Renée Fleming and Andreas Scholl lead a superb cast in Stephen Wadsworth’s celebrated production of Handel’s Rodelinda from the Metropolitan Opera – based on the "Live in HD" transmission to cinemas worldwide. The title role is unique in featuring no less than eight magnificent arias. Renée Fleming’s triumph in the first run of the production was hailed by The New York Times, "Ms Fleming draws on every resource of her artistry in this portrayal: luminous sound, exquisite ornamentation, floating high notes, emotional volatility."
Ever since the operas of Handel started to return to the stage in the 1920s, Giulio Cesare has been one of the pieces held in high regard. Always known by name through the most famous of Cleopatra’s arias (”V’adoro, pupille” and “Piangerò la sorte mia”) and often produced successfully in Germany, it has gathered a reputation as the best of the composer’s operas-the reasons for which can now be verified by anyone who acquires RCA Victor’s current release of the highly successful New York City Opera production.
The recording-the first opera to be taped in New York for longer than local musicians care to remember-is the City Opera’s production in every detail. Unless I am mistaken, the orchestra has been augmented at one or two points, but the cast is identical with that of the production’s opening night, and the conductor is none other than the company’s director, Julius Rudel. The performance makes an excellent case both for the opera and for the company.
"L’Inimico delle Donne" which means someone who doesn’t like women, is an opera written by Galuppi in 1771. He was very well-known at this time but when he died, suddenly his works disappeared from the stages. Among them ”L’Inimico delle Donne” disappeared so well that nobody knew it existed. Hence it has never been played since its first venue in Venice in 1771. Some years ago its manuscript was found in Lisbon and Royal Opéra de Wallonie decided to recreate and to stage it.
I quatro rusteghi (The Four Curmudgeons, The Four Ruffians, in Edward J. Dent's translation School for Fathers) is a comic opera in three acts, music by Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari to a text by Luigi Sugana and Giuseppe Pizzolato based on Carlo Goldoni's 18th-century play I rusteghi. The opera is written in Venetian dialect, hence "quatro" instead of "quattro".
The "100 Years of Italian Opera" series released by Opera Rara is unique in the annals of opera recordings. However, this installment is especially exciting as it documents the evolution of Italian opera during the 1820's, the decade when romanticism truly began to come into its own on the operatic stage. Opera Rara has lovingly compiled a variety of arcana written by composers famous and forgotten. Included is everything from overtures to arias, duets, ensembles, and entire scenes.