New to Salieri
William A. Poe | Silver Spring, MD USA | 03/16/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Not being trained in music theory, I cannot speak to the musicology of this work, but I do know enough to say with confidence that this opera is as good as classical writing ever achieved (maybe there are finer libretti, but I refer to the music). I have full recordings of most of the Mozart operas. Dare I say, I like this work just as much as any of them? There is fun, life, depth, variety and sheer zest in this work. "La Grotta" provides unexpected, inventive and rewarding music at every turn. Salieri was in utter command of his abilities and virtuoso of this operatic style. If this is not a masterpiece, I'm not sure how to define one. Maestro Rousset states on the DVD extra that he was surprised to find that Salieri had so much to offer. Ditto that. I plan to purchase more recordings of Salieri's works now that I know. The performances on this CD are steller, the voices surely, but most especially the orchestra. No one should hesitate to purchase this CD if they love Classical music. The DVD special is icing on the cake, so to speak. It made me crave to see an actual performance of this opera. Dancing skeletons on stage and all!"
One of those most wonderful surprises that rarely come along
gellio | San Francisco, CA | 07/10/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Prior to purchasing this recording, the only 2 things I knew about Salieri were:
1). Like Mozart, he was inaccurately portrayed in the film "Amadeus" - both personally and artistically.
2). His works are very hard to come by!
I saw this recording in a CD store used, for $17, so I thought why not? Well, I must say that, after spending a lot of time listening to this recording it is such a shame that Salieri is widely known for his character in "Amadeus" rather than the merits of his work.
I am a huge Mozart fan, and his Da Ponte operas are probably my three favorite operas. La Grotta premiered in Vienna a year before Figaro, and was hugely popular - far more popular than Figaro at the time, at least according the liner notes, which are probably accurate. Is this opera as good as the Da Ponte/Mozart operas? Of course not. But, that should not deter anyone from giving this charming, brilliant, and beautiful opera a listen to. Let's face facts - no composer has ever achieved the sheer brilliance Mozart has. This leads to the overshadowing of his Classical Period counterparts.
La Grotta is a wonderfully entertaining opera. It's got a great story line, great buffa music, nice ensemble work, extended finales, and wonderful arias. Salieri was more than a competent composer - he was a master at vocal writing, at least based on this work. There is not a dull moment to be found here - all extremely enjoyable.
The conducting, cast, and orchestral playing is all first rate!! Raffaella Milanesi (Ofelia) delivers her first aria "D'un dolce amor la face" with such pure/beautiful tone. I am a new fan of hers. Beautiful voice. "D'un dolce" is simply gorgeous and her performance is breathtaking. The rest of the cast is perfectly adequate - no disappointments to be found anywhere.
My only disappointment is in the packaging - namely the booklet. It has some nice information on Salieri and the work, but not enough in my opinion. The libretto is in Italian and English. However, there is no synopsis, and I haven't had time to read the libretto yet.
All in all, this is a very charming and well-done work. Kudos Salieri! It is a shame his works are hard to come by, but with labels like DG's Archiv, Harmonia Mundi, Dynamic, and Musica Numeris bringing back forgotten works, I have high hopes more of Salieri's operas will surface in quality recordings, such as this one.
I am just thrilled. I have done the operas of Haydn, Cimarosa, Paisellio, and Gluck in hopes of capturing something magical like Mozart. I hadn't found it until I purchase "La Grotta di Trofino".
If you like Classical Period opera, do yourself a favor and pick this up. You will quickly realize Salieri is not the composer Peter Shaffer portrayed him as in "Amadeus"."