£16 post free World-wide


555 sonatas 9Cds mp3 files
Only £22


Benjamin: Written on Skin £16

What's New
Previous CDs
Labels index

Every Day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor: Rob Barnett  
Founder Len Mullenger   

Some items
to consider

Free classical music concerts by Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra

American Tribute
New Releases from Ongaku Records, Inc.

String Quartet 1 & 2
Pavel Hass Quartet

Dvorak Opera Premiere

The Best


Francis Pott

Mahler 9 Elder

New Lyrita Release

British Violin and Cello Concertos

Lyrita New Recording

Ritchie Symphony 4

Mozart concertos

Editorial Board
Classical Editor
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Stan Metzger
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on

Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Pr�alable
Cameo Classics
Northern Flowers
Toccata Classics

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS

Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797-1848)
Linda di Chamounix - Melodramma semi-seria in three acts (1842)
Linda, a young Savoyard girl - Edita Gruberova (soprano); Carlo, Visconte di Sirval, a young nobleman, masquerading as a painter Deon van der Walt (tenor); Marquis of Boisfleury, an old rou with intentions towards Linda Jacob Will (buffo); Antonio, Lindas father Armando Ariostin (bass-baritone); Pierotto, an orphan musician Cornelia Kallisch (mezzo); The Prefect - Lszl Polgr (bass); Maddalena, Lindas mother Nadine Ascher (soprano)
Orchestra and Chorus of the Zurich Opera House/Adam Fischer
Stage Director: Daniel Schmid.
Set Designer: Erich Wonder.
Costume Designer: Florence von Gerkan
rec. live, Zurich Opera House, 1996
Sound Format: PCM Stereo, DD 5.1, DTS 5.1.
Picture Format: 4:3. DVD Format: DVD 5 + DVD 9, NTSC Region Code: 0
Subtitle Languages: Italian (original language), English, German, French, Spanish
[2 DVDs: 164:00]

