Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) L’Inganno Felice (1812)
Artavazd Sargsyan – Bertrando, a Duke
Silvia Dalla Benetta – Isabella, his wife
Baurzhan Anderzhanov – Ormondo, The Duke’s Lieutenant
Tiziano Bracci – Batone, Ormondo’s confidant
Lorenzo Regazzo – Tarabatto, The miners’ leader
Tommaso Dionis – A Soldier/Solo Flute
Virtuosi Brunenses/Antonio Fogliani
rec. 23-25 July 2015, Königliches Kurtheater, Bad Wildbad, Germany
Video 16:9, Audio Stereo PCM 2.0
Sung in Italian
Subtitles Italian, English, German, French DYNAMIC 37760 DVD [94:00]
L’Inganno felice is one of five once-act comedies Rossini wrote before his first big hit, Tancredi. These are works in which you can hear the composer learning to be Rossini. Full of Rossini-like gestures, they are not put together so brilliantly as the mature works. L’Inganno felice, written in 1812, is not the best of the set, for which you should turn to La cambiale di matrimonio. But it contains a lot of enjoyable music, and this is its only video version.
The plot is odd. Believing rumors maligning his wife, Duke Bertrando orders her drowned. Duchess Isabella survives, washed ashore amongst a community of iron miners, where she hides out, pretending to be the niece of their leader, Tarabatto. Isabella pines after her murderous Duke for ten years, when he suddenly appears on military maneuvers. His henchmen plot to kill her (again) in order to cover up their earlier inept assassination before the Duke can recognize the wife he now misses. Tarabatto foils the plot and Bertrando and Isabella are reunited. It was a happy deception for Isabella to pretend to be a miner’s niece.
This so-called farsa revolves around killing the Duchess, an unusual plot for Rossini, who is usually rather a woman-friendly composer. Thus it is somewhat problematic to stage. The comedic aspects do not fit easily with the assassination plots, and the two romantic characters are estranged and rather wooden.
Artavazd Sargsyan does the best he can with the role of the Duke. The Duke is stupid, vicious, and repentant, so Sargsyan’s stiffness may be in character. He sings rather stiffly too, but adequately. Silvia Dalla Benetta’s Duchess is also stiff on stage, but her musical contribution is superior. Her agile voice can be flashy, and holds attention.
The dramatic and musical center of the opera is Lorenzo Regazzo as the miner, Tarabatto. Regazzo is a wonderful singer, and his scheming calls to mind the Figaro who lay in Rossini’s future.
Tiziano Bracci is also excellent as the henchman, Batone. Rossini gives him a show-off aria plus a buffo duet with Regazzo. Other musical highlights include the Trio of Duke, Duchess and Tarabatto at the middle of the opera, and the sweet nocturne which opens the final ensemble.
This Wildblad Festival production features simple staging, set in an imaginary era when dukes could ride onto the stage sharing a jeep with two henchmen and an obbligato flutist. Jochen Schönleber’s intelligent stage direction keeps things moving without having the action get in the way of the music. The boxy sound of this DVD does not favor the singers. Detail is frequently obscured.
This welcome production is essential for Rossini fanatics, but probably not for others.