Vivaldi arias are increasingly popular fare in this post-Bartoli age, but it’s his pyrotechnics for soprano which have tended to dominate on disc – this may well be the first devoted entirely to the tenor repertoire. He’s a sterling advocate, singing with light, bright timbre and all the requisite agility to do Vivaldi’s virtuosic writing justice. Taken individually, these are lively and engaging pieces, and Lehtipuu’s delivery is expressive, precise and stylistically exemplary. But the album runs to 23 tracks, and en masse, this succession of showpieces verges on overdose – or at least risks becoming too much of a good thing.
On the strength of this selection, Vivaldi’s tenor arias seem to lack the variety of those for the female voice, and while Lehtipuu’s singing has its elegant appeal, it’s not quite distinctive or drop-dead gorgeous enough to compensate for the relentlessness of the repertoire. Diego Fasolis and period band I Barocchisti inject their share of colour, their vibrant playing offering energetic support and shining in the instrumental numbers which punctuate the program.
Hardened Vivaldi addicts may naturally take the above reservations with a grain of salt: those who have been eagerly devouring Naïve’s series will find plenty here to sate their hunger. For the more casual Baroque fan or tenor admirer, however, this album is perhaps better enjoyed in small, sweet doses than one saturated sitting.