Notes and Editorial Reviews
Barenboim makes the music dance along with the utmost sparkle, and he has a splendid cast - Augér is silver-voiced and Julia Varády gives a stunning performance. This is an issue not to be missed.
When, a few years ago, GRAMOPHONE reviewers were invited to nominate a work they would like to see reissued on CD, my response was this recording of II matrimonio segreto, which had been one of my annual Critics' Choices on its first appearance. A re-hearing confirms my enthusiasm for this infectiously happy piece: if I don't (like Leopold II, who at the work's first performance ordered an encore of the entire opera) immediately replay it yet again, it's only because time presses at the moment, but I shall
reserve that pleasure for later.
The music may not have the more adventurous harmony or contrapuntal dexterity of Mozart (whose opening of the Zauberflote Overture only four months earlier Cimarosa must almost certainly have cribbed), but it abounds in delightfully fresh melodic invention and rhythmic vitality—its bubbling patter-work too is worthy of Rossini at his best; together with its construction, with as many ensembles as solo arias and with skilfully planned finales, and its scoring, primarily aimed at supporting the singers but giving the orchestra some independent interest (there are occasional interventions by a solo clarinet, for example), it marks not merely an expert craftsman but a composer of distinction whose wide popularity at the time is understandable. (Only one other of his more than 50 operas has been recorded—surely an opening here for an enterprising company?)
Barenboim makes the music dance along with the utmost sparkle, and he is fortunate in having a splendid cast, in whom it is almost invidious to praise Ryland Davies (with free tone-production, fine breath-control and native-sounding Italian) and the silver-voiced Arleen Auger as the young couple at the centre of the plot. But Alberto Rinaldi also brings a real sense of character to the blustering Count Robinson (was this personage intended as a dig at the British?), who sets his heart on the clandestinely married Caroline and ends up, most improbably, marrying her shrewish elder sister whom he had previously declared he would rather die than wed; and Julia Varady gives a stunning performance of that character's big florid aria in the last act. Take my word for it: this is an issue not to be missed; and its medium price should make it even more attractive. I am only sorry that room was not found in this CD format for SS's introductory essay which was included with the original LP release.
-- Gramophone [8/1993]
Works on This Recording
Il matrimonio segreto by Domenico Cimarosa
Alberto Rinaldi (Baritone),
Ryland Davies (Tenor),
Arleen Augér (Soprano),
Julia Varády (Soprano),
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (Baritone),
Julia Hamari (Alto)
English Chamber Orchestra
Written: 1792; Vienna, Austria
Date of Recording: 1975-1976
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