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ROSSINI: Ciro in Babilonia

Composer(s):Rossini, Gioachino
Period(s) Romantic
Genre Classical Music
Category Opera
Catalogue 8.660203-04
Label Naxos
Quality   320kbps
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A story of love, marital fidelity, the defeat of a tyrant (the Babylonian King Belshazzar) and the triumph of the good, Rossini’s Ciro in Babilonia is a bold fusion of biblical and secular subjects set to brilliant, thrilling music. Although intended to be staged during Lent, Ciro includes all the time-honoured ingredients of serious opera such as the test of love, military scenes, the help of a turncoat, disguise, prison scenes, a funeral march and a sudden happy ending.

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Review By Gwynn Roberts,Fine Music,December 2007

This Naxos double CD of the oratorio-opera was released in February this year, and features the rising young Italian singers Riccardo Notta as Belshazzar and Anna Rita Gemmabella in the breeches role of Cyrus. All the soloists handle the delightful tunes provided by the youthful Rossini with high competence and professionalism…The work was recorded live at the Rossini in wildbad Festival held in Bad Wildbad, Germany, in 2004, in consideration of which there is remarkably little audience noise, apart from the applause after each aria. Of particular interest is the aria Chi disprezza gl’infelici, all sung on just one note, which Rossini wrote for a mezzo whose voice he considered was ‘beneath contempt’, but who had one single note, the B flat

There’s a felicitous intimacy about this recording, helped by Rossini’s ever-present melodic invention, which adequately compensates for Aventi’s dramatically impoverished libretto.


Review By David Denton, Naxos,February 2007

Even as a young man the potential for commercial success was uppermost in Rossini's mind, and the fact that Italian theatres were closed in Lent offered the ambitious composer the potential of writing a work that would be religiously acceptable at the closure period. The result was Ciro in Babilonia, the first of his to two Lent operas (the other being Mose in Egitto). The story surrounds the Babylonian King Belshazzar who has abducted Amira the wife of the Persian King Cyrus. He falls in love with her, but discovers her with an ambassador from Persia - who is Cyrus in disguise - and flies into a rage. Condemned to death, husband and wife are saved with the unexpected victory of the Persian army. Rossini was only 20 when the work



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