An immensely enjoyable recording!
(4 out of 5 stars)
"So you haven't heard of Pacini. Don't let that stop you from buying this wonderful recording. Pacini was famous in his day, second only to Donizetti and Verdi for awhile. In fact, the Pacini of the 1840's was (if our limited knowledge of his mature operas is anything to go by) a more polished and artistic composer than the young Verdi. If you like Donizetti's Tudor Trilogy, you will love this piece! The music is instantly identifiable as bel canto, but there are surprises. In particular, the ensembles are very exciting. The singers (especially Bruce Ford and Mary Plazas) are first-class. Nelly Miriciou as the Queen could have sung the role with more verve and fire, but she is generally quite good. The sound is excellent. And if you haven't heard of Pacini, you will know more about him than you ever wanted to after reading the nearly 1/2 inch thick, gorgeously produced booklet that comes in the CD box!! An educational experience, AND a recording you will want to listen to over and over. Definitely worth buying."
Pacini's arias/cabalettas are always melodical and lyrical
J. E. ASENCIO-NEGRON | Guaynabo, Puerto Rico USA | 05/28/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It is regrettable that Pacini's considerable output (more than 70 operas) were not able to survive and flourish (as those of Rossini, Donizetti, and Bellini) and faded almost into oblivion until they were rescued by Opera Rara for the Camden Festival in 1983. You can classify his work as belonging to the tradition of `bel canto', his melodious inspiration not as exuberant as Bellini. Giovanni Pacini (1792-1867) was not one to subordinate a good tune to the requirements of plot and characterization in his operas (lyrical passages were elastic enough to allow growth/expansion unconcerned from the drama evolution). Many of the arias/ cabalettas seem to have little relationship to what is happening on stage (in contrast with the dramatic power & onward drive of Verdi's arias, and operas as a whole). He earned for himself the soubriet `il maestro delle cabalette' in 1820's (in his operas, at this time, the influence of Rossini was pervasive, for example: `L'ultimo giorno di Pompei' (Naples, 1825)). Therefore, his arias/cabalettas are always melodical and lyrical.As you could expect, the arias/cabalettas in this opera: `Maria, Regina d'Inghilterra' (Palermo, 1843) are consistently tuneful, and in this recording they are well-sung by the Opera Rara's cast (the resonant baritone José Fardilha (Ernesto, a commoner), the dark soprano Nelly Miricioiu (Mary Tudor, Queen of England ) complementing the lighter soprano voice of Mary Plazas (Clotilde Talbot) on duets, and the light and lyrical tenor Bruce Ford (Riccardo, Conte di Chambrassil).I enjoyed the cabalettas: `Ciel che vedi il mio rimorso' (You, Heaven who sees my remorse)(Clotilde)(CD 3, Track 3), and `Tu m'ami ancora!' (You love me still!)(Ernesto)(CD 3, Track 7). The duettino near the end of the opera is quite melodious: `Qual'ora tremenda!' (What a frightful hour!) (Maria/Clotilde)(CD 3, Track 12), and you could feel the dynamic onward rush of the Chorus of revolt, `Morte, morte all'infame Scozzese' (Death, death to the infamous Scottish...)(CD 3, end of Track 4).From his 1840's operas (Pacini's most sucessful & individual period) you may consider to listen: Saffo (Naples, 1840), and Medea (Palermo, 1843) (both realeased on CD)."
Nice but not worth $100
T. Miller | Philadelphia, PA | 08/22/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This opera had a lot of enjoyable music but this is the 3rd or 4th Opera Rara recording that I've heard with Nelly Miricioiu and for some reason the recording engineers at this label seem to have a hard time capturing her voice without getting distortion and clipping on some of the loudest and highest "peak" notes. I have an excellent stereo and have listened to the recordings on different systems and have tweaked all the equalization and bit-rate settings, but still when she hits a really loud, high note you hear this cracking sound. But otherwise I really admire her muscianship and phrasing and she really conveys the feeling of the words she is singing."