Rossini Gala / Norrington, Horne, Von Stade, Voigt, Et Al

Release Date: 2/10/2010
Label: Erato
Catalog Number: VIR 62078
Conductor: Roger Norrington
Number of Discs: 2

Physical Format:

CD
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Notes and Editorial Reviews
Here is a case, I discover, of distance lending enchantment to the view. This Rossinifest, staged 10 years ago in New York's Lincoln Center on the day of the bicentenary of Rossini's birth, first appeared on VHS (6/93), an otiose medium for such an event, before limping onto CD (cut back to 80 minutes) 18 months later (12/94), a marketing decision which managed to make it seem stale and out-of-date.

Ten years on, it all seems rather fine. In the first place, the programming is exemplary. As an introduction to Rossini, erudite but approachable, it could hardly be better done. Secondly, the line-up of singers, several of whom have since retired, renders the set important as a memento of that all-important generation of artists who, with a brilliant team of editors and producers, helped bring Rossini, the erstwhile 'Napoleon of music', back from the brink of near-obscurity. Thirdly, the set wears well, thanks in large measure to Sir Roger Norrington's spruce, stylish, forensically brilliant yet refreshingly unaffected conducting.

Rehearing the gala, I was struck afresh by the astonishing loveliness of the Zelmira duet for soprano (Deborah Voigt) and mezzo (Kathleen Kuhlmann) with cor anglais and harp accompaniments, a treasurable rarity if ever there was one, and by the extraordinarily telling juxtaposition, for those of us interested in Rossini's own particular psychopathology, of Figaro's 'Largo al factotum' (Thomas Hampson's singing a tour de force) and the 'Agnus Dei' from the Petite messe solennelle where the awed choral interjections take on a sublimity of utterance which put me in mind of Sir Roger's fabled early recordings with the Schlitz Choir.

-- Richard Osborne, Gramophone [8/2002]
Works on This Recording
1. La gazza ladra: Overture by Gioachino Rossini
Conductor: Roger Norrington
Orchestra/Ensemble: Orchestra of St. Luke's
Period: Romantic
Written: 1817 ; Italy
2. La donna del lago: Mura felici by Gioachino Rossini
Performer: Marilyn Horne (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor: Roger Norrington
Orchestra/Ensemble: Orchestra of St. Luke's
Period: Romantic
Written: 1819 ; Italy
3. Stabat mater: Inflammatus et accensus by Gioachino Rossini
Performer: Deborah Voigt (Soprano)
Conductor: Roger Norrington
Period: Romantic
Written: 1832/1842 ; Italy
4. La Cenerentola: Nacqui all' affano...Non più mesta by Gioachino Rossini
Performer: Frederica Von Stade (Mezzo Soprano), Maria Fortuna (Soprano), Henry Runey (Bass Baritone), Jan Opalach (Bass Baritone), Mimi Lerner (Mezzo Soprano), Craig Estep (Tenor)
Conductor: Roger Norrington
Period: Romantic
Written: 1817 ; Italy
5. Zelmira: Terra amica, ove respira by Gioachino Rossini
Performer: Rockwell Blake (Tenor)
Conductor: Roger Norrington
Period: Romantic
Written: 1822 ; Italy
6. Bianca e Falliero: Cielo, il mio labbro inspira by Gioachino Rossini
Performer: Chris Merritt (Tenor), Maria Fortuna (Soprano), Marilyn Horne (Mezzo Soprano), Henry Runey (Bass Baritone)
Conductor: Roger Norrington
Period: Romantic
Written: 1819 ; Italy
7. Guillaume Tell: Asil héréditaire by Gioachino Rossini
Performer: Chris Merritt (Tenor)
Conductor: Roger Norrington
Period: Romantic
Written: 1829 ; Italy
8. Il barbiere di Siviglia: Largo al factotum by Gioachino Rossini
Performer: Thomas Hampson (Baritone)
Conductor: Roger Norrington
Orchestra/Ensemble: Orchestra of St. Luke's
Period: Romantic
Written: 1816 ; Italy
9. Petite Messe solennelle: Agnus Dei by Gioachino Rossini
Performer: Kathleen Kuhlmann (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor: Roger Norrington
Period: Romantic
Written: 1863 ; Italy
10. L'italiana in Algeri: Pappataci! che mai sento by Gioachino Rossini
Performer: Thomas Hampson (Baritone), Rockwell Blake (Tenor), Jan Opalach (Bass Baritone)
Conductor: Roger Norrington
Orchestra/Ensemble: Orchestra of St. Luke's
Period: Romantic
Written: 1813 ; Italy
11. Zelmira: Perche mi guardi, e piangi by Gioachino Rossini
Performer: Melanie Feld (English Horn), Kathleen Kuhlmann (Mezzo Soprano), Deborah Voigt (Soprano), Deborah Hoffman (Harp )
Conductor: Roger Norrington
Orchestra/Ensemble: Orchestra of St. Luke's
Period: Romantic
Written: 1822 ; Italy
12. L'assedio di Corinto: La gloria e la fortuna by Gioachino Rossini
Performer: Samuel Ramey (Bass)
Conductor: Roger Norrington
Period: Romantic
Written: 1826 ; Italy
13. Il viaggio a Reims: A tal colpo inaspettato by Gioachino Rossini
Performer: Craig Estep (Tenor), Rockwell Blake (Tenor), Kathleen Kuhlmann (Mezzo Soprano), Frederica Von Stade (Mezzo Soprano), Chris Merritt (Tenor), Samuel Ramey (Bass), Deborah Voigt (Soprano), Maria Fortuna (Soprano), Thomas Hampson (Baritone), Marilyn Horne (Mezzo Soprano), Jan Opalach (Bass Baritone), Mimi Lerner (Mezzo Soprano), Henry Runey (Bass Baritone), George Hogan (Bass)
Conductor: Roger Norrington
Period: Romantic
Written: 1825 ; Italy
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