As a lover of Beethoven's Fidelio/Leonore, I've always been intrigued to hear what both Paer and Mayr came up with in their versions written at much the same time. having heard several of Mayr's serious operas i was expecting a 2 act piece in the vein of "Medea" or "la rosa bianca e la rosa rosa". I was therefore surprised/bemused to find out that his version of the story is a short one act farsa sentimentale lasting less than 90 mins - a heartfelt work in the manner of Fidelio this is not - tho there is a solo aria for Zeliska(the equivalent of Leonore), it's not in the same league as "Abscheulicher"!
That said, this is a rather charming, unpretentious and pretty harmless piece worth getting simply for the fact it's bargain price with Naxos. The singing is what you would expect of a festival, no major singers in this recording but it's performed well and has some tuneful moments, such as the Sinfonia, the opening spinning song by the equivalent of Marzelline and the prison scene that starts disc 2. Listening to this farsa, I'm no longer entirely sure that the argument that Bongiovanni's recording of "Verter" isn't by Mayr as put forward in that recording booklet. Be that as it may, this is an interesting addition to anyone's CD collection.
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