It’s clear from the catalogue in the booklet that Dynamic have
recorded an enormous range of operas. Several of these I have
reviewed during the last few years. Many of them are rarities
and several of the composers are little represented elsewhere
in the catalogues. Bottesini, Cagnoni, Da Capua, Galuppi, Jomelli,
Leo, Marchetti, Mercadante, Mosca, Paisiello, Piccinni, Sacchini,
Salieri, Sarro, Scarlatti and Spontini are by no means seen
and heard every year; not even every decade. Of the household
names we still find Dynamic featuring works that are off the
beaten track. In other words Dynamic is a treasure trove for
opera lovers with a taste for the little known. The quality
of the works may vary. Not all the singing is world class and
since these are invariably live recordings one has to accept
odd balance and stage noise. Very often the quality is in every
respect fully comparable to that achieved by the big labels.
Today most of the traditional ‘majors’ have been overshadowed
in quantity by Dynamic.
This sample disc is, I believe, a way to show those not yet
convinced that the company delivers high-quality products. By
and large it was a pleasure to listen through this collection.
The composers’ names are all well known; not all the operas
Demetrio e Polibio for instance is very early Rossini,
begun in 1806 when he was not yet fifteen. It wasn’t premiered
until 18 May 1812. By then the composer had turned 20 and five
of his operas had already been played. Even so, it was still
almost a year before his real breakthrough: Tancredi
in February 1813 and L’italiana in Algeri in May the
same year. He shows his paces in Demetrio e Polibio.
The melody is beautiful and the accompaniment is skilfully orchestrated.
Both singers have good voices, that initially don’t blend too
well - they get better.
Donizetti’s Pia de’ Tolomei is a more mature work.
The composer was 40 when he wrote it, the same year, incidentally,
as Roberto Devereux (1837). In the duet the voices
tend to shrillness. Both are quite vibrant, but Ciofi on her
own is very attractive and her voice is a pliant instrument.
In the aria Sposo, ah tronca ogni dimora! she sings
beautifully and with feeling. The death scene is touching.
She is even better in the long aria from I Capuleti e i
Montecchi where the solo horn player in the introduction
and long recitative is excellent.
the complete Adriana Lecouvreur not so long ago and
was very enthusiastic about Marcelo Alvarez’s singing but had
reservations about the others. Returning to some of the music
now I was just as satisfied with Alvarez, glorious and lyrical,
and found Carosi more to my liking this time. In her deeply
felt identification with the dying Adriana she is at her very
There are more highlights to come in Verdi’s Attila.
Dimitra Theodossiou’s Odabella is another highly attractive
reading to add to an already long list of roles she has recorded
successfully. She floats the high piano notes in the aria so
beautifully. And her dramatic ability is amply demonstrated
in the duet with Foresto. There Carlo Ventre is powerful – maybe
forceful is a better word – but hardly subtle. By all means
Attila is probably one of the least subtle of Verdi’s
Attila himself is formidably sung by Furlanetto, larger than
life perhaps, but that’s what the ruler of the Huns was. He
has tremendous vocal resources, the voice is black, intense
and impressively steady. I suspect people sitting in the first
rows had to bend down to avoid being blown away by his fortissimos.
He definitely out-sings both Raimondi and Nesterenko on the
two studio recordings from the 1970s and 1980s: Philips and
Hungaroton respectively, both conducted by Lamberto Gardelli.
In Ernani Giacomo Prestia’s Silva is on the whole an
acceptable reading, but where Furlanetto is rock-steady over
his whole range, Prestia has a disfiguring wobble on too many
sustained notes. Still he gets more ovations from the Parma
audience than the Trieste people bestow on Furlanetto. Carlo
Guelfi, a reliable singer, is heard to good effect in O
This is, in sum, a collection that offers some extraordinary
singing, but also some that is not quite up to the mark. For
Alvarez, Theodossiou, and Furlanetto I’ll keep this disc close
to my CD-player – and Ciofi is also worth an extra listen.
Complete tracks and performers:
Gioachino ROSSINI (1792
Demetrio e Polibio
1. Questo cor ti giura amore (Lisinga, Siveno)[5:18]
Christine Weidinger (soprano - Lisingo), Sara Mingardo (mezzo
- Siveno), Graz Symphony Orchestra/Massimiliano Carraro
Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797 –
Pia de’ Tolomei
2. Fra queste braccia (Pia, Rodrigo) [4:23]
3. Sposo, ah tranca ogni dimora! (Pia) [5:26]
4. Ah! di Pia che muore (Pia) [5:14]
Patrizia Ciofi (soprano – Pia), Laura Polverelli (mezzo – Rodrigo),
Orchestra of the Teatro La Fenice di Venezia/Paola Arrivabeni
Vincenzo BELLINI (1801 –
I Capuleti e i Montecchi
5. Oh quante volte, oh quante (Giulietta) [10:07]
Patrizia Ciofi (soprano – Giulietta), Orchestra Internazionale
Francesco CILEA (1866 – 1950)
6. La dolcissima effige (Maurizio) [2:09]
7. Che? Tu tremi ... (Maurizio, Adriana) [9:21]
Marcelo Alvarez (tenor – Maurizio), Micaela Carosi (soprano
– Adriana), Orchestra of the Teatro Regio di Torino/Renato Palumbo
Giuseppe VERDI (1813 – 1901)
8. Liberamente or piangi (Odabella) [6:21]
9. Qual suon di passi! (Odabella, Foresto) [8:00]
10. Mentre gonfiarsi l’anima (Attila) [7:16]
Ferruccio Furlanetto (bass – Attila), Dimitra Theodossiou (soprano
– Odabella), Carlo Ventre (tenor – Foresto), Orchestra of the
Teatro Lirico Giuseppe Verdi di Trieste/Donato Renzetti
11. Infelice! ... E tuo credevi (Silva) [5:16]
12. O sommo Carlo (Carlo, Silva, tutti) [4:08]
Marco Berti (tenor – Ernani), Susan Neves (soprano – Elvira),
Carlo Guelfi (barotine – Don Carlo), Giacomo Prestia (bass –
Don Ruy Gomez de Silva), Nicoletta Zanini (soprano – Giovanna),
Samuele Simoncini (tenor – Don Riccardo), Alessandro Svab (bass
– Jago), Orchestra of the Teatro Regio di Parma/Antonello Allemandi