Donizetti

COMPOSERS: Donizetti
LABELS: RCA Red Seal
ALBUM TITLE: Adelia
PERFORMER: Michela Sburlati, Hermine Haselböck, David Sotgiu, Xavier Rouillon, Giorgio Valenta, Giulio Mastrototaro, Andrea Silvestrelli; Haydn Chorus and Orchestra/Gustav Kuhn

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CATALOGUE NO: 88697 10813 2
Adelia is a serious work, in that the action nearly leads to the death of the two central characters, who are almost the victims of the heroine’s father’s pathological possessiveness. The plot has quite a lot in common with Verdi’s Rigoletto, including a woman who misses no opportunity to try to die for the sake of the man she loves, or indeed for the father who hates her loving anyone but him. The music is mostly Donizetti at his most routine, and if you listened with no knowledge of the plot, you would have no idea whether it was a tragic or a comic work.

This recording was apparently made from concert performances. There is applause at the end of each CD, none otherwise. It is a decent job, but no more than that. Gustav Kuhn seems to be able to conduct anything competently. The singers are a mixed bag, with the two tenors taking the honours. The title role is sung shrilly and rather vaguely by Michela Sburlati. The lower male voices are ill-focused and noisy. It is villainous of RCA to provide only a downloadable PDF version of the libretto (26 pages replete with errors), in Italian and English.

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Michael Tanner