Search - Gaetano Donizetti, Alun Francis, Lois McDonall :: Donizetti - Maria Padilla / McDonall D. Jones G. Clark du Plessis Earle Caley R. Kennedy J. Davies LSO A. Francis

Donizetti - Maria Padilla / McDonall · D. Jones · G. Clark · du Plessis · Earle · Caley · R. Kennedy · J. Davies · LSO · A. Francis
Gaetano Donizetti, Alun Francis, Lois McDonall
Donizetti - Maria Padilla / McDonall D. Jones G. Clark du Plessis Earle Caley R. Kennedy J. Davies LSO A. Francis
Genre: Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (16) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (12) - Disc #2
  •  Track Listings (17) - Disc #3


     
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CD Reviews

Highly Recommended
dwadefoley | New York, New York United States | 04/22/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Donizetti is known for being a great melodist, but not for infusing his operas with unique musical atmosphere. Maria Padilla is a surprise for those who think Donizetti predictable. Written in 1841 near the end of his career, it is clear evidence of the composer's search for dramatic realism. From the first notes played by the orchestra to the last, we could never believe the action was taking place anywhere but in Spain. There are the usual 2-part arias with florid cabalettas, but Donizetti also experiments with musical forms and part allocation. He expands a baritone aria into a sextet, and assigns the part of Maria's old father to a tenor (who steals the right of a mad scene from the soprano!). The music is thrilling from beginning to end. In particular, a soprano-mezzo duet is on a par with its more famous counterpart in Norma, and the duet for Maria and her father is intensely dramatic. The final aria completely makes up for a dramatically unsatifying happy ending, giving the soprano ample opportunity to completely bring down the house. Lois McDonall as Maria is adequate. Her voice is a bit dry and her notes are strained at the top, but her sense of drama and her negotiation of difficult coloratura passages make up for it. Della Jones and Christian du Plessis are wonderful as always, and Graham Clark's vibrato-laden and rather dry voice are oddly well suited to the part of Maria's aging father. Alun Francis is a skillful conductor, and the Geoffrey Mitchell choir is in excellent form. A thick booklet contains an English-Italian libretto, a well-researched and interesting scholarly article by Jeremy Commons, and a plot synopsis. A great opportunity to explore some of the forgotten byways of Italian Opera, and a thoroughly enjoyable recording."
Deserves to be better known
John Cragg | Delta(greater Vancouver), B.C Canada | 03/30/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Maria Padilla deserves to be better known. It is fairly late Donizetti in which the composer has developed his own distinctive elements and furthermore is showing a good deal of affinity to Bellini. He was not breaking out in new ways or generating promising extensions to the bel canto approach, as Mercadante was doing at that period and as Verdi, in a different way, soon would be doing. The music is never less than engaging, and at times reaches outstanding levels, particularly in the second act soprano duet but also at many other points. The opera is probably almost never performed because of a weak libretto and the fact that there are enough good Donizetti operas that few companies need to venture off the beaten track even for strong works -- and this is at least as strong as Roberto Devereaux, for example.Just as the quality of the opera is a bit variable, so is this performmance. Two of the principals, Lois McDonall and Christian du Plessis are a bit eratic, though they usually produce some lovely sounds, while Della Jones' singing is delicious and her voice is well contrasted with McDonall's. Graham Clark's rather tremulous tenor instrument is effective in his part and is well contrasted with the other male voices. Francis conducts a spirited and perceptive account using a more than adequate chorus and orchestra. The recorded sound is more than adequate, inhancing rather detracting from the performance.One does wonder how much more this operatic jewel would glitter if it had some really great singers and interpreters involved. In their absense, this is a highly worthwhile set. ..."