Subscribe to
Opera Today

Receive articles and news via RSS feeds or email subscription.


facebook-icon.png


twitter_logo[1].gif



9780393088953.png

9780521746472.png

0810888688.gif

0810882728.gif

Recently in Recordings

Early Swedish opera - Stenhammer world premiere

The Feast at Solhaug : Henrik Ibsen's play Gildet paa Solhaug (1856) inspired Wilhelm Stenhammer's opera Gillet på Solhaug. The world premiere recording is now available via Sterling CD, in a 3 disc set which includes full libretto and background history.

Walter Braunfels Orchestral Songs Vol 2

Honours yet again to Oehms Classics who understand the importance of excellence. A composer as good, and as individual, as Walter Braunfels deserves nothing less.

The Tallis Scholars: Josquin's Missa Di dadi

‘Can great music be inspired by the throw of the dice?’ asks Peter Phillips, director of The Tallis Scholars, in his liner notes to the ensemble’s new recording of Josquin’s Missa Di dadi (The Dice Mass). The fifteenth-century artist certainly had an abundant supply of devotional imagery. As one scholar has put it, during this age there was neither ‘an object nor an action, however trivial, that [was] not constantly correlated with Christ or salvation’.

A Venetian Double: English Touring Opera

Francesco Cavalli’s La Calisto was the composer’s fifteenth opera, and the ninth to a libretto by Giovanni Faustini (1615-1651). First performed at the Teatro Sant’Apollinaire in Venice on 28th November 1651, the opera by might have been sub-titled ‘Gods Behaving Badly’, so debauched are the deities’ dalliances and deviations, so egotistical their deceptions.

Walter Braunfels : Orchestral Songs Vol 1

New from Oehms Classics, Walter Braunfels Orchestral Songs Vol 1. Luxury singers - Valentina Farcas, Klaus Florian Vogt and Michael Volle, with the Staatskapelle Weimar, conducted by Hansjörg Albrecht.

Lalo: Complete Songs

Edouard Lalo (1823-92) is best known today for his instrumental works: the Symphonie espagnole (which is, despite the title, a five-movement violin concerto), the Symphony in G Minor, and perhaps some movements from his ballet Namouna, a scintillating work that the young Debussy adored.

New from Opera Rara : Gounod La Colombe and Donizetti Le Duc d'Albe

Two new recordings from highly acclaimed specialists Opera Rara - Gounod La Colombe and Donizetti Le Duc d'Albe.

Félicien David: Herculanum

It is not often that a major work by a forgotten composer gets rediscovered and makes an enormously favorable impression on today’s listeners. That has happened, unexpectedly, with Herculanum, a four-act grand opera by Félicien David, which in 2014 was recorded for the first time.

Samuel Barber: Choral Music

This recording, made in the Adrian Boult Hall at the Birmingham Conservatoire of Music in June 2014, is the fourth disc in SOMM’s series of recordings with Paul Spicer and the Birmingham Conservatoire Chamber Choir.

A Prize-Winning Rediscovery from 1840s Paris (and 1830s Egypt)

Félicien David’s intriguing Le désert, for vocal and orchestral forces plus narrator, was widely performed in its own day, then disappeared from the performing repertory for nearly a century.

Félicien David: Songs for voice and piano

This well-packed disc is a delight and a revelation. Until now, even the most assiduous record collector had access to only a few of the nearly 100 songs published by Félicien David (1810-76), in recordings by such notable artists as Huguette Tourangeau, Ursula Mayer-Reinach, Udo Reinemann, and Joan Sutherland (the last-mentioned singing the duet “Les Hirondelles” with herself!).

John Taverner: Missa Corona spinea

This new release of John Taverner’s virtuosic and florid Missa Corona spinea (produced by Gimell Records) comes two years after The Tallis Scholars’ critically esteemed recording of the composer’s Missa Gloria tibi Trinitas, which topped the UK Specialist Classical Album Chart for 6 weeks, and with which the ensemble celebrated their 40th anniversary. The recording also includes Taverner’s two settings of Dum transisset Sabbatum.

“Nessun Dorma — The Puccini Album”

Sounds swirl with an urgent emotionality and meandering virtuosity on Jonas Kaufmann’s new Puccini album—the “real one”, according to Kaufmann, whose works were also released earlier this year on Decca records, allegedly without his approval.