Experience Classicsonline

Premiered at the Theater am Krntnertor, Vienna in May 1842, this work comes in at around the sixty-second of what The New Grove Masters of Italian Opera (Macmillan 1983) lists as sixty-six operas by Donizetti. Discounting student works Donizetti composed 61 operas, plus many radical revisions as were required by the exigencies of singers available at revivals, or the demands of particular theatre managements. This constitutes a prodigious output, exceeding even Rossinis 39 operas in 19 years whilst lacking his distinguished predecessors speed of composition or gift of melodic invention. With Maria Stuarda and Lucia di Lamermoor, both premiered in 1835, Donizettis fame was secure. Two years later, during the composition of Roberto Devereux, his son was stillborn. This was the third postpartum death his wife had suffered. She followed her son to the grave a few weeks later. His childrens deaths were probably related to the syphilis Donizetti was carrying. The tertiary stage of this disease reduced him to paralysis, insanity and death in 1848, at only 51 years of age, a mere five years after his last opera. During much of this time he was semi-paralysed.
The impact of his personal tragedies seems to have triggered a renewed impetus of creative energy. In the remaining five creative years he wrote 13 new operas ranging from comic to dramatic setting French as well as Italian librettos. Like Rossini before him he conquered Paris with his operas, simultaneously performed at four theatres in the city. His significant new works for Paris included La fille du rgiment, premiered at the Opra-Comique on 11 February 1840, La Favorite at the Opra the following December and Don Pasquale at the Thtre Italien in January 1843. Unlike Rossini, Donizetti did not settle in Paris. He had gone there in hope of earning enough money to escape the hectic world of opera-houses, and like his great predecessor, to retire early. As his health started to decline he clung to his career. He was solicited to consider a post in Vienna as Kapellmeister to the Austrian Court. Captivated by Vienna, Linda di Chamounix was premiered there on 18 May 1842 with Maria di Rohan following in June 1843. His stay was interrupted by presenting Don Pasquale in Paris in January of that year.
The story of Linda di Chamounix, involving a country girl dallying in a kept situation whilst intent on safeguarding her virginity seems nave in the extreme - hardly plausible in the present day. In Venice it appealed to the Empress, who presented Donizetti with a personal memento. She also presented him to the audience with the composer called seventeen times. In Paris, six months, later the reception was cooler. The audience was conversant with the French play on which the opera is based. It takes a somewhat more harsh and realistic view of the movement of young Savoyards to Paris to earn money.
Compositionally Linda di Chamounix is a curious mixture. In it Donizetti returns to the semi-seria genre abandoned ten years earlier. It is a complex story with all the elements of bel canto and including a musically complex overture, omitted here, a wonderful love duet and a mad scene for the heroine. Perhaps the most unusual feature is that the nasty would-be seducer of the chaste Linda is cast for a buffa bass, who also gets a brief patter aria! With its mad scene and fraught emotional duets in act two, Linda di Chamounix is an ideal opera for a lyric coloratura soprano capable of a wide expressive range. In the role, Edita Gruberova has an appealing lightness and vocal flexibility allied to good legato, variety of tone and good expression. She has the ability to sound young and girlish without being tweety. In act one (DVD 1. CHs 2-26) her costume and make-up betray her age, in acts two and three (DVD 2 CHs. 2-18 and 20-35). This is distinctly less so with her opulent costume contributing in the former and stage lighting in the latter. As well as sounding appropriately innocent and young in act one, with a lovely trill in the well-known recitative and cavatina Ah! Tardai O luce di quest anima (CHs.11-12), the latter added for the Paris production, Gruberovas singing delights the audience to the extent of her coming out of role and acknowledging the applause to each part of the house! Thankfully this deplorable practice seems generally less evident in current theatre performances and transmissions, including those that make it onto film. It is not repeated again here. Elsewhere Gruberovas coloratura is secure and appealing in the extended mad scene where Linda loses her reason after her father accuses her of immorality. Her singing is expressive to go along with committed acting as she deflects the advances of the Marquis (DVD 2 CHs.4-8) and particularly so in the love duet with Deon van der Walts Visconte (DVD 2 CHs.9-13).
Van der Walts singing throughout is tasteful and expressive with just the right amount of edge to give the required dramatic impetus or ardent inflection. Add his Mozartian sensibility and good diction and one deprecates even more his sad loss to the operatic stage following his particularly tragic early death. This performance is a fitting memorial to a fine and sensitive tenor. In fact all the men in the cast play and sing their roles well. The tall figure of Lszl Polgr, as Il Prefetto, is allied to good and varied vocal tone and sympathetic characterisation as fits the story. Armando Ariostin creates a sympathetic, then agonised and finally forgiving figure as Lindas father, singing with security, as does Nadine Ascher as her mother. In the incongruous buffa role of the Marquis of Boisfleury Jacob Will sings well and looks particularly foppish with his extravagant clothes and hairstyles. The duet between him and Linda in act two (DVD 2 CHs. 4-8) shows his singing and acting ability particularly well. The travesti role of the young itinerant hurdy-gurdy player Pierotto, who returns the hallucinating Linda to her home and parents, is particularly well acted and sung by Cornelia Kallisch.
The sets for act one and three involve picture post-card scenes of snow-covered mountains and a descending glacier. Lindas home is left a rather indeterminate image to the left of the stage. These two acts do not lend themselves to the 4:3 picture format particularly well; less so if the aspect is changed to 16:9 for television. Lindas costume and that of her lover are particularly opulent in act two with the set of her apartment appropriately designed. The stage direction by Daniel Schmid is apt and all the better for being unobtrusive.
Under the baton of Adam Fischer, the orchestra of the Zrich Opera does justice to Donizettis creation. Uniquely in my experience of DVDs, each act is preceded by a synopsis; very helpful.

Robert J Farr


































































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.