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Born in Venice around 1670, Caldara gave Barcelona the first opera ever heard in Catalonia, Il più bel nome (1708), commissioned by his patron, the future Emperor Charles VI, before eventually settling in Vienna in the latter’s service in 1716. A prolific composer with three thousand works to his credit, Caldara died in the Austrian capital in 1736 – in the Kärtnerstrasse, like Vivaldi five years later . . . and in a similar state of destitution. [...] The genre, born in the wake of the Counter-Reformation and illustrated notably by the Roman composers Carissimi and Landi, was initially sung in Latin and performed in pious confraternities. But La Maddalena is an oratorio volgare, that is, sung in Italian. [...] The protagonists of La Maddalena, six in number, are split between Earth and Heaven. They are Martha, Mary Magdalene and a Pharisee on the one hand; Jesus, Earthly Love and Divine Love on the other. They divide among them thirty-three arias and ensembles, in a sequence alternating recitative and aria. Vincent Borel

Le choix de France Musique award Choc Classica award

"Guillon’s shrewd direction produces a scintillating performance that offers fresh light on Caldara’s qualities."
"Benedetta Mazzucato's contralto is plummy and full-bodied as Earthly Love, while the more androgynous tones of countertenor Damien Guillon (also the ensemble's director) suggest more angelic realms. Reinoud van Mechelen's velvety tenor assuages as Christ, and Riccardo Novaro's baritone is suitably resolute for the Pharisee. The recording is intimate and detailed."
BBC Music Magazine
"While the new recording cannot and does not displace the Jacobs, it is worthy to stand alongside it. That in itself is high praise; we are lucky to have two such outstanding recordings of this lovely work."
Early Music Review