One of the most grown-up review sites around
One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here


International mailing

Up to 40% off

  Founder: Len Mullenger

Some items
to consider

in the first division

extraordinary by any standards

An excellent disc

a new benchmark

summation of a lifetime’s experience.

Piano Concertos 1 and 2
Surprise Best Seller and now

A Garland for John McCabe


DIETHELM Symphonies

The best Rite of Spring in Years

BACH Magnificat

Brian Symphs 8, 21, 26

Just enjoy it!

La Mer Ticciati








Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Senior Editor
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


CD: AmazonUK AmazonUS

Pietro MASCAGNI (1863-1945)
Cavalleria Rusticana - Melodrama in one act (1890)
Turiddu - José Cura
Santuzza - Paoletta Marrocu
Lola - Liliana Nikiteanu
Alfio - Cheyne Davidson
Lucia - Irène Friedli
Ruggero LEONCAVALLO (1857-1919)
Pagliacci - Drama in Two Acts with a Prologue (1892)
Canio - José Cura
Nedda - Fiorenza Cedolins
Tonio - Carlo Guelfi
Beppe - Boiko Zvetanov
Silvio - Gabriel Bermúdez
Orchestra and Chorus of the Zurich Opera House/Stefano Ranzani
rec. Zurich Opera House, 2009
ARTHAUS MUSIK 101 490 [151:00]

Experience Classicsonline

This ‘Cav’ and ‘Pag’, in Blu-ray DVD looks quite stunning. Look, for instance, at the clown costume Tonio wears as he sings his Pagliacci Prologue. The detail is outstanding, all the clashing cross-stripes of his waistcoat and overcoat hold steady, and all the subtleties of his costume’s colours, and that of the parrot on his shoulder, they are all captured - as are the lovely 1950s, full-skirted dresses of the ladies of the chorus in Pagliacci’s opening scene. The sound is equally outstanding. Just one example: you can hear all the niceties of Leoncavallo’s orchestral textures imitative of birdsong as Nedda sings her ballatella, ‘Stridono lassù’, expressing her envy and admiration of the happy carefree flight of the birds overhead. The set, costumes and lighting are more muted as appropriate to Cavalleria Rusticana’s Easter Sunday setting.

Cavalleria’s set is quite minimalistic with the outline of the church to right and a high gantry stretching over the village square, centre-stage to the dwellings, including those of Lola and Mamma Lucia, to the right. Santuzza has a shadowy glimpse of Lola’s illicit lover as the drama begins. That lover is her own Turiddu (José Cura). Santuzza is devastated. Paoletta Marrocu acts very convincingly as Santuzza: vulnerable, anguished and embittered, she becomes bent on vengeance then remorseful when she realises her betrayal of Turiddu to Alfio will lead to inevitable tragedy, and Turiddu’s death. Santuzza’s heartbreak is almost unbearably moving. Marrocu’s vocal range is impressive: steady on her high notes and strong and colourful in mid-range. She is pious as she leads the villagers in the famous Easter Hymn, rancorously needling in her accusatory duet with Turiddu and remorsefully sorrowful when she realises the implications of her treachery. Cheyne Davidson, looking like some vengeful American gangster thunders darkly and impressively in his role as the cuckolded husband Alfio. José Cura impresses strongly as the philandering Turiddu, taking advantage of all the expressive opportunities in the role - flamboyantly serenading Lola, hotly rejecting Santuzza’s appeals to his better nature and sorrowing and appealingly vulnerable when, in a near drunken stupor, he realises his fate and pleads with his mother to look after Santuzza if he loses his duel with Alfio.

Cura, as Pagliacci’s Canio, tends to chew the curtains; his acting, for some, might well seem way over the top. At times his eye-rolling reminds one of Robert Newton’s Long John Silver in the film version of Treasure Island. Cura faces tremendous competition from such Canios as Bergonzi, Domingo and, especially Caruso so memorable in the celebrated ‘Vesti la giubba’ yet Cura does manage to raise a lump in one’s throat in his rendition of this most sorrowful of arias. Fiorenza Cedolins is a voluptuous Nedda, slyly and contemptuously teasing the hunchback Tonio - not much evidence of Tonio’s disability in this production – Carlo Guefi seems far too attractive and virile to prompt such disdain. Cedolins makes a really convincing street-wise Nedda, slyly coy and coquettish. And she is nicely wistful in her ‘Stridono lassù’ (see above) yet her voice, at times of high drama, tends towards a screech which may or may not be in character. As the well-meaning Beppe (not ‘Peppe’ as in the booklet) and, more importantly, as Arlecchino in the second act’s play within a play, Boiko Zvetanov shines. His voice has a most attractive timbre. Gabriel Bermúdez’s Silvio is adequate. Much more impressive, in every way, is Guelfi’s Tonio; he has real stage presence and presents the clown’s bitterness and thirst for vengeance with relished gusto.

Stefano Ranzani conducts with authority and passion from the exquisite detail of the lush violin passages in the Cavalleria Rusticana overture to the darkly dramatic double murder music that is the climax of Pagliacci.

A visual treat with some impressive deliveries if it is not as memorable as the best of Cav and Pag.

Ian Lace



Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Pat and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.