Forte and piano with Roberta Invernizzi (Wigmore Hall, 21 July 2015)

Roberta Invernizzi soprano
Fabio Bonizzoni harpsichord | La Risonanza strings

Yesterday I had an vivacious evening at Wigmore Hall with Leander and friends: deconstructing the Aix-en-Provence Alcina over fruit tarte, singing praises to Roschmann’s Mozart and wondering if an oboe or a flute wouldn’t have made La Risonanza’s sound more varied. As it was we had to contend with strings (the plucking was very welcome) and harpsichord (which I enjoyed a lot in the jaunty Rete, lacci e strali adopra).

Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)
Da due venti from Ercole su’l Termodonte RV710
Ombre vane, ingiusti orrori from Griselda RV718
George Frideric Handel (1685-1759)
Overture from Rodrigo HWV 5
Antonio Vivaldi
Se mai senti spirarti sul volto from Catone in Utica RV705
Rete, lacci e strali adopra from Dorilla in Tempe RV709


George Frideric Handel
Piangerò la sorte mia from Giulio Cesare in Egitto HWV17
Antonio Vivaldi
Sinfonia from Dorilla in Tempe RV709
George Frideric Handel
Ritorna, o caro e dolce mio tesoro from Rodelinda HWV19
Da tempeste il legno infranto from Giulio Cesare in Egitto HWV17


Antonio Vivaldi
Leggi almeno, tiranna infedele from Ottone in villa
Armatae face, et anguibus from Juditha triumphans

I came across Invernizzi via the last encore presented here and in a slighty roundabout way. If I’m not mistaken, thadieu pointed to her interpretation as an example of the wrong way of doing this aria 😉 I’m as curious about rubbish as I am about gold, so I clicked. Surprise! I was in favour of what I heard: scenery chewing of the take no prisoners kind.

I immediately liked her very personal way of singing the bravura arias. The way she negotiates coloratura feels very abstract. The forte and the piano both come out very strongly to the point where you don’t feel that much in between. But the forte and the piano are balanced in such an exquisite way that the effect is powerful and deliberate. Though succint, the characterisation is energetic and unequivocal, leaving little doubt as to the mood of the character.

As soon as the first aria ended I thought she would cope rather well with Armida’s Furie terribili. Technically she sounds very good, with fearless leaps of great precision that not even once caused her any trouble. But later something else emerged. If the top is built more on power than on beauty, the lower end has an unexpected warmth that made Caio’s Leggi, almeno unexpectedly seductive in ways I tend to associate with mezzos rather than sopranos.

Invernizzi is due back at Wigmore Hall next June with ladies Prina and Gauvin, which has the potential of a very exciting show.

About dehggial

Mozart/Baroque loving red dragon

Posted on July 22, 2015, in baroque, live performances, sopranos, wigmore hall and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.

  1. i think the phrase i used was “singing i can’t handel” , or stealing from ToveS, “over-emoting”, or finally from your dictionaire “OTT” 😉 . I think it’s a matter of taste. of course i know nothing about singing so it’s only perception, but definitely i wouldn’t use the word “wrong” 🙂 . But i think listening live vs yt-bing is different.. (though as we now see how opinions can differ you might have liked Mary-Ellen Nesi as Penelope..)


    • Ah, ok, sorry. I couldn’t remember which post it was to go and check what you actually said. It’s interesting how opinions differ, you’re right, as I wouldn’t say she was over-emoting 😉 it felt the right amount of fuel to the fire but the way she uses sound is very categorical. That’s how I hear it. You never know about Nesi’s Penelope, if I was in your area I’d have gone for sure.


      • 🙂
        i think there’ll always be debates about the level of involvements in this aria.. and everyone seems to love to have a go at it. Interestingly enough for me it was my “official intro” into CB so to speak… and yet i’m sure some people would take issue to how she did it (in that vivaldi concert in paris). amanda forsythe will take a hack at it this coming oct here in boston, surely you’ll hear some reports 🙂


        • Is that the concert where she wears the blue dress? So is Amanda Forsythe singing an all Vivaldi recital? Btw, I am going to sample her singing on 28 Sept in Orphee 😀


          • ja, u told me, she’s singing Amore, to JDF’s fancy orphee 😉
            boston baroque is planning the entire Juditha Triumphans in Oct!! (concert version, better, coz we get to see orchestra, yayaaa!) Am trying to subtly induce Stray to listen to the entire thing before Oct via various posts.. also am a bit wary coz they only bring in 3 mezzos and no contralto.. some of those arias really traverse up and down and straddle right at the passaggio and can really give the impression of drowning/trying to keep nose above water for mezzos 😀 (that’s the image i have in head hearing that Juditha from Venice)


      • How easily one is led, and here I’m supposed to be focusing on Catone in Utica


        • Have you seen it? I know of the chap who sings Cesare and I think the woman who sings Fulvio used to be in a JDD Masterclass on youtube so I’m wondering how they did.


      • Not for a couple of weeks yet. My season starts tomorrow with The Wreckers.


  2. I had a rather different take on the concert from Dehgg, as she knows, and am trying to find a way of putting it into words for a post. Basically, although I could tell that Invernizzi was good, I didn’t warm to her voice as much as I’d expected, and that’s odd, because I have three of her CDs and like her singing on the recordings. It just didn’t come across as well in live performance, in my humble and probably misguided opinion. The ‘fearless leaps’ mentioned here sounded forced to me, as did some of the high notes, and to my ears her voice lacked the richness and warmth that really excite me in a singer. Having said that, one can’t fault her expressiveness, and if the first half left me thoroughly cold, the second half began to thaw me slightly, and I really did enjoy both encores.

    Liked by 1 person

    • P.S. But her and Prina? Hell yes. I’ll be there for that.


    • I see what you’re saying about stuff sounding forced. The way I digest that is she’s uncompromising with drama and unafraid to sacrifice beauty of sound. In my experience singers tend to be tamer or more careful in recordings, perhaps because you can have a few takes and maybe the conductor too does interfere. When you’re on stage you have one shot at it and the conductor can’t do much beside setting the tempo.


    • thanks, it’s nice to hear different opinions, gives one a more rounded picture of how different we all inhale music 🙂


  3. Regie, or Not Regie?

    Earworm introduced me to RI and my initial reaction (on a zippy coloratura piece) was a soprano just barely under control, which made for very exciting listening. I like how she handles this one as well. Her concert with Prina should be exciting. Prina tends (in my experience) to proceed without caution regarding register shifts and expressive sounds–which I generally appreciate, though others may not…


    • Ha, that’s how I feel about Prina too! At first I thought “she’s mad and sloppy!” but then I came to appreciate her nonchalance in attacking difficult passages. Why not? After you hear a lot of careful renditions of a piece you’re dying for something less calculated.


  4. I wish I could have heard this concert! (Or that I could be in London for that one one with Prina and Gauvin) As Rob said, I enjoy RI’s singing, & I’ve never been able to catch a live performance.


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