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A composer who led a dissolute life and ended up stabbed to death in Genoa, Stradella nevertheless left a distinctive stamp on the history of music. He is situated at the intersection of several stylistic paths and periods, at the crossroads between opera and sacred drama, since his output, and especially San Giovanni Battista (St John the Baptist), marks the encounter of the great Roman oratorio inherited from Carissimi with the Venetian opera of Cavalli. Stradella is also close to the next generation, that of Scarlatti and Handel. His music is characterised by liveliness, expressiveness and profound humanity. Although San Giovanni Battista enjoyed genuine success when it was premiered in 1675, it was only in 1949 that the work was exhumed from the libraries where its score lay slumbering. That event took place in Perugia, and the role of Salome was sung by Maria Callas. (after A. Surrans)
"The playing of Le Banquet Céleste is exceptional throughout."
Early Music World
"Le Banquet Céleste communicate the conflicts – musical, ethical, theatrical – of Stradella’s San Giovanni Basttista – with tremendous insight and expressive skill. Stradella’s irrepressible defiance of convention, in art as in life, both surprises and delights."
"The musicians of Le Banquet Céleste leave nothing behind in giving their best of a rewarding score, and this whole production crackles with energy. (…) This Alpha Classics recording is set in a marvellous acoustic which is perfect for the energy and expressive range in the performance, which has been captured with detail as well as with plenty of spacious air and atmosphere."
Music web international
"Damien Guillon, the countertenor full of finesse, conductor and leader of his young ensemble Le Banquet céleste, based in Rennes, brings it to a demonstrative close. With colourful playing and entertaining tempi, firm to the bite and straightforward, one convinces before. Pliantly, counter sounds Paul-Antoine Benos-Djian in the title role at the top. Alicia Amo sings the Salome with a rebelliously bright soprano, the darkly sparkling Gaia Petrone lends her precious alto organ to the few movements of the Herodiade la Madre. Artavazd Sargsyan with his characteristic tenor gives the consigliere, Olivier Dejain with his soft, agile bass baritone gives the Herodian, who is comparatively mild-mannered here."
"(…) certainly one of the best performances available."
Musica dei donum
"In short, this is an incisive interpretation of one of the masterpieces of the 17th century (…) one of the best performances available."