No shrinking violet, singer and scholar Randall Scotting has boldly explored the issue of sexuality across the considerable breadth of his work.
In his previous album The Crown, Scotting saluted Handel’s temperamental castrato superstar Senesino, who after ditching the famous composer’s opera company, became notorious for a scandal involving soprano Anastasia Robinson that quickly turned into juicy material for the famous satirist Jonathan Swift.
Now, joined by tenor Jorge Navarro Colorado, Scotting embarks on a wide-ranging exploration of a different kind, engaging in a sort of musical archaeology to uncover expressions of same-sex attraction in Venetian music during its 17th-century heyday. Thumbing its nose at Roman authority, the Serene Republic at this time became something of a liberal haven for intellectuals and artists of all types, especially attracting those who faced persecution elsewhere for their unconventional sexuality.
It is hardly surprising that many of these became involved in the flowering of the new artform of opera where castrati, cross-dressing, sexual ambiguity and the licentiousness of the classical Gods were all de rigueur.