between Virtue, The Golden Age, and The Seine, sung by countertenor, soprano and bass respectively. There's an unmistakable courtly grace and light humour about the opening "Sinfonia", ably dispatched by La Risonanza's prancing strings and harpsichord, but while Vivaldi's skill shows in his incorporation of various French elements, the libretto leaves much to be desired.

Download: Sinfonia; Di Queste Selve Venite O Numi; Ouverture