Notes and Editorial Reviews
Bruno Rigacci, cond; Eva Czapò (
); Benedetta Pecchioli (
); Marissa Brumby (
Madama La Rose
); Mario Chiappi (
); Gino Orlandi (
); Giovanni Faverio (
); Giuseppe Baratti
); Gian Carlo Ceccarini (
); Svizzera Italiana RTV O & Ch
NUOVA ERA 233008 (2 CDs: 106:27) Live: 1/1977
30:2 I reviewed a DVD performance of
in which I pointed out that I and my partners issued an LP of this opera on VOCE 12. That performance, which featured Angelica Tuccari and Italo Tajo, was reviewed in
16:1 by David Johnson when it was issued on a Memories CD. There is also a recent issue of this opera on a Naxos CD.
As I pointed out in my DVD review, this opera was one of Rossini’s worst failures. It was premiered in 1816 and had only a few performances. It was not performed again until 1960. The principal reason for its failure was that the plot was considered old-fashioned. The libretto by Giuseppe Palomba and Andrea Leone Tottola was based on a play by Carlo Goldoni,
Il Matrimonio per Concorso
. It had been set to music in 1766 by Niccolo Jommelli.
The music is original except for the quintet borrowed from
Il Turco in Itali .
The text is in Toscano, high Italian; the buffo part of Don Pomponio is written in the Neapolitan dialect. Since the opera is rare and the booklet contains a libretto only in Italian, I feel a plot summary is necessary.
The action takes place in Paris at the inn of Filippo. Madama La Rose, Alberto, and Traversen are extolling the joys of travel. Alberto complains that although he has searched for a bride, he has not found one who meets his standards. A newsboy enters selling the
. Don Pomponio enters, followed by his servant Tommassi. A notice in the
is read aloud that states that a retired merchant has arrived with a daughter to marry, and the writer issues a notice of a contest to marry the girl. Alberto finds the notice interesting. Pomponio’s bizarre appearance and mannerisms identify him as the author of the notice. Traversen and Madama La Rose tease Pomponio, and Alberto attempts to stop them but fails, and Pomponio exits angrily.
Filippo is unhappy about the proposed competition. Unknown to Pomponio, his daughter, Lisetta, and Filippo are in love with each other. Anselmo arrives with his daughter, Doralice, and they are shown to their rooms. Lisetta enters and she and Filippo sing of their love. Alberto enters and makes gallant overtures toward Lisetta. Filippo tells Alberto that this is not the girl in question, and claims that Lisetta is his wife. Doralice appears and Filippo tells Alberto that this is the girl he seeks. Alberto has no doubt that she is the girl offered in the advertisement. Doralice is not displeased but tells Alberto that marriage with him is up to her father. Pomponio enters and Alberto, believing him to be Doralice’s father, asks for her hand in marriage. Pomponio asks Alberto’s name, and then refuses the offer of marriage on the basis that the name is too commonplace. Alberto makes up the last name of Filippo and claims to be a relative of the son of Alexander the Great. Pomponio is satisfied and Alberto says that he has already spoken to the girl, who is willing to marry him. Alberto leaves and Lisetta enters. A moment later Filippo enters and hides as he hears Pomponio telling Lisetta that she is to marry a certain Filippo. Filippo steps out of hiding to claim his bride. Pomponio informs him that he is not the Filippo he meant. Alberto returns and Pomponio tells Lisetta that this is her betrothed. Alberto protests that this is not the girl he loves, and furthermore this girl is married to Filippo. The result of this revelation is complete confusion, and all leave angrily.
Doralice returns. She has doubts and pleads that all may end well. She departs and Pomponio appears, followed a moment later by Filippo. Filippo wants to succeed in winning Lisetta. He tells Pomponio that Lisetta is not his wife and that the story was Lisetta’s invention in order to get back at Pomponio for offering her up like real estate. Madama La Rose appears and Filippo tells Pomponio that she is his wife. She goes along with the lie. Filippo then tells Pomponio that a rich Quaker is anxious to wed Lisetta. Pomponio is delighted and Filippo and Madama La Rose depart.
