Saturday, September 9, 2023

Ars Lyrica Houston releases world premiere recording of Alessandro Scarlatti’s 1710 oratorio, La sposa dei cantici

Houston, TX, September 6, 2023: GRAMMY®-nominated Ars Lyrica Houston is proud to announce the long-awaited release of Alessandro Scarlatti’s oratorio La sposa dei cantici on the Acis label. Starring four international stars of the early music world, this recording features the revival of a rarely-heard work that celebrates the Feast of the Assumption and the multi-layered rewards of human existence.

Ars Lyrica’s Artistic Director Matthew Dirst describes the music as “a mixture of the heavenly with the playful. Its subject matter—divine love—found a perfect compositional partner in Alessandro Scarlatti, the great master of the Italian vocal style at the dawn of the eighteenth century. I was thrilled to record it with such exceptional singers and players.” The oratorio’s four main characters are portrayed by three countertenors and one soprano, resulting in an exquisite combination of high voices. Countertenor John Holiday, “one of the finest countertenors of his generation,” (Los Angeles Times) and soprano Meghan Lindsay, whose voice has been described as “shimmering and luminous” (Opera Going Toronto), take the lead as Sposo and Sposa. The supporting roles Amor divino and Eternità are performed by two equally acclaimed artists: countertenor Jay Carter, described as “simply marvelous” (Washington Post) and Ryland Angel, a “gleaming countertenor... [with] aching sensitivity” (Riverfront Times). The four singers perform alongside Ars Lyrica’s critically acclaimed instrumental ensemble.

Ars Lyrica presents the world premiere recording of Scarlatti’s 1710 version which he and the librettist revised for its Naples performance. The 1703 premiere in Rome was presented under the title Assunzione della Beata Vergine (recorded with three sopranos by Matthieu Peyrègne/Ensemble Baroque de Monaco/Paraty 2019). For this project Ars Lyrica collaborated with GRAMMY®-nominated producer Geoffrey Silver and award-winning mastering engineer Ryan Edwards. Later in Ars Lyrica’s 20th anniversary 2023/24 season, this team will also release a recording of Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1, by Matthew Dirst on Bach-style harpsichord from master builder John Phillips. La sposa dei cantici (released September 5, 2023) is available for purchase in physical formats from Ars Lyrica and Acis, and streaming on all platforms. 


Based in Houston, Texas, Ars Lyrica Houston has received international acclaim for outstanding performances of neglected gems from the 17th and 18th centuries. Founded in 1998 by harpsichordist and conductor Matthew Dirst, the ensemble presents a diverse array of music, and through imaginative programming extracts the dramatic potential, emotional resonance, and expressive power of music. Its subscription concert series “sets the agenda”

for early music in Houston (Houston Chronicle). In 2011, Ars Lyrica received a GRAMMY® nomination for Best Opera for a groundbreaking recording of Johann Adolph Hasse’s Marc’ Antonio e Cleopatra.

Acis is one of America’s leading independent classical labels that boasts a roster of GRAMMY®-winning and nominated artists. Founded by twice GRAMMY®-nominated producer, conductor Geoffrey Silver (co-founder of New York Polyphony, former Chorus Master of twice GRAMMY®-winning The Washington Chorus), the label has excellence in the fields of early music, choral, and organ as its focus, and champions emerging and established artists in North America and Europe–particularly women and artists of color.

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