Notes and Editorial Reviews
'Musically muscular and forceful' - Rupert Christiansen, The Daily Telegraph, reviewing Opera Rara's concert performance In a new departure for Opera Rara, the company joined forces with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenmnet to create this studio recording of another Donizetti rarity, Imelda de'Lambertazzi, featuring Nicole Cabel (Cardiff Singer of the World, 2005) in the title role. The recording sessions were followed by a concert performance, which had the London critics amazed. For the Daily Telegraph's Rupert Christiansen, the result was 'musical muscular and forceful', while conductor Mark Elder 'fire [the cast] by his blazing energy and cracking pace.' Imelda immediately preceded Donizetti's first masterpiece, Anna Bolena, and was written for the Teatro San Carlo in Naples in the same year, 1830. But its fate was very different. Scholars now take the view that the composer's very concision in his setting of the Romeo and Juliet-like plot - in which Imelda loves Bonfaico, the son of the faction hated by her father Orlando and brother Lamberto - wrong-footed the Neapolitan public. As The Guardian's Tim Ashley put it: 'Donizetti drags us through this tale at breakneck speed, dismantling operatic convention as he goes.' Now, with Opera Rara's studio recording of this innovative work, a wider audience can experience one of Donizetti's most thrilling and dynamic scores. The 2 CD set comes with a lavishly illustrated book including a complete libretto with an English translation. Jeremy Commons gives a detailed account of the story behind the opera and its composition.