Daniel G. Madigan | Redmond, WA United States | 07/27/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The great Giovanni Pacini does it again with this wild, hitherto unknown (to me at least) score . Like his Sapho it has those impossible but irresistable cabalettas that Emilia Corsi so loved to sing, and Larmore and Futral adore them as well, with their superb phrasing and tones and high notes.... and Carlo Di Bergogna is filled with these extremely difficult cabalettas.Futral sounds so secure at every turn here, and her top notes are on the mark and very dramatic. Larmore is mad with jealousy because of her desires for Carlo, and her singing revelas this in every note, so exqusitely done and yet very intense,as she pours out her heart (and hatred) for Carlo, a tyrant who has much sex appeal for these heriones.
This whole opera flows over you like a great water fall, pounding you as it flows over you, recalling all the while Rossini, Donizetti, and perhaps a little of the Verdi to come. The libretto is standard, but, very focused on jealousy and vendetta, with a great deal of excellent choral framing of arias and duets and quartets. There is much to admire too, in Bruce Ford's singing of the title role..his is a superior sound, so suited to this era and its sensibilities. Roberto Frontali is edgy and nasty and forlorn by turns, and Jennifer Larmore and Elizabeth Futral fuel his singing with much heat. They are both wonderful to hear. If only we could have this opera on the stage!This is beautifully produced recording,with a 196 page booklet, with numerous color photos of the recording sessions, and a performance at once dynamically,and so smoothly conducted by Maestro Parry, who knows the score and then some. Brilliant!A great great find, a hot solid performance on all sides, with beauty and artistry always in abundance. Buy this lovely set, and go mad!"
A silk purse
John Cragg | Delta(greater Vancouver), B.C Canada | 08/12/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Opera Rara has produced a well sung and highly enjoyable recording. The only puzzle is why they chose to lavish strong singers and a first-rate orchestra on this work. Carlo di Bourgogna marked the end of Pacini's first -- and more glib -- period. The opera apparently has enjoyed only one stage performance -- the first one. Its problems allegedly drove Pacini from composing for the theatre for four years. If this is the worst of Pacini's operas, then one can hardly wait for productions of the dozens of better ones that have not been recorded, for this is an enjoyable production with a great deal of interesting and hghly listenable, if not exactly profound, music. Pacini was famous for his cavatinas -- and this production contains some fine examples. It is the case that, if you are coming for the first time to Pacini, you would be better advised to get some of the other excellent recordings available -- for example, Opera Rara's own Maria Regina or the Bonynge performance of Medea. Similarly, if you want a "first" Pacini opera, L'Ultimo Giorno di Pompeii is probably a stronger opera. None of these alternative have as strong a cast as this recording. Jenifer Larmore sings magnificently, as one might expect, in what is probably the most challanging role of the opera. Elizabeth Futral, Bruce Ford and Roberto Frontali all are in good voice with fine interpretations, and David Parry conducts the excellent orchestra and chorus in adequate -- though possibly a bit lacklustre -- fashion. However, Pacini was very much a man of the theatre and the recording would have benefitted from coming from a stage production. It lacks that extra bite that can raise a more mundane cast to a more stunning performance. (an example is the Bonynge recording of Pacini's Medea mentioned before.Opera Rara as usual produces a handsome -- and badly bound -- booklet which is long on historical trivia and short of real analysis of the opera or information about the participants in this production. It does have a translation of the libretto which reads like a playable work. Overall, this is a great recording of a minor work, lacking however, the extra bite to really raise it beyond the level of a curiosity."
Daniel G. Madigan | 09/20/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Carlo di Borgogna was such a failure at its creation (1835)
that Pacini stopped composing for five years. It is an une-
ven and intricate work a bit too long for its own good (the
plot is ludicrous) but it does offer some striking passages
and challenges the singers to some fearsome coloratura pro-
wess. It takes a first-rate cast to pull it off and this is
exactly what we have here. The two female leads - Jennifer
Larmore and Elizabeth Futral - are splendid and sing superbly.
They both throw themselves in their roles with a technical and
dramatic abandon that is riveting from start to end. Bruce
Ford and Roberto Frontali do just as well coping brilliantly
with the technical difficulties and making the most of the
drama. Chorus and orchestra are excellent and vigorously con-
ducted by David Parry and it comes with a beautiful booklet.
Well worth investigating for bel canto lovers."
Paul Evans | Los Angeles | 03/04/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Listen to this opera and you will become addicted to it. Is it because Jennifer Larmore totally rips this opera a new "you know what"? Yes.
But the other singers are a hoot as well. If Futral is the weakest link, that's still not so bad. Every singer gets to sink their teeth into their roles...What fun. But Larmore rocks the house and her character Estella is a force to be reckoned with.
Jose Toledo | Paris, France | 04/23/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is an opera to study opera. It is understandable why it has ben neglected for so long: it isn't for pure entertainment, it requires attention to detail, thought. The musical score, especially for the voices, is very detailed. This recording doesn't neglect any of the nuances. It isn't hard to hear the enthusiasm in the singing as well as the playing. Like a classic that one reads again and again throughout one's life, this opera is meant for continuous listening, and always one will discover something new and exciting."