Ugo Conte di Parigi unfortunately, did not repeat the success of Donizetti’s Anna Bolena, because the Austrian censorship, which in that period was particularly strict and obtuse, requested a series of important changes that compromised its dramatic essence and, after 1846, the work disappeared altogether from the repertoire. Ugo Conte di Parigi really did not deserve such a fate, for it is - especially from the musical point of view - a work worthy of the best Donizetti, rich in moving melodies and compelling concertati.
Opera Rara chose this most obscure of Donizetti’s operas on the strength of its many beautiful and intricate ensembles. A convoluted plot culminates in the magnificent poison scene, conceived as a vehicle for the talents of the great singing actress Giuditta Pasta. Della Jones, Janet Price, Eiddwen Harrhy and Yvonne Kenny make their recording debuts for the first of Opera Rara’s Donizetti revivals.
From Dynamic comes the riveting opera performance of Olivo e Pasquale, a fan favorite that has delighted audiences for years. Known also as Melodramma giocoso, or romantic comedy opera about the title character brothers and their conflicting lives with those around them, this is the 1827 Neapolitan version with slight revisions and recorded for the first time at the 2016 Donizetti Festival of Bergamo.
With his sharp and lively conducting, Fabrizio Maria Carminati puts the Orchestra of the Teatro La Fenice entirely at the service of three exceptional singers, Sonia Ganassi ("an extraordinary performance," Opera Today) as Elisabetta, Fiorenza Cedolins ("colorful, nuanced, highly dramatic heroine," Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung) as Maria Stuarda, and José Bros as a passionate Leicester. "Maria Stuarda" is the most popular work in Donizetti's trilogy of bel canto operas on Tudor queens.
This famous production of Donizetti’s Mary Stuart was one of English National Opera’s most memorable from the 1980’s. Dame Janet Baker chose the title role of Donizetti’s Scottish queen for her farewell to the London operatic stage in 1982. It was a triumph for Dame Janet, in one of the most rewarding of operatic roles. As Mary, she displays her full range as a great singing actress, at times imperious and confrontational, yet during the quieter reflective moments intensely moving. Her adversary Elizabeth is sung by Rosalind Plowright, in one of the best performances of her career, both intense and passionate in this demanding role. The famous, though entirely fictional, encounter scene between the two Queens is extremely powerful. The cast also includes John Tomlinson I commanding voice as Talbot, and David Randall as an ardent Leicester. The Performance is gloriously conducted by Sir Charles Mackerras.
This blu-ray release was originally broadcast live in HD from The Met on February 7, 2009. In addition to Netrebko’s spectacular performance, Mariusz Kwiecien’s Enrico delivers theatrical truth with a matchless baritone with the luster of polished mahogany. This Met performance of director Mary Zimmerman’s “imaginative staging…and nuanced portrayals” (Times) is a tour de force of music and theatricality. Having dazzled opera audiences from St. Petersburg to L.A. as Lucia, Anna Netrebko triumphantly returns to the Metropolitan Opera in this touchstone coloratura role!
“…Riccardo Muti conducts Don Pasquale in Ravenna - a great celebration for everyone.” This press quote from the Italian music magazine Il giornale della musica hit the mark exactly. Watching this realistic, young and vital production, directed by the 21 year old Andrea da Rosa and listening to a high potential and unspent young cast, you feel how powerful, charming and timeless this score by Donizetti is. This production was recorded during the Ravenna Festival in the gorgeous and patriarchal Teatro Dante Alighieri, in December 2006. Maestro Riccardo Muti shows one more time, what it means to perform an Italian opera with a young and professional Italian cast – an outstanding and breathtaking performance and really, "a great celebration for everyone".