Review By Alfred Caron,Opéra (France),March 2012
Review By Charles H Parsons,American Record Guide,November 2011
This is the opera’s “world premiere public performance and recording”.
This Convitato…is unique.
To read the complete review, please visit American Record Guide online.
Review By James A. Altena ,Fanfare,September 2011
If you rubbed your eyes and did a double-take when looking at the list of dramatis personae in the preceding header, be assured that you read it aright. Yes, Il convitato di pietra (The Stone Guest) by Giovanni Pacini (1796–1867)—occasionally also known by the title Don Giovanni Tenorio—is another opera on the same subject as Mozart’s Don Giovanni, and much of the plot is familiar too, but there the similarities mostly end. Instead of a dramma giacoso, Pacini’s work is subtited a farsa o operetta, and was written in 1832 not for public performance but as a private entertainment for family members and intimates who assumed all the roles themselves. As the composer later recounted in his memoirs of 1865, Le mie memorie artistiche, after the success of
Pacini never published this family entertainment; the manuscript now resides, along with many others of the composer, in the Biblioteca Communale Carlo Magnani in Pescia, to which they were donated by the composer’s great-granddaughter, Giulia Fantozzi. The present performing edition was reconstructed from both the original musical manuscript and several surviving singers’ parts. In addition to the task of reconciling variants between these, two other difficulties impeded the reconstruction. First, Pacini’s manuscripts are notoriously difficult to read. Second, only act I of the libretto survives, requiring the spoken dialogue for act II to be realized from parallel passages of da Ponte’s libretto for Mozart. (No librettist is identified here.) The present set presents the world premiere public performance as well as the first recording of the work.
While the action parallels that of Mozart’s masterpiece, there are several differences. Don Giovanni is a high-lying tenor role, and Donn’ Anna a contralto, while the other parts are cast for more or less the same voice registers as with Mozart. Leporello here is renamed Ficcanaso; the character of Donna Elvira is omitted, though aspects of her persona are subsumed into Zerlina, who is the prima donna here. (Most notably, in act II the Don attempts to seduce Zerlina instead of Donna Elvira’s maidservant, and Ficcanaso has no one he needs to lead away while disguised as his master.) The characters of Masetto, Duca Ottavio, and Donn’ Anna are of secondary importance and retire from the action early in act II (there is no concluding grand ensemble), which also allows the same singer to amore....
Review By Marco Leo,Musica,June 2011
I1 titolo non in ganna: si tratta proprio della versione paciniana del Don Giovanni. Un Don Giovanni format mignon: in primo luogo, la durata di tutta l’opera (che i in reald una farsa, che alterna dialoghi parlati e numeri musicali) non supera quella di un atto del capolavoro di Mozart; in secondo luogo, sono ridotti di numero i personaggi in scena e le vicende rappresentate, che pur seguono da vicino il modello mozartiano; idne, la partitura prevede un’orchestra da camera e un coro a ranghi decisarnente ridotti. La riscoperta di questo titolo si deve a Jeremy Commons, a1 direttore Daniele Ferrari, e a1 festival Rossini in Wildbad, dove èstato realizzato questo live in occasione della prima rappresentazione mondiale pubblica dell’opera, nel lu&o
Se si commettesse l’errore di dare un giudizio al Convitato di pietra paragonandolo al Don Giovanni di Mozart, e considerando i due titoli come opere da mettersi su uno stesso piano, non ci sarebbe partita. Ma sarebbe amunto un errore: perchi Pacini non intendeva aflatto mettersi in concorrenza con Mozart, ni diede mai un seguito pubblico a questa sua farsa nata come divertissement di farniglia. I1 libretto, di Gaetano Barbieri, contiene molti versi dapontiani, con alcuni prestiti dagli altri libretti che erano stati scritti sulla vicenda di Don Giovanni tra Sette e Ottocento. e la aarti- , L tura incastona nella cornice della vicenda alcune arie che Pacini aveva scritto in precedenza, ma che ben si adattano al nuovo contesto: tra queste, w Luna, conforto a1 cor de’ naviganti P, la romanza che il protagonista canta all’inizio del secondo atto (nella funzione, pressappoco, di «Deh vieni alla finestra »), e che rivela in Leonardo Cortellazzi un tenore di grazia che unisce alla bella voce il possesso di una solida tecnica che gli permette di pennellare a mezza voce fino a raggiungere il sussurro. Don Giovanni in Pacini I. infatti un tenore, come il Duca Ottavio (Giorgio Trucco); la parte di quest’ultimo i per6 limitata a numeri d’assieme e ~ertichini. Per i ruoli femminili sono state scelte due interpreti non italiane che nei dialoghi parlati tradiscono le lor0 origini: il mezzosoprano Geraldine Chauvet interpreta Donn’Anna. arricchendo di ~iacevoli variazioni il da capo della propria cabaletta; il soprano Zinovia-Maria Zafeiriadou èZerlina. che ha un peso decisamente maggiore di quello cui sono abituati gli ascoltatori di Mozart. Pacini, infatti, elimina la figura di Donna Elvira, e concentra-in Zerlina alcune delle prerogative del personaggio scomparso, prima fia tutte quella di rendersi ascoltatrice dmore....
