Normally, I'm guilty of idolising Opera Rara for the fact they record so many unknown yet worthy pieces however in this release I'm sadly underwhelmed. Sound is the usually high standard but the performances are pedestrian for the most part and moments that should be breathtaking are opportunities lost.
The overture is quite dully played, which is odd as the 'Ugo, conte di Parigi' recording by Opera Rara (it's the same overture by the way) is really good fun. Act 1 finale plods along while Parisina's final aria is again rather stolid, though well sung by the soprano. This is, or should be, a lovely piece, I was at the Opera Rara concert performance of this in Royal Festival Hall and I remember it being but more exciting, but overall I prefer the Dynamic recording, which while some phrases are cut, maintains the excitment and pace of the drama.
One final word of warning, this a 3 CD set at top price: CD 3 is only 20 minutes long which I feel is a bit of a liberty really. Buy this CD if you are collecting all of Opera Rara's beautiful box sets (will own up to this one myself) but if you want a good Parisina, this is sadly not it
On first hearing I was bowled over by this opera and the performances in this recording. This is a slendid work by Donizetti - a composer some find predictable but he is also a composer who can suddenly give you a surprise. Why is it a rarity? Probably because Sutherland etc. happened not to perform it. It has an unusual story and great music. Having listened once I had to listen again a few days later and again a few days later! What else can I say? No need to say any more except that I love this opera! Many thanks Opera Rara - more Donizetti please.
I borrowed this from a friend...it is mediocre, mediocre, mediocre! I agree with another reviewer that moments which should have sounded inspirational have been lost. Carmen Giannatasio is a TERRIBLE singer with no belcanto capabilities whatsoever. Need we discuss her strident, uneven voice, the screamed high notes, the sloppy, lazy coloratura? Whose relative/wife/mistress is she at Opera Rara to feature as a "star" in their recordings? Her singing in the OR recordings of ERMIONE and IL PIRATA is plain embarrassing. And the price for this recording (in 3 CDs!) is simply ridiculous. People, if you want to listen to a truly exciting PARISINA, score cuts and all, please refer to the superb Montserrat Caballe in live concert performance at Carnegie Hall in 1974. She is captured at the peak of her art. Some passages in Act 2 defy the limits of human singing.