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  1. #16
    Giacomo Orefice was a very modest Italian composer. He got some fame in her native Vicenza, and was able to put in stage about ten operas, with no real success.

    However, in 1901, he decided to write the opera Chopin, with a libretto by the Florentine Angiolo Orvieto. It seems Orvieto took some considerable liberties while writing the 'biopic'', but the brilliant idea was Orefice's. He just used Chopin's own music for the melodies and arias of the opera, that was premiered in Milan, with the usual failure.

    But we can listen to Pia Tassinari and Ferruccio Tagliavini, in Chopin:

  2. #17
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    A very fine performance (Tezier) of one of greatest baritone scenes in repertoire:

  3. #18
    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aramis View Post
    A very fine performance (Tezier) of one of greatest baritone scenes in repertoire

    Thank you Aramis, I adore this
    "The world calls them its singers and poets and artists and storytellers; but they are just people who have never forgotten the way to fairyland."
    Lucy Maud Montgomery

  4. #19
    Edoardo Mascheroni was a famed conductor (he premiered Falstaff or La Wally), that wrote also a handful of operas, with little success.

    One of those operas was Lorenza, with a libretto by Luigi Illica, and we can listen to Francisco Viñas singing the beautiful aria "Ecco mia giovinezza":

  5. #20
    Like so many other composers at the times, Bellini wrote several songs in the "romanze da camera" style. Within the song cycle 'Sei Ariette', published by Ricordi, we can find Per pietà, bell'idol mio, completed in 1829. It's based on a poem by Metastasio, written in C minor and marked as 'allegro agitato'. Part of the material was later used in the opera Beatrice di Tenda.

    Per pietà, bell'idol mio,
    non mi dir ch'io sono ingrato;
    infelice e sventurato
    abbastanza il Ciel mi fa.

    Se fedele a te son io,
    se mi struggo ai tuoi bei lumi,
    sallo amor, lo sanno i Numi
    il mio core, il tuo lo sa.

    We can compare the same poem, with the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart:

  6. #21
    La Straniera is not a frequently staged opera. However, it was very popular in Italy after its premiere in 1829 (with Henriette Méric-Lalande, Caroline Ungher, Domenico Reina and Antonio Tamburini), for more than half a century. At the end of the 19th century, it just dissapears and, except for a couple of performances at La Scala to celebrate the centenary with great singers like Gina Cigna, Mario Basiola and Francesco Merli, it was not revived.

    Fortunately, Montserrat Caballé and Renata Scotto sung the opera in the 1960s, saving it for oblivion.

    Henriette Méric-Lalande

    The plot, quite complicated, present us a woman, Alaide, living in Brittany hiding her face (she is 'la Straniera', the Stranger). Arturo, engaged to Isoletta, is obsessed with the stranger, in spite of the warnings from his friend, Valdeburgo.

    Valdeburgo, however, is no other than Alaide's brother. Alaide herself is the second wife of the bigamous King of France, and is waiting the death of the first spouse of the French sovereign.

    Arturo thinks he has killed Valdeburgo in a fight, and when he reappears, he promises to finally marry Isoletta. When news of the death of the Queen of France arrives, the true identity of Alaide is unclosed and Arturo, in desperation, stabs himself.

    Like always in Italian melodramma, all those vicissitudes are just the excuse to get to play the character's emotions, shaped and fostered by a wonderful music.

    In La Straniera, Bellini offers us a restrained musical portrait, elegant, delicate. The long bellinian melodies are here withdrawed, almost timid, and ensemble numbers acquire an unusually strong presence.

    This is a very good recording:

    Though Arturo (Bellini wanted Rubini to sing the role, what he did in 1830) is the most expansive role, is Alaide who gets the most beautiful music. Let's hear the aria "Sono all'ara... Ciel Pietoso... Or sei pago, o ciel tremendo", at the end of the opera, in the voice of four great singers:

  7. #22
    A romanza from Spanish zarzuela.