Lisetta returns and Pomponio informs her that Filippo and Madama La Rose have told him that they are married. He then tells her that she is to marry a rich Quaker. Lisetta is furious about being betrayed and does not want to become a “Quakeress,” but Pomponio’s mind is made up. Filippo and his friends, who are disguised as Quakers, enter. Filippo wants to marry Lisetta at once, and has not anticipated any trouble. Lisetta believes that Filippo is married, and she recognizes him through his Quaker disguise. She declares him to be an imposter. Filippo cannot prove his identity, and all of the pseudo-Quakers depart. The act ends with everyone perplexed and furious with everyone else.
In act II, Anselmo and Traversen are making arrangements for Traversen’s marriage to Doralice. Doralice is unhappy. All leave and Alberto enters. He has seen Doralice leave on Traversen’s arm and finally realizes that she is not the girl mentioned in the
. Lisetta and Filippo enter. She finally agrees to listen to Filippo’s explanation, and after he threatens to kill himself, he convinces her of his love. They leave and Filippo returns with a sword. Filippo tells Alberto that he has spoken to Doralice, who said she adores Alberto. Filippo wants a favor from Alberto and promises to help them marry. Filippo wants to delay Pomponio’s departure until his friends have time to disguise themselves again, this time as Turks. Filippo has challenged Pomponio to a duel, and he wants Alberto also to challenge Pomponio. Alberto is willing to help and goes off to find a sword. Pomponio enters with Tommassi, who is carrying a huge sword. Filippo and Alberto pretend to quarrel, and they decide to fight one another—the winner to duel with Pomponio. A hilarious trio ensues, in which Pomponio tries to encourage them since he feels that he would have a tired and perhaps wounded adversary. Filippo and Alberto decide to insult Pomponio. The outcome is that the three become friends and the trio ends with the three men dancing arm in arm.
Lisetta tells Doralice that Filippo has a scheme to confuse Pomponio. The four of them will all disguise themselves as Turks, and at a party that Filippo has arranged for his friends, who will also disguise themselves as Turks; the two couples will elope. Pomponio returns and decides to leave Paris. Lisetta tries to prevent their departure. She pleads, cries, and then faints. Filippo enters and tells Pomponio that a Turkish prince will be at the hotel in the evening, and that if Lisetta married him she would be the toast of high society. He also says that Lisetta should appear in a Turkish costume. Pomponio agrees.
In a gaily decorated room at the inn the characters all appear in Turkish disguises. Pomponio sees two women standing together and correctly identifies them as Lisetta and Doralice. They are accompanied by two disguised men. As Pomponio approaches them one couple darts off to the left, the other to the right. Pomponio is confused and follows neither couple, so the four manage to escape. The two couples return some minutes later, and they are now married—Filippo to Lisetta and Alberto to Doralice. The opera ends with general festivities as the fathers forgive their daughters.
None of the singers here are well known, but all are quite satisfactory. The bass, Mario Chiappi, has a good command of the role and has the ability to sing the difficult coloratura passages well. The tenor, Giuseppe Baratti, also can handle the fast music that Rossini gives to the character Alberto. The baritone, Gian Carlo Ceccarini, is also satisfactory. Eva Czapò, the Lisetta, has bright coloratura soprano, as does Marissa Brumby as Madama La Rose. The mezzo-soprano, Benedetta Pecchioli, is a good Doralice. The star of this performance is the conductor, Bruno Rigacci, who leads a bright and brilliant interpretation of the score.
The booklet contains notes and a libretto in Italian only. The sound for its time is very good. Since none of the competing recordings on CD are as good as this one, this recording is recommended for Rossini lovers.
FANFARE: Bob Rose
Works on This Recording
La gazzetta by Gioachino Rossini
Marissa Brumby (Soprano),
Benedetta Pecchioli (Mezzo Soprano),
Giuseppe Baratti (Tenor),
Eva Czapó (Soprano),
Mario Chiappi (Bass),
Giovanni Faverio (Bass),
Giancarlo Ceccarini (Baritone),
Gino Orlandini (Baritone)
Italian Switzerland Radio/TV Chorus,
Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana
Written: 1816; Italy
Date of Recording: 1977
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