OP0201. RAPPRESENTATIONE DI ANIMA ET DI CORPO (Emilio De' Cavalieri), Live Performance, w. Marco Longhini Cond. Le Institutioni Harmoniche Ensemble; Gemma Bertagnolli, Roberto Mattei, Berta Rossetti, Claudio Cavina, Giuseppe Maletto, etc. [Exquisitely beautiful!] (Italy) Stradivarius 33339, Slipcase Edition w.38pp. Libretto-Brochure. Very long out-of-print, Final ever-so-slightly used copy! - 8011570333391
“When Cavalieri composed his REPRESENTATION OF THE SOUL AND BODY, there was no word to describe it: opera still meant someone’s written works, and music performed in Filippo Neri’s Rome oratory still had not come to be known as oratorio, hence the elaborate and wordy title. Music historians sometimes compromise by calling it a sacred opera or staged oratorio, which begs many questions, including the truth of Cavalieri’s own insistence that he beat both Jacopo Peri and Giulio Caccini to the draw in composing the first opera. Peri composed LA DAFNE in 1597, but his and Caccini’s EURIDICE, both of 1600, are the earliest extant examples of the form.
Don’t expect too much in the way of drama from any opera or dramatic oratorio before Monteverdi’s L’ORFEO (1607) and you won’t be disappointed by RAPPRESENTATIONE. The various dialogues between representatives of body, soul, time, etc., are rather formal, much in the stylised manner of morality plays such as EVERYMAN, but the music is colourful and the various instrumental interludes which Cavalieri specifies but didn’t provide add variety. Cavalieri was still finding his way in this work, but many of the features of mature opera are present - there’s even an echo effect in the Second Act where the soul enquires of Heaven what virtues the body should pursue and receives as answer a reflection of the last words of each question.”
– Brian Wilson, MusicWeb International