Notes and Editorial Reviews
L’assedio di Corinto
Thomas Schippers, cond; Beverly Sills (
); Marilyn Horne (
); Franco Bonisolli (
); Justino Diaz (
); Paolo Washington (
); La Scala O & Ch
OPERA D’ORO 7065 (2 CDs: 142:23
Text and Translation) Live: Milan 4/14/1969
For his first effort for the Paris Opera, Rossini chose to revise his Neapolitan opera
. It premiered in 1826. In the revised opera,
Le siége de Corinthe
, the action was moved back 11 years to provide a parallel with the then-current conflict in Greece. For the Italian version produced two years later, the role of Neocle (an alto in
, but a tenor in Paris) was provided with alternate vocal lines so that it could be sung by either voice. The edition of the opera prepared for these La Scala performances takes this Italian version as its base, using the alto (or mezzo) option for Neocle. However, to beef up the role for Horne, it incorporates a virtuoso aria from
; one of Pamira’s arias suffered a similar replacement. The two replacement arias sound out of place in their new contexts. In addition, the Paris score is subjected to cuts small and large, mostly the latter.
Thus, anyone considering purchasing this recording will primarily be interested in the performances. Beverly Sills made a studio recording of this edition of the opera, revised somewhat, at the time of her Metropolitan Opera debut in the role. By the time of that recording her voice had declined from the strain of taking on roles that were too heavy for her voice. Here she is caught in her prime. This production is the only time Sills and Horne sang together. Horne also sings beautifully. It must have been a real treat to hear them in the theater.
Franco Bonisolli has no problem with the florid music Rossini wrote for him, and this at a time when there were not many tenors specializing in this repertoire. Justino Diaz makes heavy work of his role; he doesn’t have the agility necessary for the music and needs to simplify the coloratura. The other roles are performed adequately or better.
Thomas Schippers supports the singers well. As might be expected, there are occasional times when singers and orchestra get momentarily out of sync. When the chorus is offstage, their words cannot be distinguished. Otherwise, the sound is very good. According to beverlysillsonline.com, all tapes circulating with the date April 14, 1969, which Opera d’Oro gives as the date of this performance, are actually recordings of the April 11 premiere.
Opera d’Oro has previously issued this performance in its budget line. For this issue, we get notes and a libretto with translation. There was at one time a performance of the French version available on Nuova Era, but it has been discontinued. Rossini’s French operas have been relatively neglected by the recording companies. For now, this adulterated version sung in Italian is the only recording available. Enjoy it for the generally superb singing, especially from Sills, Horne, and Bonisolli.
FANFARE: Ron Salemi
Works on This Recording
L'assedio di Corinto by Gioachino Rossini
Milena Pauli (Soprano),
Giovanni Foiani (Bass),
Paolo Washington (Bass),
Justino Diaz (Baritone),
Beverly Sills (Soprano),
Justino Diaz (Bass),
Marilyn Horne (Mezzo Soprano),
Franco Bonisolli (Tenor),
Piero de Palma (Tenor)
Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,
Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
Written: 1826; Italy
Date of Recording: 1969
Venue: Live La Scala Theater, Milan
Featured Sound Samples
Act I: "Cielo! Che diverrò?"
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