Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Saverio Mercadante, Monica Colonna, Cesare Catani|
Mercadante - Elena da Feltre / Colonna · Ulivieri · Catani · Rilaldi-Miliani · E. Rossi · Petroni · Muzzi · Wexford Festival · Benini
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A real treasure
John Cragg | Delta(greater Vancouver), B.C Canada | 07/14/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Mercadante is a first rate composer who is sadly undervalued. Without quite the ability of Donizetti to write catchy melodies, or of Verdi, he crafted operas of more subtlety and innovation than either around the same time, This one has many outstanding passages. The subtle and refined, but also major, innovations in Italian Opera which Mercadante was effecting were, possibly unfortunately, short-circuited by Verdi's brasher reformations and so Mercadante really marks the end of a developmentleading from Rossini, which really stepped back and took a different direction with Verdi. It is not, however, a petering out of the development, but rather a glorious conclusion.This recording brings out the strengths of Mercadante's approach and aesthetics. Particularly notable is his ability to build exciting ensembles which is second to no other bel-canto composer except possibly Rossini. The plot is no more goofy than most contemporary opera plots and gives rise for the occasion of some magnificent singing. Particularly noteworthy is he soprano, Marina Collona, who has great technique and a wonderful timbre in her middle range. I hope we get some more operatic recordings with her in starring roles. The male roles are well handled with nicely contrasted voices which make their duets as exciting as any of Dopnizetti's. The tenor for once is a "baddy" and Cesare Catani gets a nice edge to his voice to bring this out. The orchestra and chorus are more than satisfactory, with good direction by Maurizio Benini -- of course under none of the compulsion to produce a "different" version which mars so many recordings of the operatic war-horses. His ability to produce an effective work of art using virtually unknown forces is much to his credit. Overall, this is an exciting and intriguing work, well worth having, and a fine part of the very limited set of available recordings of Mercadante's operas."
Very fine work by Saverio Mercadante
B. Cathey | Wendell, NC United States | 08/09/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Poor Mercadante! He had the misfortune in the early portion of his life to be overshadowed by Rossini, Bellini, and Donizetti, and in the latter part, by Verdi. He did not deserve such obscurity. Like his countryman Giovanni Pacini, he produced a number of deserving stage works, several of which greatly merit reviving from time to time. His acknowledged masterpiece is IL GIURAMENTO, available in several performances on silver disc. ELENA DA FELTRE comes from his later period, or "reform" period, and represents him at his best in every way. This Wexford Festival producion is quite nicely done, with excellent notes, a keyed plot summary, cast information, and a translated libretto. The singing is on a high order...in particular Monica Colonna, the Elena of the title. All account themselves well. Marco Polo has done an excellent job in presenting this, as has Wexford.
In particular, let's single out Elena's scena/cavatina "Del tremendo Ezzelin...Ah! si del tenero," certainly a dramatic and musical highlight of the opera [Mercadante re-wrote it for a later performance, and that revision is also available on an Opera Rara release]. And Elena's final death scene is equally moving. Indeed, in ELENA DA FELTRE Mercadante achieved that synthesis of drama, emotion, and musical expression he had hoped for, and had achieved IL GIURAMENTO and a few other works.
Certainly, then, a worthy addition to the catalogue, and worthy of any good opera fan.