Notes and Editorial Reviews
This is a likable, polished performance of
Il turco in Italia,
full of energy and good spirits. There is a sense of ensemble among the cast members?singers that range from good to very good, with an outstanding Fiorilla, Greek soprano Myrtò Papatanasiu. She has a beautiful, warm voice with a bright, clear top, and dashes off fioritura with easy abandon. She downplays the spitfire in Fiorilla (such as Callas?s famous portrayal), but makes the character a happy mix of flighty and headstrong. Also ingratiating in his performance is Natale de Carolis as the Turk, Selim. Among the many highlights of this recording are the scenes between Selim and Fiorilla. The Teatro Marrucino has assembled a relatively young, fresh-voiced cast with bel-canto experience led by Marzio Conti, who brings out all the fizz in this often under-appreciated Rossini score. Fortunately,
stature among Rossini?s comedy operas has significantly improved over the past few decades. It is a wonderful score, full of happy melodies, featuring more writing for ensembles than many of his other works.
The opera is performed nearly complete, with only a few trims in the recitatives and a short scene in act II between the Poet and Geronio. One nice bonus is having the first act complete on one disc?well filled at 80:57. The sound is bright, clear, well balanced, and offers a pleasing ambience. Naxos tells us that it was recorded at the Teatro Marrucino in October 2003; however, there is no audible indication that an audience was present. The only non-musical sounds are an occasional muted footstep.
Naxos does not include a libretto (one is available on line), but the booklet provides a detailed plot synopsis tied to track numbers, cast biographies, and photos. At Naxos?s affordable price, it is a recording well worth investigating. If you?d prefer a studio-based
with well-known singers and a libretto, I?d recommend the Philips featuring Alaimo, Jo, Corbelli, and Giménez under Marriner, or the Decca with Bartoli, Corbelli, Pertusi, and Vargas under Chailly. Chailly made an earlier recording of the opera, one of the first to utilize the score after the Fondazione Rossini, assisted by Casa Ricordi, cleansed it of the numerous corruptions that had occurred over the years. It stars Caballé, who, in spite of some impressive singing, never quite seems to capture Fiorilla?s personality, and Ramey as one of the most serious of Selim?s. The Callas/Gedda/Gavazzeni recording on EMI has held up well over the years. The mono sound is pleasing, but the opera is substantially abridged. A recording starring Maria Chiarra on Opera d?Oro is an engaging performance, but the monophonic sound is much inferior to the EMI/Callas studio-based endeavor. This new Naxos
Il turco in Italia
is a welcome addition to my Rossini collection.
FANFARE: David L. Kirk