Michael K. Halloran | 11/27/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Opera Rara has done more towards unearthing forgotten and neglected bel canto works than any other record company, and for that, they deserve to be commended. The additional fact that virtually everything they produce is so well recorded, performed, and packaged is another bonus.The present recording is no exception. It presents alternate numbers written by Donizetti as additional or replacement material for several of his operas. The overtures are pleasant enough, but it would have been nice to have even more vocal material, for the selections included are truly fine.The singers are up to their assignments, with the notable exception of Rockwell Blake, who has lost the freshness and ease of tone found on his Mozart and Rossini discs during the 1980's. However, Nelly Miriciou once again does herself proud, singing with dramatic intensity and excellent technical aplomb, while newcomer Garry Magee takes the baritone roles with beautiful tone and full commitment. An excellent disc."
Well sung/performed: rare ensembles and arias/Donizetti
J. E. ASENCIO-NEGRON | Guaynabo, Puerto Rico USA | 07/16/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This CD of Donizetti's rarities contains interesting and well sung ensembles and arias. This is the type product (well recorded and good performances) that we usually expect from Opera Rara. I will comment on some of them.The baritone Gary Magee (as Lusignano, King of Cyprus) sings with dramatic intensity and beautiful tone in "Piangi, si piangi, o misera" (Weep, yes weep, unhappy woman) (Track 3) from the alternative finale to "Caterina Cornaro" (Naples, 1844) which focus now attention on the dying Lusignano instead of Caterina. The manuscript of this finale was discovered by Opera Rara's Patric Schmid, the series' producer and artistic director, and it is being heard for the first time this century. The aria and cabaletta: "Havvi un Dio che in sua clemenza" (There is a god who, in his mercy...), and "Benigno il ciel arridere" (Heaven seems to smile with favor) (Track 6), from the opera "Maria di Rohan (Vienna, 1843), it is performed by Nelly Miriciou (soprano) with convincing dramatic force & technical grip, even though I prefer Monserrat Caballé (soprano).The quartet: "Ahimè, quell'anelito il core mi gela" (Alas, such longing freezes my heart) (Track 9) from the finale of Act I of "Pia de' Tolomei" (Venice, 1837), is very good. However the complete opera recorded by Nuova Era has additional duets & arias for baritone that could have been an excellent addition (as rarities) here to be sung by Gary Magee. This opera has the finest passages reserved for the tenor & the baritone since the attention is not focused on the prima donna.I hope Opera Rara will consider issuing a: `Scenes & Overtures II'."