Pacini: Excerpts from Adelaide e Comingio, Annetta e Lucindo, Cesare in Egitto; Temistocle; Alessandro Nell’Indie; Il Contestabile di Chester; Carol di Borgogna; Maria Regina D’Inghilterra; Allan Cameron

COMPOSERS: Pacini
LABELS: Opera Rara
ALBUM TITLE: Pacini
WORKS: Excerpts from Adelaide e Comingio, Annetta e Lucindo, Cesare in Egitto; Temistocle; Alessandro Nell’Indie; Il Contestabile di Chester; Carol di Borgogna; Maria Regina D’Inghilterra; Allan Cameron
PERFORMER: Annick Massis, Yvonne Kenny (soprano), Bruce Ford (tenor); Geoffrey Mitchell Choir; Philharmonia Orchestra, London PO, Academy of St Martin in the Fields/David Parry, Antonello Allemandi
CATALOGUE NO: ORR 238
Listening to this hugely enjoyable disc, one gets the feeling that the late Patric Schmid, Opera Rara’s much missed artistic director, had done his customary truffle hunting and come up with a selection that consistently engages the ear – which is more than can be said for everything Pacini wrote. Drawn from Opera Rara’s previous Pacinian enterprises, this compilation whets the appetite for its current big project, Alessandro nell’Indie.

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Pacini may not have been another Rossini, Donizetti or Verdi, but along with Verdi he enjoyed one of the longest careers and wrote operas right up until his death. This chronological survey spans 1817 to 1848, concentrating on his strongest years. Beginning with the almost Rossinian overture to Adelaide e Comingio, the programme also includes a stirring chorus from Carlo di Borgogna, and perhaps the most haunting music of all is the duet from Il contestabile di Chester – one of the great operatic titles! – sung by Yvonne Kenny and Susan McCullough. Annick Massis and Bruce Ford are among the singers who shine under the idiomatic baton of David Parry. John Allison