The Venetian Benedictine priest and composer Diogenio Bigaglia (c. 1676–c. 1745), who was highly esteemed by his musical contemporaries, wrote the dramatic cantata Plutone e Proserpina around 1710. Scored for soprano, contralto, strings and continuo, it represents his vocal chamber music at its most ambitious and attractive. The twelve short movements comprise five solo arias, one aria for both voices singing in turn, a duet and five recitatives. The cantata’s subject – Proserpine’s gradual reconciliation to her kidnapping by Pluto, who wants her as his bride – is treated in masterly fashion by the author of the text, Antonio Ottoboni, who was a leading poet in Venice at the time. There is no better work through which to become acquainted with the fascinating but still little-known figure of Bigaglia.
“This is an interesting work, cleverly constructed, well presented and with a strong story-line that features plenty of dramatic contrast. Talbot has uncovered a composer who had the skill to convey that contrast in musical terms. It is to be highly recommended for a chamber group of competent singers and players who want to explore something new.” The Consort