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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Walk On By, 28 Aug 2004
By 
J Scott Morrison (Middlebury VT, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Rossini: La pietra del paragone (Audio CD)
This recording of Rossini's all-but-unknown early opera buffa 'La pietra del paragone' ('The Touchstone') is actually one of four that have been made and are available (with some searching, in the case of my recommended performance). I first heard and fell in love with it when Newell Jenkins recorded it with his Clarion Concerts cohorts. The recording, made thirty years ago, starred José Carreras, Justino Diaz, Beverly Wolff, Elaine Bonazzi, and John Reardon, all of them at the time New York City Opera stars of the first rank. And although Diaz (as Count Asdrubale) was somewhat deficient in his coloratura, he was giant compared to the Asdrubale on this CD, Raffaele Costantini, whose soft-cored and somewhat unwieldy voice simply isn't up to the task. The same is true for the female lead, mezzo Agata Bienkowska, whose voice, one must say, matches that of her costar.
This recording was taken from live performances at Bad Wildbad, Germany as part of the 'Rossini in Wildbad' festival in 2001. The Czech Chamber Soloists and Chorus under Alessandro de Marchi do a fine job playing and singing Rossini's bubbly music. It's just a shame that none of the soloists matches their wit and sparkle.
I have not heard the other two extant recordings (Desderi, cond., on Nuova Era with unknown [to me] singers; and Aprea, cond., with the redoubtable Sara Mingardo, alto, and William Matteuzzi, tenor, on Bongiovanni) but I have had little complaint with the Jenkins recording and thus have not sought them out.
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Rossini: La pietra del paragone
Rossini: La pietra del paragone by Gioachino Rossini (Audio CD - 2004)
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