This CD of Donizetti's rarities contains interesting and well sung ensembles and arias. This is the type product (well recorded and good performances) that we usually expect from Opera Rara. I will comment on some of them.
The baritone Gary Magee (as Lusignano, King of Cyprus) sings with dramatic intensity and beautiful tone in "Piangi, si piangi, o misera" (Weep, yes weep, unhappy woman) (Track 3) from the alternative finale to "Caterina Cornaro" (Naples, 1844) which focus now attention on the dying Lusignano instead of Caterina. The manuscript of this finale was discovered by Opera Rara's Patric Schmid, the series' producer and artistic director, and it is being heard for the first time this century.
The aria and cabaletta: "Havvi un Dio che in sua clemenza" (There is a god who, in his mercy...), and "Benigno il ciel arridere" (Heaven seems to smile with favor) (Track 6), from the opera "Maria di Rohan (Vienna, 1843), it is performed by Nelly Miriciou (soprano) with convincing dramatic force & technical grip, even though I prefer Monserrat Caballé (soprano).
The quartet: "Ahimè, quell'anelito il core mi gela" (Alas, such longing freezes my heart) (Track 9) from the finale of Act I of "Pia de' Tolomei" (Venice, 1837), is very good. However the complete opera recorded by Nuova Era has additional duets & arias for baritone that could have been an excellent addition (as rarities) here to be sung by Gary Magee. This opera has the finest passages reserved for the tenor & the baritone since the attention is not focused on the prima donna.
I hope Opera Rara will consider issuing a: `Scenes & Overtures II'.