The magic and mystery of Mexico make a welcome return on this recording, as the expert skills of Gerard Abiton explore Manuel Ponces complete works for guitar. There is a wealth of treasures to be enjoyed here, as Ponces vast career led him to explore a number of different styles. His time in Paris exerted a French influence on his music, heard in the wonderfully lyrical song-without-words motif in the second movement of his Sonata III.
Cecilia Bartoli stars in this ebullient Zurich Opera House production of Rossini’s first French-language comedy opera described by the international press as “pure, unadulterated fun”. A BD from Zurich of the acclaimed production by masters of bel canto comedy, Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier. Bartoli reminds us of her comic gifts and her naturalness as a stage actor — as well as her total sympathy with the music of Rossini. Muhai Tang conducts the historical performance ensemble La Scintilla, and the cast includes the acclaimed young Mexican tenor Javier Camarena in the title role.
A superb Rossini rarity receives an idiomatic account. Cecilia Gasdia is a touching Zelmira, and William Matteuzzi as her lover Ilo is in fine fettle. –- BBC Music Magazine
the register for William Matteuzzi as Ilio is very high indeed. It is creditable that he makes it all sound so easy and natural as he soars into the stratosphere. Cecilia Gasdia is also completely unfazed by all the difficulties in the title role…Bernarda Fink is superlative. –-MusicWeb International
‘Semele’ is presented in Robert Carsen’s stylish modern dress production, originally seen in London, and most recently staged at the Zurich Opera in 2007. The drama tells of the ambition of the beautiful mortal, Semele, who, not satisfied with being Jupiter’s mistress, strives with fatal results to supplant Jupiter’s wife, Juno. Conceived as an oratorio but nowadays presented as a stage drama, it is a superb vehicle for all the principals, not least the substantial title role, which includes such popular arias as ‘Endless pleasure’ and ‘Myself I shall adore’.
Rossini’s unusual scoring of the drama calls for three tenor supporting roles – here sung to universal acclaim by long-standing Bartoli collaborators John Osborn and Javier Camarena and newcomer Edgardo Rocha. Bartoli’s dramatic command and vocal presence dominate the stage and reveal her artistry to be entering a rich new stage of development.