Notes and Editorial Reviews
A highly regarded composer in his day and considered the equal of Rossini, Bellini and Donizetti, Saverio Mercadante pioneered the transformation of bel canto opera into real music drama. He wrote the operatic tragedy I Briganti (The Brigands) not only to prove himself to the Parisian public but as a direct challenge to Bellini’s I puritani, premièred the previous year. Mercadante’s individual style of canto fiorito and distinctive theatricality demonstrate that opera need not be a mere succession of virtuoso vocal arias, and it paved the way for Verdi’s later dramas. Prepared from a new critical edition, this production was described as ‘outstanding’ by The New York Times.