Opera Arias of the Serenissima
Listen to this for: Vivaldi, Caldara and friends
If you want someone to blame for all this countertenor business, you can point the finger at the Croatian Max Cencic. In February 2013 I returned from Carnevale in Venice, intoxicated with masks and costumes, and bought this album as a way to prolong my immersion in the Baroque. It’s sophisticated, grand and refined, very much like Venice herself. Favourite tracks include the sparkling Anche in mezzo a perigliosa by Vivaldi, with its demanding vocal runs up and down the scale; and the beautifully romantic Pianta bella, pianta amata by Albinoni. I hadn’t really heard many countertenors before and most of those I had heard had been a little strained, so nothing prepared me for Cencic. This luxurious, warm, resonant and amazingly natural voice wasn’t what I’d imagined at all. I was hooked. Having now listened to some of his earlier recordings, I can hear that his voice has grown a little deeper and richer in the last few years, making it a sumptuous delight to listen to. I’ve also been lucky enough to hear him sing this programme live.