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Gwilym Rees (UK)

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Il Barbiere Di Siviglia
Il Barbiere Di Siviglia
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: 42.95

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The other Barbiere, 8 Feb 2009
This review is from: Il Barbiere Di Siviglia (Audio CD)
Paisiello`s Barbiere di Siviglia is the best-known of the eight operatic predecessors to Rossini`s immortal version of Beaumarchais` story. It is known to Rossinians as the version which Paisiello`s supporters liked so much that they wrecked the opening night of Rossini`s Barbiere in 1816. Paisiello`s opera of 1782 was popular both in his day and in Rossini`s. Rossini himself was a bit worried about his own presumption and seems to have half-expected the fiasco (the word means the same in Italian as it does in English) which ensued. If you compare the two, you can see how outrageous Rossini`s version might have seemed to Paisiello`s followers. The earlier opera, though an opera buffa and often very ammusing, is elegant, understated and typical of the late 18th century. Petrosellini`s libretto sticks more closely to Beaumarchais` original story, than Sterbini`s reworking. But more than that, it is Rossini`s music, inventive, powerfully scored, energetic, loud, farcical, which drags the story into the 19th century, and which must have offended the sensibilities of the traditionalists. This recording of the Paisiello, however, shows that it is more than an historical footnote to the Rossini. It appeared first on Cetra and then on Everest LPs, and has a fine Italian cast of Rossinian credentials - Graziella Sciutti as a soprano Rosina; Nicola Monti, a famous Almaviva of his day; Rolando Panerai as Figaro; Renato Capecchi as Bartolo and Mario Petri as Basilio. The orchestra is Renato Fasano`s superb Virtuosi di Roma, and this makes for a lively and idiomatic treatment of a lightweight but very attractive score. There are comparisons to be made, of course. There is nothing in the Paisiello to compare with Largo al Factotum or La Calunnia, but you can understand where Rossini (or Sterbini) got Pace e Gioia, and there are some very nice things that Sterbini did not include, such as a lively trio for Beaumarchais` comic yawning and sneezing servants. No apologies need to be made for the old recording - real stereo - which was very good for its day.

Hollow Land: Israel's Architecture of Occupation
Hollow Land: Israel's Architecture of Occupation
by Eyal Weizman
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 17.62

20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Architecture of oppression, 8 Sep 2008
This is an utterly convincing book - well-researched and documented, and unemotionally expressed. For any observer of the Palestinian scene, it rings true. As Ilan Pappe has made clear (in `The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine`), there came a point at which the Israeli state`s terrible violence against ordinary Palestinian people, feasible in the anarchic days after 1948, but increasingly criticised by international public opinion, became outmoded. Instead of wholesale massacres and expulsions, we now have land-control policies, involving the development of settlements, road classification, planning laws, building permits, the building of barriers - all of it designed to make life hopelessly difficult, if not impossible, for ordinary Palestinians. This way, the objectives of Zionism, to own and control everything from the Jordan to the sea, can be met by apparently less aggressive but more insidious means.

One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse
One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse
by Ali Abunimah
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.52

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Healing the rift, 30 July 2008
Conventional wisdom says `return to the 1967 borders`. Yet even this is an injustice, giving much the smallest part of the land to the larger population. Much more just, though even more challenging, is a return to the 1948 borders, from which the existing population was forcibly expelled, many dying in the process. Gradually, this is being seen as the only just - and in the end, the only potentially peaceful - solution. Jews, Christians and Muslims shared the Holy Land for centuries, not without disagreements and sometimes conflict, but generally peaceably. Even today, most ordinary people are prepared, despite all the fanatical propaganda, to co-exist - in Palestine one sees examples of tolerance every day, and I guess in Israel too. The support is gradually gathering for a single state in which all sections of society are represented - and valued. As Abunimah points out, nobody thought it would be possible in South Africa. It can happen here too. This is an important and inspiring book.

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