Odd yet interesting....
B. Bork | Ontario, Canada | 06/12/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This opera is a bit of an oddity that I recognized as such the moment I began listening. It's strangeness seems to stem from its time of composition (1807); situated at the end of the classical period and at the beginning of the bel canto movement, it seems to have one foot in each period with no solid commitment either way. Fioravanti's approach seems like early bel canto but the underlying feel of the piece is formal and elegant like it's Classical predecesors.
The score is well divided between ensembles (3 terzetto's; 2 sestetto's; a 12min 1st act finale; a 2nd act finaletto; a 2nd act introduzione) and airs (7). I was excited about the amount of ensembles but have found myself interested more in the solo numbers. Unlike the ensembles, the airs have a lot personality and diversity which speaks to Fioravanti's skill at characterization. The ensembles are good but they seem to be focused on either each participant singing in turn or everyone singing together in a repetative fugue. Fiorivanti seems more interested in the personages singing together for sheer enjoyment of music rather than it's dramatic capabilities.
Another element that was a bit of a turn off was the amount of recitative (about 40 min worth); curiously enough, the essay provided describes this work as "short on dialogue", but at 40 minuets the recitative is a heafty chunk of the piece (and pretty uninspired too).
The beauty and elegeance of the music is what has caught my attention and held it. There are some beautiful passages in most of the numbers which have a charm and allure all their own. Even the repetative fugues have their own sense of loveliness and grace that counteracts their seemingly simplistic construction. The first act finale is of special note due to its' comedic sensiblities and above all, it's anti-climactic stretta which seems to poke fun at the burgeoning "grand finale" tradition.
This is a studio recording with both good and bad points behind it. While the sound is uncluttered by vibrations or live distractions, it suffers in smallness. If you like a chamber orchestra feel to your operas than you won't mind this recording at all. There do seem to be some issues with the stereo which causes left and right anomolies that becomes awkward when using headsets.
The performers are fantastic for this piece and pull off all their numbers with skill and experience. They're strong with full, rich sound and good diction with everyone on par and no "weak link" to speak of (the sole tenor and a minor mezzo soprano are the weakest but still fair enough).
I would highly recomend this to anyone with an interest in pre-Rossini bel canto or the curious who enjoy odd forgotten operas that may never be recorded again."