Opera Rara recorded the new critical edition by the Rossini Foundation of Otello. Hugely admired in its day, this highly innovative score contains some of Rossini’s most inspired music. The recording includes the reconstruction of the alternative happy ending (written for Rome in 1820) as well as an aria for Desdemona which the great Giudetta Pasta sang to acclaim in Paris and London.
'Bruce Ford reveals himself as a Rossinian without equal today' - Hugh Canning, Sunday Times
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.
Caterina Cornaro was written in the extremely productive last period of Donizetti's life (between Don Pasquale and Linda di Chamounix) and was the last of his operas to be premiered in the composer’s lifetime. Like every other work of this period, it is intensely original, in this case being unusually dark in both subject matter and general musical tone. This is the only opera of Donizetti’s later period not to have had a quality modern recording.
Although it was Donizetti’s first theatrical success, the original 1822 version of this violent love story was never given a complete performance because the tenor cast in the role of the hero died shortly before the first night. Even so, Donizetti quickly adapted this role for a mezzo-soprano, achieving his first theatrical success. Opera Rara presents the world premiere of the original tenor version. In addition the recording includes six more pieces written for the 1824 revival.
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.
Here, for the first time the two versions of this delightful opera which Donizetti wrote for Naples. Betrayed by her fiancée and abandoned by her father, Emilia has turned her back on the world. In a most operatic coincidence, her fiancée appears on the same day as her father returns to England.
'The work has charm and wild improbability in equal proportion' - John Higgins, The Times
Albert Lee occupies an odd niche in music – British by birth and upbringing, he spent the mid-'60s as a top R&B guitarist, but in the 1970s became one of the top rockabilly guitarists in the world, and no slouch in country music either.