A treasure-trove of operatic mysteries
N. Freidin | Huntington, WV | 12/11/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Do not let the rather silly title, Sogno talor (Sometimes I dream) put you off. This 2-CD set for the price of 1-CD is a real find for lovers of bel canto, with selections from composers like Donizetti and Rossini, but also from many other noted nineteenth century artists, including Meyerbeer and Offenbach, and from some virtual unknowns as Saverio Mercandante and Giovanni Pacini, from the vaults of Opera Rara.
There are overtures, solo arias, duets, trios, and ensembles, of mostly forgotten operas, most of them worth rediscovering based on these excerpts. About 2.5 hours of music. Many surprises here, for example a vocal quintet from Offenbach's 'Robinson Crusoe', sung in English !
And the singers are without exception superb, mostly drawn from the Opera Rara 'stable' of performers. Again, some more treats await, like a young Renee Fleming singing a duet with Bruce Ford from Donizetti's, Rosmonda d'Inghilterra.
The box set commemorates 25 years of Opera Rara's recordings of complete scores of, as the label suggests, rare operas. And the standards are of the highest. The accompanying 108-page booklet includes an introduction of the label itself, libretti of the arias, and many photographs. A quite lush package these days !
This is a real treasure, a palette of operatic colours, inticing the listener to want to hear the masterpieces complete. That presumably was the intention - and it works, delightfully !