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Donizetti: Caterina Cornaro [Carmen Giannattasio, Colin Lee, Troy Cook] [Opera Rara: ORC48] [Double CD]

Gaetano Donizetti , David Parry , BBC Symphony Orchestra , Carmen Giannattsio , Colin Lee , et al. Audio CD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
Price: 28.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Donizetti: Caterina Cornaro [Carmen Giannattasio, Colin Lee, Troy Cook] [Opera Rara: ORC48] + Donizetti: Belisario [ [Opera Rara: ORC49]
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Product details

  • Performer: Carmen Giannattsio, Colin Lee, Troy Cook, Loc Flix, Vuyani Mlinde, et al.
  • Orchestra: BBC Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: David Parry
  • Composer: Gaetano Donizetti
  • Audio CD (2 Sep 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Double CD
  • Label: Opera Rara
  • ASIN: B00DQW5EEG
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 50,756 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Preludio
2. Salve, O Beati, Al Giubilo
3. Tu L'amor Mio, Tu L'iride
4. Dell'empia Cipro Il Popolo
5. Parta Pur, Ma Vendicato Sar
6. Or Che L'astro in Mar Si Cela
7. Torna All'ospite Tetto
8. Vieni O Tu, Che Ognora Io Chiamo
9. Deh! Vieni, T'affretta
10. Ahi - Qui Ancor, Padre Mio?
See all 22 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Gemmata Il Serto
2. Guarda, S'avanza Il Re
3. Ah! Non Turbarti a Questi Accenti
4. O Re! Strozzi?
5. Da Quel D Che Lacerato
6. De Me Fosti Ognor Compianto, Fratel Mio
7. Parti
8. Indietro! Io, Vil Carnefice!
9. Ol! Gran Re, La Collera Vendicatrice Tarda
10. Va, Fellon; Di Questa Terra
See all 22 tracks on this disc

Product Description

Review

The opera contains some top-quality music and Opera Rara makes an excellent case for it. Carmen Giannattasio shows once again how admirably suited she is to the Bel Canto repertoire. --Gramophone, Sept'13

Product Description

Carmen Giannattasio (Caterina Cornaro) - Colin Lee (Gerardo) - Troy Cook (Lusignano) - Graeme Broadbent (Andrea Cornaro) - Vuyani Mlinde (Mocenigo)... - BBC Symphony Orchestra & BBC Singers - David Parry, direction

Customer Reviews

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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
For a young singer to sustain a big-league career in the international opera firmament, an invaluable asset to cultivate is a distinctive vocal timbre that is instantly recognisable. Names such as Callas, Sutherland, Pavarotti, spring to mind. A notable stand-out among many of today's anonymous-sounding young bloods is the Italian soprano, Carmen Giannattasio. Her unmistakable sound, with its gleaming top register and beguilingly coloured middle and low notes, matched with an innate musicality and a larger-than-life star quality, evoke the hallowed names cited above.

And true to form, Giannattasio's star has been steadily on the ascendant over the past decade. Her triumphs on the stages of La Scala, Covent Garden and the Met can be sampled on Youtube in her signature roles from Verdi's Il Trovatore and La Traviata, and in Puccini's La Boheme.

Aside from distinguishing herself in such standard repertoire, Giannattasio, a pupil of the legendary Turkish diva and bel canto specialist, Leyla Gencer, has already made waves heading up a series of Opera Rara's recordings of esoteric bel canto masterworks. These include Rossini's La Donna del Lago (2007), Donizetti's Parisina (2009), Rossini's award-winning Ermione (2010) and Bellini's Il Pirata (2012).

Now Opera Rara's latest 2-CD set, of another Donizetti rarity, Caterina Cornaro, earns the distinguished British label further kudos. The superb all-round performance captured in this premiere commercial recording of the Italian maestro's penultimate opera more than atones for the work's neglect to date.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Up to Opera Rara's usual standards 2 Sep 2013
I have liked this opera since I heard a private recording of it years ago. That private recording was hampered by particularly poor sound, so I was delighted when I learned that Opera Rara were recording this work. Indeed, I was sufficiently interested that I purchased the set directly from Opera Rara when they made it available early this summer. They are now encouraging the public to support them financially by putting their recordings on sale directly from them, and then withholding distribution through other venues for three months. Now that the recording is on general sale, I can offer this review. I listened to the recording when I first received and I've just now completed another hearing. It receives my hearty recommendation.

The story is loosely based on history. There was a Venetian noblewoman named Caterina Cornaro who was married to James II Lusignan, who ruled the Crusader Kingdom of Cyprus. That's where the historical similarity begins and ends. The excellent essay by Jeremy Commons gives the rather tortured history of the first performances in Naples and the subsequent revision and revival in Parma.

