Max Emanuel Cencic (Siroe), Franco Fagioli (Medarse), Julia Lezhneva (Laodice), Juan Sancho (Cosroe), Mary-Ellen Nesi (Emira), Laureen Snouffer (Arasse)
Armonia Atenea, George Petrou
Gramophone Magazine Editor's Choice - January 2015
BBC Music Magazine Disc of the month - February 2015
The world-premiere recording of Siroe re di Persia by Johann Adolf Hasse, whose music encapsulates the refined aristocratic cultural tastes of the European Ancien Régime. Offering true musical fireworks and delights, Siroe is led by Max Cencic in the title role with the vital orchestra of Armonia Atenea and their high-powered conductor, George Petrou: the same vibrant partnership which saw their first album on Decca, Handel’s Alessandro, win a clutch of top awards. Renowned for his gifts as a melodist, in Siroe Hasse offers a feast of rare vocal delights in the telling of a vivid story of passion, jealousy and intrigue.
Cencic is supported by a truly stunning cast, with Decca’s award-winning Julia Lezhneva, countertenor Franco Fagioli (whose own debut album on DG will come soon), Juan Sancho, Mary-Ellen Nesi, and Lauren Snouffer.
Remarkably famous during his lifetime, the composer Hasse was acclaimed by his contemporaries as one of the most important artists of the 18th Century: the greatest singers of the time clamoured to perform in his operas.
Max Cencic & Parnassus Arts’ new stage production of Siroe premiered in June 2014 at Athens’ Megaron to enthusiastic acclaim from audience and critics alike, and will tour to Versailles and Vienna.
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3rd November 2014
“one of the finest recordings of the year...the entire recording crackles with the energy of a staged performance...Cencic radiates nobility and stoicism, whilst Franco Fagioli chews the scenery in the very best sense of the phrase...but Lezhneva pretty much steals the show...Siroe truly deserves to be ‘praised to the skies’, as Metastasio once declared with glee – as do Armonia Atenea and all concerned with this breathtaking recording.”
“Petrou achieves an elusive dichotomy of orchestral delicacy and theatrical pace. Reams of recitatives crackle with dramatic conviction...Cencic's impassioned performance of Siroe's first aria...indicates how much Hasse's style influenced the 'Classical' generation...Fagioli is aptly cast as Siroe's evil little brother...Parnassus Productions earns kudos for its adventurous ambition to record a complete Hasse opera to such a high standard.”
29th January 2015
“the cast seems unfazed by the technical challenges, though there’s rather more bravura than refinement...the soprano Julia Lezhneva shows that it is possible to negotiate Hasse’s vocal writing with stylishness and beauty of tone as well as accuracy.”
“a triumph. It reveals the full splendour of Hasse's score, from tender lyricism to eye-popping virtuosity...Petrou storms his way through the score, pushing the artists beyond what seems physically possible. Cencic and Fagioli clearly relish the challenge, as does Lezhneva...Cencic eventually eclipess the rest of the cast, conveying Siroe's virtue with fierce bravura. Virtuosic also is the playing of Armonia Atenea.”