Honegger: Jeanne d’Arc au bûcher

Marion Cotillard and Marc Soustrot bring the drama to the sweeping score of Arthur Honegger’s Jeanne dArc au bûcher, an adaptation of the Trial of Joan of Arc

Far in the Heavens — Choral Music of Stephen Paulus

Stephen Paulus provided the musical world, and particularly the choral world, with music both provocative and pleasing through a combination of lyricism and a modern-Romantic tonal palette.

Review: You Promised Me Everything

Richard Taruskin entitled his 1988 polemical critique of the notion of ‘authenticity’ in the context of historically informed performance, ‘The Pastness of the Present and the Presence of the Past’.

Donizetti: Les Martyrs

As the editor of Opera magazine, John Allison, notes in his editorial in the June issue, Donizetti fans are currently spoilt for choice, enjoying a ‘Donizetti revival’ with productions of several of the composer’s lesser known works cropping up in houses around the world.

Green: Mélodies françaises sur des poèmes de Verlaine

Philippe Jaroussky lends poetry and poise to the sounds of nineteenth- and twentieth-century France

A worthy tribute for a vocal seductress of the ancient régime

Carolyn Sampson has long avoided the harsh glare of stardom but become a favourite singer for “those in the know” — and if you are not one of those it is about time you were.

Schubert’s Winterreise by Matthias Goerne

This Winterreise is the final instalment of Matthias Goerne’s series of Schubert lieder for Harmonia Mundi and it brings the Matthias Goerne Schubert Edition, begun in 2008, to a dark, harrowing close.

OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Recordings

Giovanni Paisiello: Gli Astrologi immaginari
20 Mar 2007

PAISIELLO: Gli Astrologi immaginari

I never heard the 1966 live recording with Margherita Rinaldi and Paolo Montarsolo and I don’t have a clue what the sound picture is like.

Giovanni Paisiello: Gli Astrologi immaginari

Mauro Utzeri (Petronio), Stefania Donzelli (Clarice), Tiziana Spagnoletta Cassandra), Donato Di Gioia (Giuliano Tiburla). Orchestra da Camera Giovanni Paisiello conducted by Lorenzo Fico. Recorded Live on November the 10th 2004 Teatro Orfeo Taranto

Bongiovanni GB 2406/7 – 2 [2CDs]

$34.98  Click to buy

I don’t even know if that performance is complete. Maybe it’s not as this new Bongiovanni issue states “prima esecuzione integrale in tempi moderni”. Anyway, the Empress Catherine II (also known as the Great) immediately and enthusiastically endorsed the music at its première in St-Petersburg where Paisiello was chapel-master for several years at her court. He had already composed four operas when he asked for a salary increase and he argued that he at least was as good a composer as one of his predecessors (Baldassare Galuppi) had been and so should get the same amount of money. Catherine granted Paisiello his wish and lo and behold his inspiration was mightily stimulated. In three weeks time he composed this small masterpiece. There is a second reason we ought to be grateful to the great Catherine. Paisiello could be a little bit tedious as is proven by his Il Barbiere di Siviglia where a few times the inspiration runs dry. The Empress asked for an entertainment that wouldn’t last for eternity; and Paisiello limited himself to two acts and one hour and a half of music. The opera was regularly repeated for the Empress and soon found its way to Italy, France and Germany. The mature Mozart even used one of Giuliano’s arias to compose ‘Sechs Variationen in F über die arie Salve tu, Domine’ (KV 398). High praise indeed from the master and I’m sure that anyone unknowingly hearing the score will attribute it to the young Mozart of La finta giardiniera. The music is charming and even more melodious than some early operas of the master of Salzburg. I caught myself humming a few phrases after a first listening and I’ve got a feeling the Empress Catherine probably had the same reaction after the first performance.

If there is a small problem, it lies with some of the singers as the conducting is lively and brings out the strong points of the score. Stefania Donzelli who has a lot of arias and duets to sing sounds very convincing but the voice is a bit too harsh, too steely in the old Italian provincial custom of the leggiero. It has the necessary kittenishness but lacks warmth and sweetness. Kathy Battle would have been ideal in the role. Tiziana Spagnoletta has a vibrato which will not please many Anglo-Saxon listeners; indeed eve for Mediterranean ears it is probably too intruding. The men are better. Mauro Utzeri sings with authority though he is not too fluent in his coloratura and I presume Montarsolo did better in this music. Donato Di Gioia (the higher baritone of the two men) doesn’t put a foot wrong though his voice is less attractive. If you like young Mozart you will be agreeably surprised by this issue.

Jan Neckers

Send to a friend

Send a link to this article to a friend with an optional message.

Friend's Email Address: (required)

Your Email Address: (required)

Message (optional):