Dramatically the piece is almost incomprehensible due to changes the Neapolitan censors required before the first performance. (For the curious, 40 years ago, the Donizetti Society issued a reprint of an undated score published by Casa Ricordi. This appears to have missed the changes insisted on by the Neapolitan censors.) Musically, the work is very fine. It's among the last of Donizetti's output so it contains passages that are both lovely and dramatic. I guess to give the piece a maritime flavor, much of the music is in 6/8, 9/8 or 12/8 time. My favorite piece is the lilting duet for Caterina and Gerardo in the Prologue.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Convincing 16 Nov 2013
By Micio
Verified Purchase
Although there is strong competition with the older recordings from the 70ies, with singers like Gencer, Caballé, Aragall, and Bruson, this new stereo recording is highly convincing. Giannattasio sounds sometimes too hard, while convincing in her role.
The tenor and the baritone are both excellent, while not having a particularly personal timbre, rare to find today.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 10 July 2014
By Tobton
Verified Purchase
Good singers.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Up to Opera Rara's Usual Standards. 18 Sep 2013
By S. Wells - Published on Amazon.com
I have liked this opera since I heard a private recording of it years ago. That private recording was hampered by particularly poor sound, so I was delighted when I learned that Opera Rara were recording this work. Indeed, I was sufficiently interested that I purchased the set directly from Opera Rara when they made it available for purchase early this summer. They are now encouraging the public to support them financially by putting their recordings on sale directly from them, and then withholding distribution through other venues for three months. Now that the recording is on general sale, I can offer this review. I listened to the recording when I first received and I've just now completed another hearing. It receives my hearty recommendation.

The story is loosely based on history. There was a Venetian noblewoman named Caterina Cornaro who was married to James II Lusignan, who ruled the Crusader Kingdom of Cyprus. That's where the historical similarity begins and ends. The excellent essay by Jeremy Commons gives the rather tortured history of the first performances in Naples and the subsequent revision and revival in Parma.

Dramatically the piece is almost incomprehensible due to changes the Neapolitan censors required before the first performance. (For the curious, 40 years ago, the Donizetti Society issued a reprint of an undated score published by Casa Ricordi. This appears to have missed the changes insisted on by the Neapolitan censors.) Musically, the work is very fine. It's among the last of Donizetti's output so it contains passages that are both lovely and dramatic. I guess to give the piece a maritime flavor, much of the music is in 6/8, 9/8 or 12/8 time. My favorite piece is the lilting duet for Caterina and Gerardo in the Prologue.

The title role is taken by Carmen Gannattasio who frequently appears on the Opera Rara label. As always, her performance is well sung and intelligently acted. Also, as always, I find that the studio miking adds a certain hardness to her voice. On the whole, the most pleasing singing comes from Colin Lee in the part of Gerardo. The voice is clear and sweet, with a nice ring to it. Vuyani Mlinde is very good as the villain, Mocenigo. Troy Cook is more routine than outstanding as the very noble King, Lusignano.

The BBC Singers and BBC Orchestra respond well to the conducting of David Parry. Production qualities are up to the high standard Opera Rara have set for themselves.

Highly recommended!
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars OPERA RARA'S SENSATIONAL 'CATERINA CORNARO - REVIEW BY WILLIAM CHARLTON-PERKINS 28 Oct 2013
By WH CHARLTON-PERKINS - Published on Amazon.com
For a young singer to sustain a big-league career in the international opera firmament, an invaluable asset to cultivate is a distinctive vocal timbre that is instantly recognisable. Names such as Callas, Sutherland, Pavarotti, spring to mind. A notable stand-out among many of today's anonymous-sounding young bloods is the Italian soprano, Carmen Giannattasio. Her unmistakable sound, with its gleaming top register and beguilingly coloured middle and low notes, matched with an innate musicality and a larger-than-life star quality, evoke the hallowed names cited above.

And true to form, Giannattasio's star has been steadily on the ascendant over the past decade. Her triumphs on the stages of La Scala, Covent Garden and the Met can be sampled on Youtube in her signature roles from Verdi's Il Trovatore and La Traviata, and in Puccini's La Boheme.

Aside from distinguishing herself in such standard repertoire, Giannattasio, a pupil of the legendary Turkish diva and bel canto specialist, Leyla Gencer, has already made waves heading up a series of Opera Rara's recordings of esoteric bel canto masterworks. These include Rossini's La Donna del Lago (2007), Donizetti's Parisina (2009), Rossini's award-winning Ermione (2010) and Bellini's Il Pirata (2012).

