6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Fine opera but not a very dramatic recording,
This review is from: Donizetti: Maria Di Rohan (Opera Rara: ORC44) (Audio CD)
Although titled "Maria di Rohan", I thought the best work on this set was that of Jose Bros as Riccardo, the Count of Chalais. He uses his bright tenor voice to deliver a lively and empassioned performance. Compared to him, the rest of the cast sounds more studied than invovled. Krassimira Stoyanova seems mistcast. Her lyric voice is suited to Verdi's Desdemona rather than Donizetti's countess-in-a-quandary. The voice is laboured above the staff and the coloratura is lightly etched instead of cleanly articulated. Christopher Purves is very good, if a bit unidiomatic, as Maria's husband, the Duke of Chevreuse. The Geoffrey Mitchell Choir and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment respond admirably to Sir Mark Elder's conducting.
The work itself is top-drawer Donizetti with very compact action. This recording uses the original Viennese version of the score that plays well under two hours. The later additions for the Parisian premiere are included in appendices. My only quible with the recording is that, other than the tenor, the rest of the singers sound quite univolved in the drama. As a point if reference, I pulled out and played an older recording of the work on the Nuova Era label. This was recorded live in 1988 at the Festival of the Valle d'Itria. The recorded sound is less than optimal and the orchestra and chorus are decidedly provincial, but the three main singers (Mariana Nicolesco, Giuseppe Morino and Paolo Coni) sound like they're eating up the scenery when compared to their counterparts on Opera Rara. I'm happy to have both sets, but if I had to choose between them, I'd go for the Opera Rara set under review.