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Home » Italian Composers » Leo

Leonardo Leo (1694-1744)

Daniel Heartz wrote: "During the 1720s Leo was renowned enough to receive commissions from Rome and Venice, but he wrote little in the way of serious opera for Naples. Compare this with Vinci's output, or Hasse's seven operas in six years for the San Bartolomeo (1725-1731). Only with the death of Vinci in 1730 and Hasse's departure from Naples the same year did the field open wide for Leo. Also to be taken into consideration is that Pergolesi failed to please in Naples with his serious operas. These considerations help explain how Leo became the leading composer of serious opera in Naples, but not until the 1730s. Although older than Vinci, Hasse, and Pergolesi he became in a certain artistic sense their successor. His solid craftsmanship and many sacred compositions also placed him in the succession of Alessandro Scarlatti." from Music in European Capitals, The Galant Style 1720-1780, page 130.

Links

Leonardo Leo, Compositore di Musica - Napoli

Portrait of Leonardo Leo (partial image of an anonymous portrait)

Performances

Leo. Sant'Elena al Calvario. Fabio Biondi, Europa Galante. Santa Elena: Gemma Bertagnoli, soprano; Eustazio: Anna Chierichetti, soprano; San Macario: Vivica Genaux, mezzo-soprano; Eudossa: Helena Rasker, mezzo-soprano; Draciliano: Roberto Abbondanza, baritone. 19 April 2011, Cracow Philharmonic Hall, Cracow, Poland.

Recordings

Leonardo Leo. Musica per la Real Cappella di Napoli. Galant Master Project GMP-CD2 (1 CD, December 2012). Details. Thomas J. Tropp, Chicago Galant Consort. US | UK | DE | CA | JP
Leonardo Leo (1694-1744). L'Alidoro (Commedia in musica, Naples 1740). Dynamic DVD 33588 (2 DVDs, July 2009, 2 CDs, October 2010). DVD Details / CD Details. Antonio Florio, Orchestra Barocca Cappella della Pietà de'Turchini. Elisa: Francesca Russo Ermolli, mezzo-soprano; Faustina: Maria Grazia Schiavo, soprano; Zeza: Valentina Varriale, soprano; Luigi / Alidoro: Maria Ercolano, soprano; Don Marcelo: Giuseppe De Vittorio, tenor; Meo: Gianpiero Ruggeri, baritone; Giangrazio: Francesco Morace. This is the finest commercially available musical performance of a Leo opera. There are three predominately serious roles, Faustina, the prima donna with the most difficult music, Luigi and Elisa, while the rest are mostly or wholly buffa. The staging is less objectionable than most. Sitting on the floor while singing seems to be a prevailing fad among stage directors. DVDs: US | UK | FR | DE | CA | JP
CDs: US | UK | FR | DE | CA | JP
Durante, Leo, Porpora. A voi ritorno: Cantatas & Instrumental Works from 18th Century Naples. Fuga Libera FUG 570 (1 CD, June 2010). Giorgio Sasso, violin & director, Insieme Strumentale di Roma. Raffaella Milanesi, soprano. Leo: Cantata "Vado dal Piano al Monte"; Porpora: Cantata: "Il Ritiro". Concertos by Durante & Leo & a sinfonia by Leo. US | UK | FR | DE | CA | JP
Leo, Pegolesi, Scarlatti. Sacred Music from Naples. dhm 88697539442 (1 CD, February 2010). Details. Alan Curtis, Il Complesso Barocco. Mary-Ellen Nesi, mezzo-soprano; Catherine Jones, cello. This is one of my favorite recordings of 2010. It includes 2 Salve Reginas by Leo, 2 by Pergolesi, 1 by Scarlatti, and a cello concerto by Leo. US | UK | FR | DE | CA | JP
Porpora, Vinci, Leo, Hasse, Pergolesi. Lava - Opera Arias from 18th Century Naples. dhm 88697541212 (1 CD, August 2009). Details / CD booklet (pdf)  / Video of "Manca solletica" from Leo's Demetrio. Claudio Osele, Le Musiche Nove. Simone Kermes, soprano. US | UK | FR | DE | CA | JP
Reissued on dhm 88697661232 (March, 2010) without the booklet: UK | FR | DE
Leonardo Leo, Giuseppe de Majo (1697-1771); Nicola Ugolino (late 18th Century); Niccolò Grillo (18th Century); Nicola Fiorenza (c.1700-1764). Cantate Napoletane del '700. Eloquentia EL 0919 (1 CD, May 2009). Details / Review by Johan Van Veen. Antonio Florio, Cappella della Pietà de'Turchini. Pino de Vittorio, tenor; Alessandro Ciccolini, violin; Tommaso Rossi, flute; Ugo Di Giovanni, archlute. US | UK | FR | DE | CA | JP
Carestini - The Story of a Castrato. Naïve 00946 3 95242 2 8 (1 CD, October 2007). Details. Philippe Jaroussky, countertenor. Emmanuel Haïm, Le Concert d'Astrée. Includes Leo, "Se mi dai morte" from Farnace. US | UK | FR | DE | CA | JP
Leonardo Leo (1694-1744). Le Nozze di Iole ed Ercole. ORF 2011768 (2 CDs, November 2008). Details / Review by Johan van Veen. Christoph Hammer, Neue Hofkapelle München. Iole: Susanne Bernhard, soprano; Ercole: Kai Wessel, countertenor; Alceo/Teseo: Dominik Wörner, bass. DE
Leonardo Leo (1694-1744). Decebalo (Naples 1743). Bongiovanni GB 2412/13 (2 CDs 2006). Lorenzo Tozzi, Orchestra Romabarocca Ensemble, Collegio Stravagante (Bucharest). Details. Decebalo: Adrian George Popescu, countertenor; Giulia: Julia Surdu, soprano; Flavio Clemente: Angelo Manzotti, sopranist; Domiziano: Sorin Dumitrascu, bass; Domizia: Ruxandra Ibric Cioranu, soprano. This is the worst recording I have heard in many years. The conducting, the orchestral performance, and Manzotti's singing are absolutely dreadful, and the two other male soloists are worse than mediocre. The soloists were close-miked, except in the overture, when the out-of-tune and out-of-sync orchestra can be heard in its full incompetence. The plodding recitative is so deadly dull that I skipped over it after the first two scenes. Manzotti makes a strong case for those who would ban falsettists with his smeary squeals and out of tune, screaming cadenzas. What an embarrassment for all concerned! It's a great opera, however, and deserves to be revived by those with the ability to do so competently. US | UK | FR | DE | CA | JP
Leonardo Leo. Miserere: Sacred Music from the Royal Chapel, Naples. Decca 460 020-2 (1 CD 2002). Christophe Rousset, Les Talens Lyriques. Sandrine Piau, soprano; Anne-Lise Sollied, soprano; Hilary Summers, contralto; Jean-François Novelli, tenor; Renaud Delaigue, bass. Superb performance and recording! US | UK | DE | FR | CA | JP
Leonardo Leo. La Musica per Stanza. Tactus TC693702 (1 CD 2004). Marcello Gatti, transverso. Cosimo Prontera, La Confraternita de' Musici. US | UK | DE | FR | CA | JP
Leonardo Leo. Serenata e Cantate. Tactus TC693701 (1 CD 2001). Cristina Miatello & Emanuele Bianchi, sopranos. Cosimo Prontera, La Confraternita de' Musici. US | UK | DE | FR | CA | JP
Leonardo Leo. Six Cello Concertos. BIS CD1057 (1 CD 2001). Hidemi Suzuki, cello. Makoto Akatsu, Orchestra Van Wassenaer. US | UK | DE | FR | CA | JP

