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Rossini: Il Barbiere di Siviglia, La Cenerentola, L'italiana in Algeri, La Donna del Lago, Mose

Rossini
Release Date: 07/08/2014 
Label:  Bravissimo Opera Library   Catalog #: 9920   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Gioachino Rossini
Performer:  Teresa BerganzaOrnella RoveroNicola MontiMario Petri,   ... 
Conductor:  Mario RossiPiero BellugiClaudio AbbadoWolfgang Sawallisch,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Radio Symphony OrchestraNaples Teatro San Carlo ChorusItalian Radio Symphony Orchestra Turin,   ... 
Number of Discs: 10 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Reviews of some of the original recordings that make up this set:

La Donna Del Lago

"Needless to say, Montserrat Caballé is ideal in the title role. Surely one of the 20th century’s finest and most beloved singers, her dark-colored, substantial soprano, with equal, impressive power at all registers including the allimportant middle, is entirely in its element. This opera is very special...bask in the sheer allure of the melodies and welcome the start of the Romantic era in opera.”

-- Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com

L'italiana in Algeri
The '70s was a great time at La Scala under Claudio Abbado's reign; not only were some great performances of Verdi
Read more operas offered on a regular basis (Simon Boccanegra has rarely sounded better), but Rossini-lovers had a field day as well. To be sure there are issues with this live performance from 1975: Paolo Montarsolo does not quite have the coloratura technique to cope with Mustafa's florid music and Luigi Alva sometimes is stressed by Lindoro's high tessitura (his first-act aria is taken down a half-tone). It would be another 10-or-so years before basses and tenors caught up with the female voices when it came to Rossinian agility and the ridiculous heights that he asked his tenors to scale. But both men are terrific in their own rights; Montarsolo captures just the right windyness and arrogance of the Algerian Bey, and Alva is utterly charming and spirited as Isabella's suitor.

And of course, the Isabella is Marilyn Horne. She recorded the role commercially as well (on Erato, with Samuel Ramey as the amazing Mustafa), and while that performance may be more polished, here, in addition to the staggering virtuosity and the pointed characterization we're used to, we get wonderful humor and the impression that she is having a simply terrific time. On CD we also have Agnes Baltsa and Jennifer Larmore in the role, both of whom are first-rate, but this is Horne's domain. Both Enzo Dara and Alberto Rinaldi make good bass-baritone foils as Taddeo and Haly, and they manage surprisingly well with the fiorature. As suggested, Abbado's leadership is a sheer delight, and the La Scala forces are in grand shape. The sound is very good. At this price--or possibly any price--this can't be beat.

-- Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com

Mosè in Egitto
This is a reissue; it was previously released on the Arkadia label, and I reviewed it in Fanfare 19:2. Since that was 13 years ago, new readers will probably not have read it, so I am providing them with an updated version of that review.


Rossini’s Mosè in Egitto premiered on March 5, 1818, at the San Carlo Opera in Naples. Although the first two acts were admired by the audience, the final act was a fiasco because the sight of boys pulling ropes to depict the crossing of the Red Sea incited laughter and derision. A year later Rossini revised the third act, adding the most famous number in the opera, “Dal tuo stellato soglio.” In 1827, Rossini rewrote the opera, adding a new first act for Paris, and turning it into a French grand opera now titled Moïse et Pharaon. Shortly afterward, an Italian translation of the French version premiered in Rome; that version has endured under the simple title Mosè.

This is actually the third release of this performance, since it was also released on Frequenz and reviewed in Fanfare 13:3 by David Johnson. In Fanfare 23:4, Henry Fogel, in his review of the Orfeo CD release, mentioned all previous recordings of this opera. When discussing the “Paris version sung in Italian,” he said, “Ghiaurov is stupendous, and the set may be worth owning for his richly vocalized portrayal.” I said in my previous review that Ghiaurov’s Mosè is only rivaled by Boris Christoff’s, and that Ghiaurov has the power and depth of voice to produce an outstanding interpretation of the role. Zylis-Gara sings well, Garaventa tends to sing always at the levels of mezzo forte and forte , but at least he produces a stream of well-focused tone. Shirley Verrett is a first-rate Sinaide, Mario Petri a fine Pharaoh.

