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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In every respect, a reference recording!, 22 Oct 2013
This review is from: Rossini: L'Italiana in Algeri (Audio CD)
Recorded in June, 1980, this studio (Teatro Comunale di Treviso) performance of the opera Stendhal defined as "the perfection of Buffo genre" is simply extraordinary.
(This is a Warner reissue of the original Erato edition.)

"L'italiana in Algeri" is sheer fun; but, obviously, it is based on both masterful music and verses (Angelo Anelli - 1761-1820 - was an expert librettist and a multifaceted man of letters and law, sincerely admired by Stendhal; Gaetano Rossi - 1774-1825 -, who had to modify the libretto originally written for Luigi Mosca, he too was a very skilled librettist): this superb performance perfectly manages to extract from music and words all the artistic richness they contain.

Marilyn Horne's (b. 1934) Isabella is fantastic: here we attend a real belcanto masterclass! If perfection does exist, here we meet a serious essay to achieve it. Sensitive, subtle, interpretation and masterly singing technique are skillfully merged, obtaining an astonishing result: pure art, without any minimal trace of affectation or non context-sensitive "virtuosismo".
Maybe Isabella asks for a bit more youngish voice, but Isabella is also a mature and self-confident young woman; therefore, in my opinion, Horne's timbre, surely not childish, is not out of place.

Samuel Ramey (b. 1942) is a wonderful Mustafà. His convincing interpretation is really amusing and excellently sung. Mustafà's egoistic coarseness, at once dangerously violent and ridiculously silly, is perfectly rendered by means of a real artistic talent.

Kathleen Battle (b. 1948) is perfect for the role of Elvira. Her mellow voice and her interpretative excellent skills create the sweet, miserable, faithful, devote victim of Mustafà's sentimental blindness: really superb!

Ernesto Palacio (b. 1946) has always been a specialist in the role of Lindoro. Tender, but not mellifluous, sensitive but clever, Palacio's Lindoro is doubtless excellent and appropriately depicted.

The always reliable Domenico Trimarchi (b. 1940) depicts a vivid and really amusing Taddeo, a key-role in Anelli-Rossini's "buffa" construction. An excellent Clara Foti, a convincing Zulma, completes the superb cast.

Claudio Scimone (b. 1934) conducts "his" superb Solisti Veneti with the usual masterly. Tempos are perfectly chosen, harmonic and melodic aspects are ideally merged, Rossini's typical effects find their natural collocation. Gianni Chiampan (cello), Leonardo Colonna (double bass) and Daniele Roi (harpsichord) complement the whole with their "wise" continuo.

The Prague Philharmonic Chorus (under a real Master, Josef Veselka, 1910-1992) contribution is characterized by a particular and inspired colorfulness. Maybe some vocals do not sound exactly Italian, but, on the whole, the performance is really excellent.

But, in my opinion, the main general feature here is the sensation of a really strong compactness of all the components, so rare when the cast is composed by stars and superstars.

The ADD stereo sound is excellent on the whole; outstanding in the most difficult feature to achieve in operatic recordings: the balance among voices and instruments.

The booklet contains the track-list and a synopsis in English, French and German, but not the libretto.
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Rossini: L'Italiana in Algeri
Rossini: L'Italiana in Algeri by Gioacchino Rossini (Audio CD - 2010)
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