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Young countertenor Iestyn Davies makes his much anticipated Hyperion solo debut with an enchanting disc of cantatas from the Italian composer Nicola Porpora. Davies’s luminous tone has a celestial purity and he performs with prodigious technical assurance. Unfazed by the composer’s intricate passagework and elaborate ornamentation, his astonishing breath control creates a seamless melodic line. Davies is accompanied by the ensemble Arcangelo in interpretations that go far beyond historical understanding.
In a productive career that spanned 70 years, Porpora wrote some 135 secular canatas, twelve of which were dedicated to His Royal Highness Frederick Prince of Wales, a great patron of the arts and an amateur musician. Porpora’s ability to set the Italian language to music was widely acknowledged during his lifetime and his music is full of imaginative word painting. Davies’s remarkable skill in characterization, and his innate ability to go straight to the heart of both text and music, make this the perfect affiliation.