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      Thibault Noally / Les Accents

      Alessandro Scarlatti: Il Martirio di Santa Teodosia

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      AllMusic Review by

      This is not the first recording of Alessandro Scarlatti's oratorio Il Martirio di Santa Teodosia; a zippier version was made by I Barocchisti and Diego Fasolis on the CPO label some years back, but there's much to recommend this version by Les Accents and their leader, Thibault Noally, nicely recorded at a Protestant church in Paris. The fact is that this is something of a neglected masterpiece, an oratorio with many operatic traits, and a highly listenable and dramatic piece of musical storytelling, and it is susceptible to multiple readings. The story is from the annals of the early Christian church, and Scarlatti appears to be the only composer to have treated it musically (the librettist is unknown). The titular Teodosia of the early fourth century is arrested and ordered executed by the Roman governor, Urbanus. Thrown into the sea several times, she emerges whole and is finally decapitated. Meanwhile, Urbanus' son Arsenio falls head over heels in love with Teodosia, who is determined to accept martyrdom. Scarlatti responds to this with a mixture of the older 17th century Italian oratorio style, with a good deal of action in the recitatives, including several impressive trio recitatives, and some absolutely gorgeous arias. Listen to "Spirti beati," Teodosia's avowal of tragic demise; if it isn't the equal of Purcell's "When I am laid in earth," from Dido and Aeneas, it's at least in the same league. The singers here, led by Emmanuelle de Negri as Teodosia, are a delicate group. There's room for more oomph, but many may prefer it this way. There is no chorus as the four singers simply join together for the final "coro." This is a work with much to reveal, and yet almost unknown. Kudos to Les Accents for rediscovering it.

      Track Listing

      Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
      Il Martirio di Santa Teodosia
      1 06:42 Amazon
      2 00:55 Amazon
      3 02:21 Amazon
      4 00:21 Amazon
      5 01:16 Amazon
      6 00:27 Amazon
      7 02:28 Amazon
      8 00:45 Amazon
      9 02:07 Amazon
      10 00:50 Amazon
      11 02:23 Amazon
      12 00:15 Amazon
      13 00:26 Amazon
      14 02:54 Amazon
      15 01:25 Amazon
      16 01:34 Amazon
      17 00:21 Amazon
      18 00:49 Amazon
      19 01:11 Amazon
      20 07:39 Amazon
      21 01:01 Amazon
      22 01:35 Amazon
      23 00:54 Amazon
      24 00:41 Amazon
      25 03:53 Amazon
      26 01:55 Amazon
      27 02:37 Amazon
      28 01:27 Amazon
      29 02:37 Amazon
      30 00:26 Amazon
      31 01:06 Amazon
      32 01:50 Amazon
      33 03:54 Amazon
      34 00:55 Amazon
      35 01:00 Amazon
      36 02:09 Amazon
      37 06:44 Amazon
      38 02:45 Amazon
      blue highlight denotes track pick