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Bellini: Il Pirata / Capuana, Caballé, Labň, Cappuccilli

Release Date: 10/14/2008 
Label:  Opera D'oro   Catalog #: 7061   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini
Performer:  Flora RafanelliUgo TramaGiuseppe BarattiPiero Cappuccilli,   ... 
Conductor:  Franco Capuana
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Florence Maggio Musicale OrchestraFlorence Maggio Musicale Chorus
Number of Discs: 2 
Length: 2 Hours 18 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

BELLINI Il pirata Franco Capuana, cond; Montserrat Caballé ( Imogene ); Flaviano Labò ( Gualtiero ); Piero Cappuccilli ( Ernesto ); Ugo Trama ( Hermit ); Flora Rafanelli ( Adele ); Giuseppe Baratti ( Itulbo ); Florence Maggio Musicale O & Ch Read more OPERA D’ORO 7061 (2 CDs: 137:47 Text and Translation) Live: 1967

Oh, well, another reissue. This performance was released on Melodram and was extensively reviewed by Robert Levine in Fanfare 11:6. It was released again on a Memories CD and also reviewed by Levine in Fanfare 15:1. Its first recording release was on an HRE LP. Three other recordings of this opera starring Caballé were on LP, all with her husband, Bernabe Marti. The earliest was on an MRF LP from April 25, 1966; the second also on MRF from March 8, 1968; and a commercial recording was issued on Angel records. On the FWR label, an LP from 1959 starring Maria Callas was the earliest recording of this opera. The most recent recording, featuring Lucia Aliberti and Stuart Neill, was reviewed, again by Levine, in Fanfare 18:6. This same performance of Il pirata was also reviewed in Opera by William Weaver, who felt that Capuana’s conducting marred the production. I am somewhat confused, because in Levine’s review in Vol. 11 the conductor is listed as Erasmo Ghiglia, while Franco Capuana is named as the conductor in all other issues. Levine in his review is not fond of Capuana either.

I frankly agree with Levine. He was enthusiastic about Caballé, and she was in sensational voice on this occasion. This performance was actually Caballé’s debut in a principal role in Italy. Flaviano Labò sings well, but he does not have the top notes that the role requires. As Levine said, “[H]is last-act aria is sung down a half-tone.” Neither Levine nor Weaver is fond of Cappuccilli in this role. He simply sings loudly, and that is not the Bellini style.

Il pirata was Bellini’s third opera, and he composed it for great singers of the bel canto style: Méric-Lalande, Rubini, and Tamburini. Only Caballé is suitable for her role; Labò and Cappuccilli are not.

The booklet contains notes by—guess who?—Robert Levine. The sound is fine. In addition, a libretto with English translation is provided. If one does not have the previous issues of this performance, go buy it, for Caballé on this recording is better than she is on her other recordings.

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Works on This Recording

Il pirata by Vincenzo Bellini
Performer:  Flora Rafanelli (Soprano), Ugo Trama (Bass), Giuseppe Baratti (Tenor),
Piero Cappuccilli (Baritone), Montserrat Caballé (Soprano), Flaviano Labň (Tenor)
Conductor:  Franco Capuana
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Florence Maggio Musicale Orchestra,  Florence Maggio Musicale Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1827; Italy 
Date of Recording: Live 1967 

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