Il fortunato inganno
Jorge Luis Castillo | Goleta, CA | 08/19/1999
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This 1999 recording of Il fortunato inganno can be recommended as a stop-gap only. The sound, clear, a bit dull, and (understandably) with its share of odd balances, is very much acceptable for a live performance, if the listener can put up with the seemingly ceaseless stomping of the characters as they amble on stage plus a few extraneous noises coming from the orchestra pit, the recording booth, and the audience. The documentation (with an introduction, the original text, and an English translation) is good and essential for an opera with a substantial amount of spoken text, some of which is in Neapolitan. The singing, alas, is, for the most part, substandard: Donzelli, the leading soprano, has a chirpy voice with more than a hint of shrillness; Colaianni, the principal buffo, has a grayish, raspy voice and mercilessly croaks the patter songs he is given to sing; both singers are, however, very adept in playing comedy and work well together; Colaianni in particular delivers his tangy Neapolitan lines with unabashed brio. Miotto, singing one of the secondary buffo roles, has a better voice and is more pleasant to listen to. The principal tenor is woefully inadequate: his voice is small, ill-focused, and pinched; his bel canto technique is imperfect; the actual sound of the voice is mousy and uningratiating. The best voice in the cast belongs to Nicolas Rivenq, a basso who sings the serious role of a straight-laced Colonel, but, like the rest of the characters, he is not at home with Donizetti's elaborated embellishments: the voice itself has become a little dry and his singing is marred with aspirates. The conducting of the piece is serviceable, although not particularly sparkling or imaginative. The music as such is really enjoyable; although no comic masterpiece, the score it is tuneful enough, better even than all but a few of Donizetti's very best comic opere. Four stars for the music, three for the recording."
Andrea Moreno | Syracuse, NY United States | 05/21/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I'm the only American I know who adores French baritone Nicolas Rivenq, and I'm his self-appointed cheerleader. He seems to be quite famous in Europe but largely unknown in the U.S. - I stumbled over him by accident on a William Christie CD. I tend to stay away from his name-brand recordings (like the new Manon with Alagna & Gheorghiu), preferring his more obscure offerings, like this one. This CD is one of a series of live recordings from the Festival Valle d'Itria, and all of these performances that I've heard have their charms. Fortunato Inganno has a lot of spoken dialogue, which takes getting used to, but the pace is brisk and the cast performs with manic abandon. The plot revolves around a stuffy colonel who, in the course of trying to prevent the marriage of his nephew to a singer, himself falls in love with another singer, Aurelia, whom he is idiotic enough to believe is a countess. Aurelia cagily and somewhat heartlessly wraps him around her finger even after he discovers her true identity, until his nephew's marriage has taken place. For this deception she enlists the help of her husband and various assorted theatre people, who meanwhile are busy staging an opera of their own. Stefania Donzelli is just right as the mischievous Aurelia, her down-to-earth, spritely soprano the perfect foile for the patrician Rivenq. He is desperately funny as the colonel, manipulated until he's a nervous wreck. The characters are all thoroughly silly, the music is catchy and the whole thing leaves you feeling as though you've watched a good rerun of I Love Lucy. I heartily recommend it."