    El Huesped del Sevillano, by Jacinto Guerrero, premiered in Madrid in 1926. The romanza is "Mujer de los ojos negros", sung by one fantastic tenor from the same period of the premiere, Miguel Fleta:

  8. #23
    Giovanni Verga's tale Cavalleria Rusticana was adapted thrice to the operatic scene. The first one was Mala pasqua!, by Stanislao Gastaldon (the composer of the famous "Musica proibita"), and then came Mascagni's.

    The last one, also entitled Cavalleria Rusticana, was composed by Domenico Monleone. Like Mascagni, Monleone tried his luck in the famous Sonzogno's competition. However, he was rejected. A Dutch impresario rescued his piece that was staged in Amsterdam alongside Mascagni's. As a double bill, both Cavallerias were performed together a few times, the last one in Turin.

    After this, Sonzogno's publishing house denounced Monleone in court, arguing he did not have the rights to the novel. They were technically correct, tough Varga himself declared he was open to give Monleone a break. In this way the second Cavalleria dissapeared from Italian theaters.

    Recently, there have been some attempts to introduce again Monleone's opera, like in Montepellier, the year 2001, with the following cast:

    Santuzza: Denia Mazzola-Gavazzeni
    Turiddu: Janez Lotric
    Alfio: Jean-Philippe Lafont
    Lola: Nana Kavtarashvili
    Nuzia/Lucia: Elizabeth Laurence
    Brasi: Giancarlo Tosi

    but, at least for the moment, with a modest success.

    Let's listen to the duet between Turiddu and Santuzza:

  9. #24
    Amor, celeste ebbrezza (Love, heavenly inebration) is a stunningly beautiful aria from Catalani's opera "Loreley".

    We can hear three renditions of this aria:

    Magda Olivero

    Mirella Freni

    Irina Lungu

  10. #25
    Johann Simon Mayr spent the first years of his career in Bavaria, until he arrived to Bergamo at the beginning of the 19th century, where he was the cathedral's "maestro di cappella". He was teacher of Donizetti, among others, and wrote more than seventy operas.

    This is my favourite one, Ginevra di Scozia:

  11. #26
    This nice aria: "La dolce madre che mi benedisse" belongs to the opera Giuliano, by Riccardo Zandonai, premiered in 1928 and based on Saint Julien l'Hospitalier's legend.

    There is no recording of this opera. Apart from this aria, sung by Francesco Merli, there is another one sung by Rosetta Pampanini and a duet between both singers.

  12. #27

    On the bright spot, it's the right vocality, and the high C is very good. Heroic aspect well served.

    On the dark spot, timbre is not pleasant, when singing the "gemito" and "pianto" lines we are missing una voce cupa e terribile, and the legato could be improved on, especially in the cavatina.

  13. #28
    Two visions of Tancredi's cavatina. Horne's vocal exuberance versus Valentini Terrani's instrospection.

    Horne's first the warrior and then the lover, versus Valentini Terrani's first the lover, and then the warrior.

    Both are magnificent, and both are correct. Love between Tancredi and Amenaide is idealized, but so is the warrior in him.

  14. #29
    In the beggining of the 20th century, the political situation in Russia was very difficult, with the defeat to Japan, the ensuing Revolution and finally the Great War.

    But, in the small world of Opera, things were much better. There were two magnificent theaters (Mariinsky in San Petersburg and Bolshoi in Moscow), and wonderful singers. In Russia, the influence of the great Italian baritone Mattia Battistini and also Italian tenor Angelo Masini, combined with the local school, gave birth to a lineage of fantastic singers that will extend up to well into the 1950s.

    Coming back to the first years of the 20th century, we can hear some examples like:

    Ivan Ershov

    Nikolai Figner

    Vasili Damaev

    Andrei Labinsky

    But, of course, the most important tenors of the first decades of the century were Dmitri Smirnov:

    and Leonid Sobinov:

  15. #30

    This is a Turandot in concert, by the Chorus and Orchestra of the Romanian Radio-Television in Bucharest, in the year of 1970.

    It's surprisingly good, with solid performances from Maria Slătinaru as Turandot, and Teodora Lucaciu as Liu, but the real gem is the Calaf of Ludovic Spiess. This is an extract of the performance with the "Nessun Dorma":

    And also his "Celeste Aida":

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