This production was recorded at the Teatro Malibran of La Fenice in Venice in occasion of the celebrations for the 3rd centenary of Galuppi’s birth. This is the first performance in modern times, and a World Premiere recording on DVD. The Orchestra Barocca di Venezia, conducted by baroque expert Andrea Marcon plays on original instruments from the 18th century. Olimpiade, was written for the opening of the carnival season of Milan’s Teatro Ducale on December 26, 1747. The only available score was kept in Milan, but it was not complete; maybe this explains why the opera was not staged again, even though it collected a huge success. Conductor Andrea Marcon, together with musicologist Claire Genewein had to look for the score’s incomplete parts. Finally the symphony of the opening was found in Regensburg’s library, whereas the final part was found in London.
In the title role, Ambrogio Maestri possesses the highest-caliber voice of the cast. As Alice Ford, Svetlana Vassileva…is surprisingly satisfying and inhabits this mischievous role with vivaciousness and charm…Romina Tomasoni [is] a lovable, jovial Mistress Quickly with a warm, sunny contralto to match.
Antonio Gandia‘s sweet tenor and graceful phrasing suit Fenton beautifully…The orchestral playing is crisp and jaunty, and the very young conductor Andrea Battistoni does an admirable job of untangling the musical lines and keeping things cohesive. (Parterre Box)
Stiffelio was based on the play Le pasteur, ou L'évangile et le foyer by Émile Souvestre and Eugène Bourgeois and was originally censored due to it involving as it does a Protestant minister of the church with an adulterous wife.
The golden timbre of Roberto Aronica graces the title role…His commanding tenor makes one sit up and listen, with some notable long-breathed phrasing and a smooth legato a joy to hear…[Yu Guanqun's] is a rich, true lyric soprano with a glint of steel and strong, even emission in the upper register…[Frontali] sings with great command of Verdian shape and line. (International Record Review)
Based on a Romantic tragedy by Zacharias Werner, Attila is set in the 5th century AD. The opera takes as its starting point Attila’s plans to storm Rome with his army of Huns and the Roman’s attempts to prevent him. As with Nabucco and I Lombardi, Verdi spiced up the action with a number of patriotic choruses, guaranteeing that – against the background of the Italian movement for unification – the opera was a great success.
Andrea Bacchetti follows his album of sonatas by Baldassarre Galuppi with another little-performed 18th century Venetian, Benedetto Marcello, whose work has a surprisingly modern character. The "Sonata III", for instance, opens with a sequence in which the right hand plays the same note 48 times in rapid succession, while the left cycles quadruplets around it – the kind of gambit you'd expect from a Cage or Feldman, but hardly from a contemporary of Vivaldi. Marcello is said to have once fallen into a grave that opened beneath him, a trauma perhaps responsible for the austere, near-spiritual logic of pieces such as the "Sonata V", where the absence of frills prefigures the enigmatic miniatures of Erik Satie.