CD review: Emiliano Gonzalez Toro, I Gemelli, Soleil noir – Arias written by and for Francesco Rasi

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Soleil noir. Arias written by and for Francesco Rasi

Emiliano Gonzalez Toro, tenor; I Gemelli

Naïve V 5473

★★★★

Francesco Rasi (1574-1620) is generally characterized as a tenor of the Florentine school who dabbled with some success in composition and poetry, created the title role of Monteverdi’s Orfeo and beat a murder rap thanks to the protection of the Gonzaga family – a troubling biographical detail that links him to another killer, Carlo Gesulado, in whose service Rasi might actually have done some singing. In this recital Emiliano Gonzalez Toro, a Swiss tenor of Chilean descent, combines some melancholy and similar-sounding monodies by Rasi with music of the type he might have sung, including items by such notables as Caccini, Monteverdi and Peri. (Gesualdo is represented by an undistinguished solo for harp.) Toro supports his low-vibrato sound more elegantly than some baroque singers and the three-piece instrumental ensemble offers delicate support. This recording works nicely for close listening or as a classy background disc. The hard-to-read booklet notes consist of endless biographies and interviews that are not always easy to reconcile with the 17 tracks. Texts are, typically, in tiny print. Best to hit “play,” ignore the booklet, relax and listen. 

This page is also available in / Cette page est également disponible en: Francais (French)

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About Author

Arthur Kaptainis has been a classical music critic since 1986. His articles have appeared in Classical Voice North America and La Scena Musicale as well as Musical Toronto. Arthur holds an MA in musicology from the University of Toronto. Since 2019, Arthur is co-editor of La Scena Musicale.

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