Porpora: Il verbo in carne (Christmas Oratorio)


Riccardo Minasi – Kammerorchester Basel with

Terry Wey, Martin Vanberg and Roberta Invernizzi

A new album based on the work of Neapolitan composer Nicola Porpora, so rarely recorded, is an exceptional event: here is the 1747 Christmas oratorio Il Verbo in carne (“Verb in the flesh”). One of the unique aspects here is how the birth of Christ is presented philosophically and allegorically, far removed from traditional nativity oratorios’ texts that borrow almost exactly from the Bible. Instead, four virtues are introduced in turn: humanity, justice, peace, and truth. The form remains rooted in the genre’s tradition, alternating between recitatives (dry for some, accompanied by an orchestra for others), arias and choruses. As always with Porpora, each number is particularly demanding, both in terms of expressivity and vocal virtuosity, breathtaking at times! The pre-classic orchestra relies on chords, a few wind instruments (flutes, bassoons, horns, the norm at the time, but the absence of the oboe, the trumpets and the timpani for the most striking moments is worth noting; maybe they weren’t available to Porpora at the time) and of course the continuous bass. The Basel Chamber Orchestra, led by Riccardo Minasi, lays a perfect foundation for the excellent panel of singers : Terry Wey, Martin Vanberg and Roberta Invernizzi—shine light on this beautiful masterpiece from the Neapolitan School which was first heard in 1947. This recording showcases the most outstanding parts of the Christmas oratorio.

  • Release Date : 16/11/2018