Paisiello (1740-1816) was the master of Italian opera buffo and a significant influence on Mozart. His orchestral writing and musical characterizations are deft and dramatic, and he was the first to introduce ensemble finales into comic operas. Don Chisciotte is an early work, premiered in Naples (where he spent most of his life) in 1769, and it already shows all the skills that made his work popular throughout Europe. The libretto by Lorenzi is based on a 1719 play that deals with the Don's visit to a noble court and the tricks that are played on him there, drawing in material from elsewhere in Cervantes' novel, including his tilt with the windmills. The characters are reduced from aristocrats to middle-class Neapolitans familiar to the opera's audiences, and they are treated with parodistic irony. The music bubbles along merrily, with lots of rapid figurations in conventional formal frames, much secco recitative moving the action along, and while none of the arias is especially memorable, they (especially the ensemble numbers) are consistently graceful and melodious.
Based on a Romantic tragedy by Zacharias Werner, Attila is set in the 5th century AD. The opera takes as its starting point Attila’s plans to storm Rome with his army of Huns and the Roman’s attempts to prevent him. As with Nabucco and I Lombardi, Verdi spiced up the action with a number of patriotic choruses, guaranteeing that – against the background of the Italian movement for unification – the opera was a great success.
Alessandro Scarlatti is justly famed for his contributions to Read more opera seria and cantata, and indeed it may even be said that he was one of the main progenitors of the Neapolitan style of the early 18th century. In Naples and earlier in Rome he was obligated to write a considerable amount of sacred music, much of it for smaller settings that would be useful in the local churches. Since his music is now becoming more common on disc, it is good to have this recording of a set of four pieces—a gradual, a Marian antiphon, a motet, and a Psalm—all of which reflect rather different approaches to each portion of the liturgy and yet contain a certain commonality in form and structure. Interspersed within these, and no doubt both to provide a transition between then and to fill out the disc, are three organ works, two of which are of substantial length. Given that Scarlatti’s pieces for this instrument are not common, their appearance here is a real treat.
Live performance by Rome Opera House Ballet on January 8th, 1982 with a cast headed by Rudolf Nureyev, Ghislaine Thesmar, Michael Denard, Lucia Colognato, and Alfredo Raierre. Choreography, sets and costumes by Pierre Lacotte. Conducted by Alberto Ventura. Bonuses: interviews with Mrs. Vittoria Ottolenghi (1984), Pierre Lacotte (2009).
„It can be truly said of Adelaide di Borgogna that, like a rose, it bloomed but a day - l’espace d’un matin.” First performed in Rome on the 27th December 1817, it enjoyed very few revivals. In 2011 the Rossini Festival in Pesaro presented the second staged performance of Adelaide di Borgogna since 1825.