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Rossini: Guillaume Tell / Foster-Williams, Spyres, Howarth, Fogliani, Virtuosi Brunensis

Release Date: 03/10/2015 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8660363  
Composer:  Gioachino Rossini
Performer:  Raffaele FacciolaMichael SpyresTara StaffordAndrew Foster-Williams,   ... 
Conductor:  Antonino Fogliani
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Virtuosi BrunensisPoznan Camerata Bach Choir
Number of Discs: 4 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This recording captures what must have been a memorable performance at the Rossini in Wildbad Festival. Its chief virtue, in fact, is its live-ness. That brings disadvantages in the often intrusive stage noise, audience applause and the noticeable tiring of some of the singers, most notably Judith Howarth’s Mathilde. It also brings gains. Chief among those is the energetic conducting of Antonio Fogliani who manages the whole thing with great skill and enervated pacing, clearly feeding off the energy of a live audience. Famously, Rossini’s drama is often far from riveting in Tell, most damagingly in the first act, but Fogliani keeps things going briskly enough, and the orchestra follows him admirably. There are inaccuracies and fluffs, but Read more the gains are notable enough for these not to matter although they will also probably rule this set out for any newcomers to the opera; that and the fact that there is no libretto, only the French text provided online.

Andrew Foster-Williams is a very good Tell. He passes the test of Sois immobile very capably and he grounds the ensembles of the first and second acts very strongly indeed. Michael Spyres is perfectly fine as Arnold, and manages the frequent leaps above the stave ably but, while I found him solid, he was never exciting, and nowhere near the levels of exhilaration reached by John Osborne or, most thrillingly of all, Pavarotti. Judith Howarth’s Mathilde begins well with a rich, creamy account of Sombre forêt and her duets with Arnold in Act 2 and the first scene of Act 3 find them both on their best form, but she tires in the third act and doesn’t sound good at all in the fourth. Tara Stafford is winningly boy-like as Jemmy, however, and Alessandra Volpe delivers the goods capably enough in her brief appearances as Tell’s wife.

Even better, though, are the chorus, who have a lot to do and make the most of it. The big crowd scenes in the first and third act draw you in willingly, and the radiant finale sounds great. They are best of all, though, in the great summoning of the cantons at the end of Act 2, and this sequence is probably the highlight of the whole set, with Fogliani’s conducting at its most incisive and the three male principals striking sparks off each other and the chorus in turn.

– MusicWeb International (Simon Thompson) Read less

Works on This Recording

Guillaume Tell by Gioachino Rossini
Performer:  Raffaele Facciola (Bass), Michael Spyres (Tenor), Tara Stafford (Soprano),
Andrew Foster-Williams (Bass Baritone), Nahuel Di Pierro (Bass), Giulio Pelligra (Tenor),
Artavazd Sargsyan (Tenor), Judith Howarth (Soprano)
Conductor:  Antonino Fogliani
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Virtuosi Brunensis,  Poznan Camerata Bach Choir
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1829; Italy 

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