Cammarano’s horrific libretto is given some of Donizetti’s most beautiful music. After eloping with her lover and being deserted by him, Maria is believed dead but returns home to discover her father has died and left everything to her cousin Matilde. Maria’s ex-lover stabs her and again Maria is believed dead, but in the gripping final scene – a gift for a soprano – Maria stabs Matilde and then confronts Corrado, telling him in her dying moments that she still loves him. This scene alone was enough to ensure many productions throughout Italy and Europe in Donizetti’s lifetime and beyond.
This Naxos disc by the five-member Versus Ensemble contains a potpourri of seven different works by Argentinean composer Astor Piazzolla. It includes many of his best known major works – the Milonga del ángel, Verano Porteño, Libertango, and Oblivion – plus five excerpts from his least known major work: his operetta Maria de Buenos Aires. Of the 11 tracks here, four feature either vocalist Enrique Moratalla or soprano María Rey-Joly, one features reciter Horacio Ferrer, and six are instrumentals.