Review By Göran Forsling,MusicWeb International,May 2011
Giovanni Pacini was born in Catania in 1796, the year before Gaetano Donizetti, whom he survived by almost twenty years. He was a prolific composer, and also a precocious one. His first opera was produced in 1813, the same year that Rossini had his breakthrough with Tancredi and L’Italiana in Algeri. He had a long career: his last opera was premiered in 1867, the year of Verdi’s Don Carlos. Stylistically a revolution took place during those fifty-four years.
Review By Derek Greten-Harrison,Opera News,May 2011
Although his name is no longer familiar to many music-lovers, Giovanni Pacini (1796–1867) enjoyed a prolific career as an opera composer during much of the nineteenth century, despite competition from his contemporaries Rossini and Verdi. In 1832, he composed Il Convitato di Pietra (The Stone Guest), an operetta based on the plot of Mozart’s Don Giovanni, with the idea that his own family would perform it—a remarkable concept, considering that the characters are required to sing music of considerable technical difficulty. The work was not professionally performed until July 2008, when the Rossini in Wildbad Festival mounted the reconstructed version featured here. Naxos’s recording, captured during dress rehearsals and in performance at the
Most satisfying is soprano Zinovia-Maria Zafeiriadou, happily unfazed by Zerlina’s high tessitura. She is particularly impressive in her Act II solos and the lyrical quintet, in which she beautifully succeeds in finessing two strings of consecutively repeated high Cs. Although she briefly falls short in agility in the Act I duet with Giovanni—her passagework there is inexact—overall Zafeiriadou gives a superb performance of this challenging role.
It is rather startling to hear the character of Don Giovanni sung by a tenor, particularly if one has heard Mozart’s rogue sung with the deep, suave tones of Cesare Siepi. Here, tenor Leonardo Cortellazzi makes a valiant effort to tackle Giovanni’s high-lying music, and he largely succeeds; his sensitive pianissimos are particularly lovely. On the down side, his voice also has a tendency to become somewhat rough and nasal in the role’s most challenging moments, causing his portrayal of the Don to lack refinement.
Pacini also recast Donna Anna from a Fach standpoint, electing to make her a contralto instead of Mozart’s soprano. In this role, mezzo-soprano Geraldine Chauvet is quite enjoyable; her warm, dusky voice is rich without sounding excessively mature. Giulio Mastrototaro sings with vigor as Ficcanaso—a character analogous to Mozart’s Leporello—and excels at conquering the patter challenges sprinkled throughout the score. His singing occasionally sounds constricted in his upper range—a trait shared by bass Ugo Guagliardo, in a dual role as Masetto and the Commendatore, and by tenor Giorgio Trucco as Duca Ottavio—but is on the whole resonant and powerful.
Microphone placement is well judged with the exception of the opera’s final scene, in which Giovanni should have been recorded more closely. The orchestra’s elegant contribution, however, is always in perfect focus, and stage noises and applause are never bothersome. The lack of an English translation is annoying—the booklet contains only a synopsis, with an Italian libretto available online—but the omission is almost forgivable due to the familiarity of the story. In concmore....
Review By Record Geijutsu,April 2011
Review By Robert J Farr,MusicWeb International,March 2011
You might look at the cast and roles and wonder what, if any, is the relationship this opera had with the one by Mozart, or others, relating to the same or similar story. Mozart’s librettist, Da Ponte, based his libretto more or less on Molière’s original play Don Juan, whilst Dargomyzhsky, in his The Stone Guest, used Pushkin’s derivation. Not many had heard of Pacini’s work until this performance was heard at Bad Wildbad in 2008. No wonder, as the performances were the first since the work was premiered, and then at a private family occasion, not in a theatre.
Review By Frank Behrens,Art Times,February 2011
Any lover of Mozart’s masterpiece “Don Giovanni” will be most interested if not fascinated, as I was, with a Naxos 2-CD release of Pacini’s “In convitato di pietra”—not “The Stoned Guest” (as PDQ Bach put it) but “The Guest of Stone.”