Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Gaetano Donizetti, David Parry, London Phiharmonia Orchestra|
Donizetti - Rosmonda d'Inghilterra / Fleming · Miricioiu · Ford · Miles · Montague · LPO · Parry
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Stunning revival of a Bel Canto masterpiece
Ed Beveridge | London, England | 07/14/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Donizetti's Rosmonda d'Inghilterra is a masterpiece, and on the strength of this recording it is very hard to justify its neglect over the years. It is a worthy member of the composer's English Monarchy series, concerning Henry II and the conflict between his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine and his mistress, Rosamund Clifford. The cast is small, the principal roles exceptionally meaty and above all this is an opera of great ensembles, rather than great arias. The finales to both of the long acts are vintage bel canto. Certainly, there are moments where the writing is formulaic, and there are longeurs - but this is true of much of what is in today's "standard" repertory. This piece could, in a sympathetic staging and strong musical performance, hold its own alongside Maria Stuarda and Anna Bolena - and commendations don't come much higher than that.And for those who believe that the art of Bel Canto is dead nowadays, prepare to be confounded; the musical performance is stunning. Occasionally the characters are one dimensional, and the title role suffers particularly from that. Rosmonda is so good, and her lines so achingly beautiful, that one can lose patience with her. But Renee Fleming's performance combines beautiful tone, impeccable techinque and real temperament, not least in the second-act trio where she fires off a couple of spiffing top Ds. For her performance alone is the set worth having. As her rival for the king, Nelly Miricioiu is a fit contrast. Her incisive, occasionally hard tone works well as the woman scorned, but she is capable of tenderness too, especially in the finale where she shows all too clearly the desperation that drives her to murder. Again, her style is exemplary. As the arrogant Enrico, Bruce Ford sings gloriously with plenty of bravura, making light of music that most tenors would turn tail and run away from. Rosmonda's father, Clifford, is Alastair Miles, a consummate stylist and a veteran of this kind of part. And the obligatory page boy is luxuriously cast with Diana Montague, happily awarded an aria of her own in Act 2, and beautifully sung it is too.David Parry's conducting is beyond reproach and sustains the tension well towards the tragic finale. This set is a must if you are a bel canto enthusiast, and whilst it is expensive, it really is worth every penny. Performances of this quality don't come along that often!"
Two Words: BUY IT
Ed Beveridge | 09/26/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"They don't come much rarer than this. Rosmonda premiered in 1834, and despite its being a huge success, was only revived once more in the 19th century. It then waited 129 years (!) for its next performance in 1975 when Opera Rara performed it in concert. Don't let its neglect fool you. This opera is just as good as any of Donizetti's serious operas, and this recording does it full justice. Renee Fleming sounds positively angelic as the unfortunate Rosmonda. Nelly Miriciou's razor-thin voice may not be to everyone's taste, but it is perfect for portraying the jealous and vengeful Queen Eleanor. Bruce Ford, a wonderful Rossinian tenor, is passionate and in great voice as the philandering King Henry, and Alistair Miles portrayal of Rosmonda's puritanical father is very dramatically apt. As the pageboy Arturo, mezzo Diana Montague is charming, and she negotiates the one (difficult) aria for that character quite well. The music is both beautiful and dramatic (The confrontation between Rosmonda and the Queen is almost as breathtaking as the Dialogue of the Two Queens in "Maria Stuarda"). All of the singers combine passionate characterization with excellent bel canto technique. Two words sum it up: BUY IT."
An excellent opera rediscovered from Donizetti's maturity
J. E. ASENCIO-NEGRON | Guaynabo, Puerto Rico USA | 06/04/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Donizetti composed several operas with 2 opposing sopranos in principal roles during the 1830's: Anna Bolena (Milan, 1830), Ugo, conte di Parigi (Milan, 1832), Rosmonda d'Inghilterra (Florence, 1834), Maria Stuarda (Milan, 1835), Roberto Devereux (Naples, 1837). It is the same decade (i.e. the onset of Donizetti's maturity on opera composing) in which he produced one of his masterpieces: Lucia di Lamermoor (Naples, 1835).In England of the 1100's, Rosamonda Clifford (soprano), supposed mistress of Henry II (tenor) according to history, and daughter of Gualtiero Clifford (bass), king's old tutor, is discovered by the jealous Queen Leonora (soprano), the historical Eleanor of Aquitaine. In the last duet Leonora has opportunity to face her rival, Rosmonda, before she stabs her.Rosmonda d'Inghilterra (Opera Rara label, David Parry, conducting) won the Belgian Prix Cecilia (award). On this recording several excellent items, which I enjoyed, were included from the 1837's revision Donizetti made to the score: 1) the overture; 2) the cabaletta in the Introduzione to Act I: `Ti vedrò, donzella audace' (I shall see you, bold maid)(CD 1, Track 4), sung by Nelly Miricioiu (soprano) as Leonora (orchestrated by Robert Roberts except for the `tempo di mezzo'); 3) the cabaletta in Act II (ending of the opera): `Tu! spergiuro, disumano' (You! Perjured, inhuman man)(CD 2, Track 20), sung by Leonora. Besides, several Rosamonda's arias are unforgettably melodious and inmediately pleasing: `Torna, torna, o caro oggetto" (Return, return, my dear one)(CD1 Track 13), `Senza pace, senza speme' (Bereft of peace, bereft of hope)(CD 2, Track 11). I definitively recommend this recording of an excellent but forgotten opera , which deserves more regular performances (in the enhanced version brought to us by the Opera Rara label)."