PACINI L’ultimo giorno di Pompei • Giuliano Carella, cond; Iano Tamar (Ottavia); Sonia Lee (Menenio); Raul Gimenez (Appio Diomede); Nicolas Rivenq (Sallustio); Gregory Bonfatti (Publio); Riccardo Novaro (Gran Sacerdote); Svetlana SidorovaRead more (Clodio); Emil Alekperov (Fausto); Bratislava Chamber Ch; Teatro Bellini di Catania O • DYNAMIC CDS 729/1-2 (2 CDs: 152:21 Text and Translation) Live: Martina Franca 8/2-4/1996
Giovanni Pacini is one of the early- and mid-19th century composers (alongside Mercadante and Mayr) customarily relegated to the history books, despite continuing efforts on the part of such enterprising festivals as those in Wexford or Martina Franca, not to mention the continuing explorations carried out by Opera Rara. As David Johnson explained in his review in September 1997, Pacini’s opera predates the once famous novel by Edward Bulwer-Lytton and was in fact suggested by the set designer who clearly reveled in the challenge provided by the eruption of Vesuvius that brings down the curtain. L’ultimo giorno di Pompei dates from 1825, thus essentially when Rossini’s career was over, though Rossinian models prevail in this work written for Naples. To Pacini’s credit, he crafts eloquent arias, stirring cabalettas, interesting ensembles, is not afraid to break occasionally with convention, and he is well served here by an excellent cast. Iano Tamar had already established her name a few years earlier when she stepped in at the last minute to save the Rossini Festival production of Semiramide, and her smoky soprano never flinches at the equally arduous task set by Pacini. Raul Gimenez is excellent in the high-lying role of Appio, the villain, vigorously churning out the high notes. Nicolas Rivenq has no aria, unusual for a role written for the famous Luigi Lablache, but that did not stop the composer from making use of a florid style. The stage noises, presumably sets rolling on and off, are distracting, but not sufficiently to discourage our listening as the drama unfolds. Giuliano Carella inspires the Catania orchestra and Slovak chorus to give of their best. An amazing find that deserves more than a single listening. The only feature that detracts is the absence of a libretto, though a plot summary is included.
L'ultimo giorno di Pompeiby Giovanni Pacini Performer:
Iano Tamar (Soprano),
Nicolas Rivenq (Baritone),
Raúl Giménez (Tenor),
Sonia Lee (Mezzo Soprano),
Gregory Bonfatti (Tenor)
Catania Teatro Massimo Bellini Opera Orchestra,
Bratislava Chamber Chorus
Period: Romantic Written: 1825; Italy Date of Recording: 8/1996 Venue: Live Palazzo Ducale, Martina Franca, Ital Language: Italian
Average Customer Review: ( 1 Customer Review )
Excellent recording of a forgotten operaOctober 23, 2012By Boyd Cathey (Wendell, NC)See All My Reviews"This is a re-issue of a recording originally released by Dynamic back more than a decade ago, and it is one of their most successful. Pacini was during the period 1820-1860 considered one of Italy's finest operatic composers. He competed, first, with Rossini, then Donizetti and Bellini and Mercadante, and finally with Verdi. His more masterpiece SAFFO is occasionally revived (most recently for Montserrat Caballe and Leyla Gencer). L'ULTIMO GIORNO DI POMPEI is from his earlier period, occasionally sounding like Rossini or Donizetti, but with a sweetness and masterful use of the cabaletta, for which Pacini was famous. The singing in this festival production is beyond reproach, with Raul Gimenez taking top honors, followed by Iano Tamar. In every way this is a delightful discovery, well worth investigating. Thanks to Opera Rara we know some of Pacini's later works; this recording provides entry into his earlier ones."Report Abuse
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