Flavio Ferri-Benedetti, one of today’s key countertenors for Italian baroque, pays homage to the once-admired but often underestimated castrato Domenico Annibali, who was greatly appreciated in a time when Senesino, Farinelli, Caffarelli or Carestini were fighting for supremacy on Europe’s stages. His 25-year career had him traveling between Italy, England, Germany and Poland, singing for composers such as Handel, Porpora, Zelenka but, most importantly, for Hasse, with whom he premiered most of his operatic roles together with the great prima donna Faustina Bordoni.
In this exciting and varied recital, half of the programme is brand new to disc, including some rare gems such as Feo’s 'Andromaca', Latilla’s 'Romolo' or Porpora’s 'Filandro'. Annibali’s season in London for Handel is not only represented by Arminio’s breathtaking prison aria, but also by the duet from 'Berenice', here featuring Italian soprano Carla Nahadi Babelegoto. Ensemble Il Basilico, under the guidance of Eva Saladin, accompany Ferri-Benedetti and his portrayal of baroque affetti, with a range of three octaves from baritone to mezzosoprano, as castrati were wont to do.