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Il Salotto Vol 9 - Ora Divina - The Sublime Hour

Release Date: 01/16/2007 
Label:  Opera Rara   Catalog #: 239   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Angelo MarianiLord (John Fane) BurghershFabio CampanaEdoardo Vera,   ... 
Performer:  Bruce FordDavid HarperMajella CullaghDiana Montague,   ... 
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Back Order: Usually ships in 2 to 3 weeks.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

ORA DIVINA—THE SUBLIME HOUR Majella Cullagh (sop); Elizabeth Vidal (sop); Sine Bundgaard (sop); Diana Montague (mez); Bruce Ford (ten); Paul Austin Kelly (ten); Barry Banks (ten); Roland Wood (bs); Mark Stone (bs); David Harper (pn) OPERA RARA 239 (69:08 & )

Songs and ensembles by: Mariani, Burghersh, Donizetti, Campana, Vera, Mercadante, Balfe, Offenbach, Carlini, Benedict, Giuglini, Rubini, Unger-SABATIER
Once again Opera Rara has delved into the archives of 19th-century salon music and come up with a recital full of treasures, minor perhaps, but nonetheless worth the detour. Angelo Mariani is best known as one of Verdi’s earliest conductors, but his two songs recorded here show a composer with a talent for the elegiac, tinged with melancholy. Bruce Ford’s impeccable control almost convinces us that these are masterpieces, the high diminuendo close to Ad un fiume (the song progressing traditionally from minor to major) breathtaking in its control and appropriateness. Majella Cullagh is also prominently featured, and her delivery of Carolina Unger-Sabatier’s Addio sparkles throughout. Unger, as readers will recall, made her debut as mezzo soloist at the premiere of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, and tradition has it that she was the one who turned the composer around to acknowledge the applause. She later became a prima donna in Italy, and wrote this Farewell after three successful seasons in Naples. Patrick O’Connor’s notes tell us that it is likely that the piece is filled with references to works she performed, while providing a thorough workout for the singer. Offenbach’s Etoile requires a cello obbligato, but it is the soprano Elizabeth Vidal whom we admire, not only here but also in songs by Fabio Campana and Donizetti, all three in French. It is unfortunate that Vidal’s career has been overshadowed by the ascendance of Nathalie Dessay, for she, too, is a vocal marvel.

An Opera Rara newcomer is Danish soprano Sine Bundgaard, who makes the most of her vocal rivalry with Cullagh in Antonio Giuglini’s duet, Il passato . Ford and Barry Banks tackle the close harmony of La rose (originally for soprano and tenor) by Giovanni Rubini, who—like Giuglini—was a singer who also composed; its sentiments perhaps sound less strange today when uttered by two men than would have been the case in the first half of the 19th century. Luigi Carlini’s trio in homage to a tree sparkles because of its rhythm, while Edoardo Vera’s three contributions are variable in quality, from a forlorn solo for mezzo, to a far more interesting trio, Le ombre , more familiar as set by Schubert under its first line, “Non t’accostar all’urna.” His drinking song, given a rollicking rendition by Barry Banks, rounds out our picture of the composer.

Pianist David Harper seizes every opportunity that comes his way, while giving solid underpinning in the more trivial accompaniments. As usual, we are grateful to the producers of this CD for searching out the byways and back roads seldom traveled, thus rounding out our understanding of the period.

FANFARE: Joel Kasow
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Works on This Recording

Ad un fiume by Angelo Mariani
Performer:  Bruce Ford (Tenor), David Harper (Piano)
'Si fiero dolore' by Lord (John Fane) Burghersh
Performer:  Majella Cullagh (Soprano), Bruce Ford (Tenor), David Harper (Piano),
Diana Montague (Mezzo soprano), Mark Stone (Baritone)
Claire de lune by Fabio Campana
Performer:  David Harper (Piano), Elisabeth Vidal (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Italy 
'La tradita' by Edoardo Vera
Performer:  David Harper (Piano), Diana Montague (Mezzo soprano)
Ah, che nel dirti addio by Saverio Mercadante
Performer:  Barry Banks (Tenor), Majella Cullagh (Soprano), David Harper (Piano),
Diana Montague (Mezzo soprano), Roland Wood (Bass)
Period: Romantic 
The blighted flower by Michael Balfe
Performer:  Bruce Ford (Tenor), David Harper (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1835 
'Le ombre' by Edoardo Vera
Performer:  Majella Cullagh (Soprano), David Harper (Piano), Diana Montague (Mezzo soprano),
Mark Stone (Baritone)
'Mescetimi il vin' by Edoardo Vera
Performer:  Barry Banks (Tenor), David Harper (Piano)
L'étoile by Jacques Offenbach
Performer:  Susie Beer (Cello), David Harper (Piano), Elisabeth Vidal (Soprano)
'Cresci arboscel felice' by Luigi Carlini
Performer:  Sine Bundgaard (Soprano), David Harper (Piano), Diana Montague (Mezzo soprano),
Roland Wood (Bass)
Presso qel rio che piange by Julius Benedict
Performer:  David Harper (Piano), Paul Austin Kelly (Tenor)
'Il Passato' by Antonio Giuglini
Performer:  Sine Bundgaard (Soprano), Majella Cullagh (Soprano), David Harper (Piano)
La rose by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer:  David Harper (Piano), Elisabeth Vidal (Soprano)
'La rose' by Giovanni Battista Rubini
Performer:  Barry Banks (Tenor), Bruce Ford (Tenor), David Harper (Piano)
Ora divina by Fabio Campana
Performer:  David Harper (Piano), Paul Austin Kelly (Tenor), Diana Montague (Mezzo soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Italy 
L'addio "Mes adieux à Naples" by Karoline Unger-Sabatier
Performer:  Majella Cullagh (Soprano), David Harper (Piano)
'La Partenza' by Angelo Mariani
Performer:  Bruce Ford (Tenor), David Harper (Piano)

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