Now Opera Rara's latest 2-CD set, of another Donizetti rarity, Caterina Cornaro, earns the distinguished British label further kudos. The superb all-round performance captured in this premiere commercial recording of the Italian maestro's penultimate opera more than atones for the work's neglect to date.

Composed for the famed San Carlo Opera House in Naples, Caterina premiered in 1844, just four years before Donizetti finally succumbed to the ravages of syphilis and the resultant insanity that overtook him in the twilight of his life.

Almost incredibly, the mostly high quality of the music enlivens this 15th century Venetian royal family saga of intrigue and betrayal, belying the tragic circumstances of the opera's creation. Typically, its dramatic scenario gratefully showcases the talents of its cast against the score's melodically evocative and powerfully rhythmic vocal and orchestral writing, particularly in Act 2.Sample virtually any of the tracks on CD 2 to experience Donizetti firing on all cylinders.

As Gerardo, the opera's tenor lead, Cape Town-born Colin Lee illustrates why he is regarded as one of South Africa's most distinguished vocal exports. Fearlessly essaying the high-lying tessitura of his music, he delivers a performance that stylishly complements Ms Giannattasio's heroic account of the opera's title role. To sample the lady in full flight, listen to her all-stops-out account of Caterina's grand aria and cabaletta finale on CD 2. Or indeed the alternative ending, generously included here as an appendix.

Troy Cook's burnished baritone proves a perfect fit for the role of Lusingnano, King of Cyprus - Caterina's husband whose dramatic death in the closing moments of the drama leaves the opera's prima donna a grieving centrestage presence as the curtain comes down.

Opera Rara podium stalwart David Parry is at the helm of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, with BBC Singers on pinging form under the direction of chorus master Renato Balsdonna.

Don't hesitate to invest in this fine set which yields hours of satisfaction with repeated hearings.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At last, a really good recording 19 Dec 2013
By John Cragg - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Caterina Cornaro is a late Donizetti opera that deserves to be as well known as are e.g. Maria Stuarda, Lucia Borgia or Roberto Devereux. The two existing recordings that I have feature star performers and very poor sound. Here we have both good recording and first-class singers in a well executed studio recording. This will be the benchmark recording for years to come both for this opera and for other obscure Donizetti operas

The center of the opera is the title role. Here it is well sung by Carmen Giannatasio. The fairly low tessitura of the role is ideal for her voice and her technique is flawless Hers unfortunately is not one of the loveliest soprano voices, but it is very good and the performance is highly satisfying. Colin Lee in the tenor role puts in a marvelous performance, while Troy Cook handles the baritone role with distinction.

David Parry provides a four-square interpretation, entirely suitable for a benchmark recording, and brings out the best of the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Singers. Overall an entirely satisfactory recording. Now maybe a major opera company will dare to produce a theatrical performance of the opera and record it in blu-ray. But, lacking that, this is as good as we can get in recorded Donizetti works that are not in the standard repertoire.
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Recording of Neglected Donizetti Opera 22 Jun 2014
By John G. Gleeson Sr. - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Caterina Cornaro was Donzetti's last complete opera and the last produced in his lifetime. Critics, such as Charles Osborne (The Bel Canto Opera) are quite cool in their opinions of the work, and although I should know better, I allowed their reactions to color my opinion of Catarina until fellow reviewer S Wells gave me a much appreciated "wake up call". I think that the work's performance history is a good part of the reason that Caterina languished: done once it 1844 and once in 1845, it was not done again until 1972, when Leyla Gencer essayed the role. One might note that Maria Stuarda's performance history similarly obscured that work's splendid musical and dramatic worth.

Caterina consists of a prlogue and two acts. The plot concerns the fictional doings of an historical woman, whose marriage to tenor Gerardo is cancelled out in the prologue by one Mocenigo, one of Venice's Council of Ten. Gerardo ends up in a monastic order, and Caterina ends up as queen of Cyprus. The plot makes no dramatic sense at all.

But the music is another story. Sung very well by all, with special "Bravii!" to Mme Giannattasio and Mr. Lee, the score is a wonderful example of how critics of yesteryear deprived many of the chance to hear these meltingly lovely scores. It is interesting that Giannattasio, who studied with Gencer has the chance to bring the role of Caterina into the 21st century and modern recording methods.

Recent Opera Rara recordings seem to show that OR's longstanding issues with getting decent tenors have been solved. Colin Lee is vocal dynamite in this part.

Sound is excellent. One of my favorite aspects of most OR recordings is the scholarly essays that accompany them. Jeremy Commons discussion of the opera's history is very informative.

I recommend this one without exception.
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