Dynamic have packaged three of their live recordings from the
Pesaro festival. These range from the rarity of Rossini's early
La Cambiale di Matrimonio, to the well known genius of L'Italiana
in Algeri and the slightly less familiar Il Turco in
the recording of Il Turco in Italia when
it first came out and it was fascinating listening to the discs
again. The advantage that the set has is that all the soloists
are singing in their native language. The result is fluent and
the dialogue fairly rattles along. But you wish that more had
been made of it. Similarly in the solo moments, the piece lacks
a smile, lacks fascination. Alessandra Marianelli as Fiorilla
is fluent and judging by the pictures, rather sexy on stage.
But this doesn't come out on disc, her performance lacks the
infinite variety of a Bartoli or a Callas.
Il Turco is one of Rossini's most subtle comedies. It
is not the pure farce of Italiana,and works
because of the humanity Rossini brings to the roles. Yet that
quality is lacking here.
Filippo Adami as Narciso has a tendency to harden at the top
of his range. He does not sound entirely comfortable with the
tessitura and vocally he lacks allure. With Don Geronimo and
Selim we have a slightly different problem. They both sound
personable and creditable; in fact they sound too much alike.
This is not a problem on stage, but certainly a difficulty on
disc and Geronimo just doesn't sound enough like a put-upon
Under Pavel Vanek, the Orchestra Haydn di Bolzano e Trento and
the Prague Chamber Choir acquit themselves well.
L'Italiana in Algeri receives a pretty brilliant
performance from Marianna Pizzolato as Isabella and Maxim Mironov
as Lindoro. Apart from Mironov all the principals are Italian;
they really rattle off the dialogue.
The performance has a brilliance and a ping which is lacking
in Il Turco. Pizzolato's roulades are just dazzling and
I was very taken with Mironov's Lindoro; his upper register
has a lightness and beauty which is a necessity in the role.
Even so, under pressure, a hint of steel creeps in.
As Selim, Marco Vinco is not quite the buffo delight; his voice
has a youthfulness to it which means that his roulades are very
creditable but they do not radiate orotund warmth. Bruno de
Simone's Taddeo is a neat comic creation, nicely differentiated
in vocal tones from Vinco.
It’s weakness is that it doesn't always sound like a comedy.
Dario Fo's production came in for some critical complaints and
this may have had some effect on the musical performance. There
are many moments when stage noise makes the live nature of this
recording apparent. More seriously, in the glorious large-scale
ensembles the co-ordination of pit and singers is not what it
Both of these recordings are creditable and listenable, L'Italiana
in Algeri in particular. There are plenty of other individual
recordings out there which would be preferable in that they
display the full variety inherent in these operas; it’s
a variety not present here or at least not in its full array.
The final set is the 2006 recording of Rossini's first opera,
Il Cambiale di Matrimonio. This is a one act farse
which has had few outings on disc. Rossi's libretto was based
on a 5-act comedy which owed something to Goldoni. The plot
concerned a merchant (Paolo Bordogna) who attempts to sell his
daughter (Desiree Rancatore) to a Canadian business contact
(Fabio Maria Capitanucci). She is of course in love with someone
else (Samir Pirgu).
Il Cambiale’sabsence on disc is perhaps
partly due to the extensive dialogue, here accompanied by a
slightly distant and rather over-active harpsichord. Any recording
needs to win the listener over via the brilliant ensembles.
Rossini uses a lot of ensembles, duets and trios, with relatively
few solos. Here the rather audible and evidently active stage
production seems to have compromised the brilliance. In fact
there are other elements which come over as heavy-handed.
The two baritone leads (Paolo Bordogna and Fabio Maria Capitanucci)
are eminently capable but for my taste the performance is over-emphasized:
full of funny voices and exaggeration.
Rancatore is an experienced Rossinian and navigates the roulades.
Her substantial vibrato is inclined to be intrusive and her
voice has a feeling of instability. I was also less than partial
to the acuti which she throws in, certainly impressive but not
Pirgu is an unassuming, pleasant voiced Milfort and the cast
are admirably supported by Enrico Maria Marabelli and Maria
Gortsevskaya as the servants Norton and Clarina
Where this set wins out is that it includes a complete libretto
and translation, something that seems to have been lacking in
other CDs of the opera. All three are impressively packaged,
with libretto, translations and pictures. Those of Il Cambiale
di Matrimonio show staging with some pretty scary wigs on
None of these operas is perfect but the live performances by
substantially Italian casts are vivid and involving and certainly
worth the low price of this set.
Selim - Marco Vinco (baritone)
Fiorilla - Alessandra Marianelli (soprano)
Geronimo - Andrea Concetti (baritone)
Narciso - Filippo Adamo (tenor)
Prosdocimo - Burno Taddei (baritone)
Zaida - Elena Belfiore (mezzo)
Albazar - Daniele Zanfardino (baritone)
Isabella - Marianna Pizzolato (mezzo)
Mustafa - Marco Vinco (baritone)
Lindoro - Maxim Mironov (tenor)
Taddeo - Bruno de Simone (baritone)
Elvira - Barbara Bargnesi (soprano)
Zulma - Jose Maria Lo Monaco
Haly - Alex Esposito
Tobia Mill - Paolo Bordogna (baritone)
Fanny - Desiree Rancatore (soprano)
Edoardo Milfort - Saimir Pirgu (tenor)
Slook - Fabio Maria Capitanucci (baritone)
Norton - Enrico Maria Marabelli (baritone)
Clarina - Marina Gortsevskaya (mezzo)