This version, like most others, is not complete. There are standard cuts; fragments here and there are omitted. Wolfgang Sawallisch’s conducting has the requisite momentum and grandeur that the score requires. The sound is quite acceptable. The booklet contains notes and a libretto with English translation. In my previous review, I recommended this set over its rivals at that time. Fogel in his review recommends the Orfeo release, also conducted by Sawallisch. I feel this recording is worth having for Ghiaurov’s outstanding performance.

FANFARE: Bob Rose

Il barbiere di Siviglia
“This performance was recorded live at La Scala on January 20, 1964. Gabriele Santini—who would pass away toward the end of that year—brings the authority of a life saturated in this repertoire to his pacing. Sesto Bruscantini hams up Figaro’s sense of self-regard, nicely matching the other big voices on hand: Nicolai Ghiaurov is a positively thunderous Basilio who all but brings the house down, while the underrated Carlo Badioli is alone worth the price of admission for his hilariously characterized Bartolo. Alva brings wonderful variety to the role, encompassing its lovesickness in his serenades as well as the swagger of the soldier and the unctuousness of the music teacher—the two fake identities Figaro plots out for him.”

— Thomas May Read less

Works on This Recording

1. La Cenerentola by Gioachino Rossini
Performer:  Teresa Berganza (Soprano), Ornella Rovero (Soprano), Nicola Monti (Tenor),
Mario Petri (Baritone), Sesto Bruscantini (Baritone), Mitì Truccato Pace (Mezzo Soprano),
Leonardo Monreale (Bass)
Conductor:  Mario Rossi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Naples Teatro San Carlo Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1817; Italy 
Date of Recording: 1958 
Venue:  Live  Naples, Italy 
Language: Italian 
2. La donna del lago by Gioachino Rossini
Performer:  Paolo Washington (Bass), Montserrat Caballé (Soprano), Franco Bonisolli (Tenor),
Pietro Bottazzo (Tenor), Gino Sinimberghi (Tenor), Julia Hamari (Alto),
Annamaria Balboni (Soprano)
Conductor:  Piero Bellugi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra Turin,  Italian Radio Chorus Turin
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1819; Italy 
Date of Recording: 05/19/1970 
Venue:  Live  RAI Studios, Turin, Italy 
Language: Italian 
3. L'italiana in Algeri by Gioachino Rossini
Performer:  Laura Zannini (Soprano), Margherita Guglielmi (Soprano), Paolo Montarsolo (Bass),
Luigi Alva (Tenor), Enzo Dara (Baritone), Marilyn Horne (Mezzo Soprano),
Alberto Rinaldi (Baritone)
Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1813; Italy 
Date of Recording: 5/15/1975 
Venue:  Live  La Scala Theater, Milan, Italy 
Language: Italian 
4. Mosè in Egitto by Gioachino Rossini
Performer:  Giampaolo Corradi (Tenor), Ottavio Garaventa (Tenor), Franco Ventriglia (Bass),
Fernando Jacopucci (Tenor), Teresa Zylis-Gara (Soprano), Gloria Lane (Alto),
Mario Petri (Bass), Shirley Verrett (Mezzo Soprano), Nicolai Ghiaurov (Bass),
Giovanni Gusmeroli (Bass)
Conductor:  Wolfgang Sawallisch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra Rome,  Italian Radio Chorus Rome
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1818; Italy 
Date of Recording: 04/11/1968 
Venue:  Live  Rome, Italy 
Length: 133 Minutes 23 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
5. Il barbiere di Siviglia by Gioachino Rossini
Performer:  Sesto Bruscantini (Baritone), Fiorenza Cossotto (Mezzo Soprano), Luigi Alva (Tenor),
Nicolai Ghiaurov (Bass)
Conductor:  Gabriele Santini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1816; Italy 
Date of Recording: 01/20/1964 
Language: Italian 

Customer Reviews

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 A Terrific Buy July 3, 2014 By Paul F. (Alexandria, VA) See All My Reviews "The headline says it all." Report Abuse
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