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ClassicsOnline Home » HUNDRED YEARS OF ITALIAN OPERA (A) - 1800-1810
A Hoard of Rare Gems
It takes to be an experienced opera-scholar to be acquainted with all 27 of the operas in this survey of the period between the heydays of Mozart and Rossini. Many may not even know there was anything significant happening between these two Herculean Pillars. To the average opera-lover only 3 or 4 composers (Cimarosa, Mayr, Paisiello and perhaps Paer)out of the 13 represented here are likely to be familiar. Nor are the examples stinted: most are of a decent length, some up to nearly 20 minutes. Only 7 are arias; the rest are of ensembles and scenes - often with Neopolitan characteristics; all are melodious and primarily voice-centered (many parts were originally for castrati), with the excellent Philharmonia only called upon for straight-forward accompaniments; all are directed with stylish verve and enthusiasm by David Parry.
With voices paramount, the inclusion in the team of such names as Della Jones, Yvonne Kelly, Diana Montague, Eiddwen Harrhy, Sandra Dugdale, et. al., with a comparable roll-call of men, guarantees an impeccable and disciplined ensemble (does one detect a whiff of the fresh sea-air of Wexford?).
It is perhaps invidious to attempt to pick out any track or singer for special mention from such a cornucopia of delights - how one wishes for some of the complete operas from which these gems have been taken to become available! In the face of this album, how can Fernando Paer - to give but one example - be so generally neglected?
The whole album is such an exciting treasure, with so many glorious, unmissable moments that it is impossible to award it less than 5 stars, despite one major drawback: the lack of any notes or pdf booklet to fill in some backgrounds in these unfamiliar fields, to point up the plots for non-Italian speakers. Never mind, turn down the house-lights, sit back and enjoy - Ring Up the Curtain on three hours of excitement and delight!more....
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HUNDRED YEARS OF ITALIAN OPERA (A) - 1800-1810