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Recordings

Gaetano Donizetti: La Figlia del Reggimento
28 Oct 2007

DONIZETTI: La Figlia del Reggimento

For the final HD moviecast of the 2007-08 season, the Metropolitan Opera will present two stars in a production that has already earned rave reviews at Covent Garden: Natalie Dessay and Juan Diego Florez starring in Donizetti’s La Fille du Regiment.

Gaetano Donizetti: La Figlia del Reggimento

Maria, a vivandière: Maria Costanza Nocentini, soprano; Tonio, a young Tyrolean: Giorgio Casciarri, tenor; Sulpizio, a sergeant of the 11th regiment: Luciano Miotto, bass; La Marchesa de Berkenfeld: Milijana Nikolic, mezzo-soprano; Ortensio, major-domo of the Marchesa: Eugenio Leggiadri-Gallani, bass; Un Caporale (A Corporal): Arturo Cauli, bass; La Duchessa (The Duchess of Crackentorp): Giulia Martella, mezzo-soprano; Un Paesano (A Peasant): Franco Becconi, tenor; Un Notaio (A Notary): Alessandro Pento, tenor; Orchestra e Coro del Teatro Marrucino di Chieti, Marzio Conti (cond.).

Naxos CD 8.660161-62

$11.98  Click to buy

This brief, light-hearted opera, about a tomboy mascot for a group of soldiers who inspires one love-struck man to enlist just so he can be near her, doesn’t get quite the number of productions as Donizetti’s other comic masterpieces, L’elisir d’Amore and Don Pasquale. At one time, the Fille was more likely to appear as Figlia; in other words, in Italian translation.

That’s the version recorded by Naxos, featuring the orchestra and chorus of the Teatro Marrucino di Chieti. The tuneful charm of Donizetti’s score is irrepressible, but it’s no use pretending that the singing here possesses the personality and appealing tone that stars such as Dessay and Florez bring to the leading roles. The Maria, Maria Costanza Nocentini, produces a metallic, sharp-edged sound that may well carry with distinction in an opera house. As recorded, the effect is not especially appealing. Much the same goes for Giorgio Casciarri’s Tonio. He produces the high Cs at the end of his famous aria; everything before that - and after - feels rough and unshaped. Luciano Motti growls appropriately as Sulpizio. The comic effect of a role like the Marchesa de Berkenfeld carries best in the theater - Milijana Nikolic might be more amusing, seen on stage. The Teatro Marrucino forces are no more than capable.

Fans of the opera probably already have, at the very least, the Sutherland/Pavarotti recording. Anyone looking for a more recent version would be advised to wait until the opera’s latest round of successful productions appears either on CD or DVD. This particular version is no bargain, even at Naxos prices.

Chris Mullins

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