Reissued on CD311057 (2004): US | UK | DE | FR | CA | JP

Leonardo Leo. Six Cello Concertos. Atma 22126 (1 CD 1998). Anner Bylsma, cello. Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra. US | UK | DE | FR | CA | JP
Leonardo Leo. Miserere Mei Deus: Sacred Vocal Music. ASV GAU 226 (1 CD 2001). Geoffrey Webber, The Choir of Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge. US | UK | DE | FR | CA | JP
Leonardo Vinci & Leonardo Leo. L'Opera Buffa Napoletana. Opus 111 OPS 30184 (1 CD 1997). Tesori di Napoli, Vol. 3. Roberta Invernizzi, soprano. Antonio Florio, Capella della Pietà de'Turchini. US | UK | DE | FR | CA | JP
G.B. Pergolesi, Leonardo Leo & Domenico Gallo. Salve Regina. Opus 111 OPS 30-88 (1 CD 1995). Fabio Biondi, Europa Galante. Barbara Schlick, soprano. US | UK | DE | FR | CA | JP

Reissued on Naïve Baroque Voices OP30444. US | UK | DE | FR | CA | JP
Pergolesi, Leo, Jommelli, Traetta, Galuppi, Paisiello, Piccinni & Sacchini. Arie del'700 Italiano. Hungaroton HCD 32253 (1 CD 2004). Details. Mónika González, soprano. Fabio Pirona, Savaria Baroque Orchestra. Includes comparative settings of "Se cerca, se dice" from L'Olimpiade by Pergolesi, Paisiello & Piccinni and "Lieto così talvolta" from Pergolesi's Adriano in Siria. US | UK | DE | FR | CA | JP
G.B. Pergolesi. Messa a 5 Voci. Musique napolitaine des archives portugaises. K617 159 (1 CD 2004). Details. Also included: Leonardo Leo, Sinfonia from Demetrio; Antonio Gallassi (c.1750-c.1790), Te Deum; David Perez (c.1710-1778), Trio. Luiz Alves da Silva, countertenor & director; Mathias Weibel, violin & director, Ensemble Turicum. UK | FR | DE
Gregorio Allegri, Francesco Scarlatti, Giovanni Moro da Viadana & Leonardo Leo. Miserere. Naïve Astrée E8846 (1 CD 2001). Graham O'Reilly, Ensemble William Byrd. US | UK | DE | FR | CA | JP

Books

Daniel Heartz. Music in European Capitals: The Galant Style, 1720-1780. 1078 pages. Norton, 2003. Review. US | UK | DE | FR | CA | JP
Reinhard Strohm. Essays on Handel and Italian Opera. Collection of Strohm's essays, some published in English for the first time. Cambridge University Press, 1985. Contents include "Handel's pasticci", among which was Catone (London 1732), based on Vinci's second setting of Metastasio's Catone in Utica (Venice 1729). US | UK | FR | CA

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