ALBUM TITLE: Rossini
WORKS: La Donna del Lago
PERFORMER: Sonia Ganassi, Maxim Mironov, Marianna Pizzolato, Ferdinand von Bothmer, Wojtek Gierlach, Olga Peretyatko, Stefan Cifolelli; Prague Chamber choir;; Tübingen Festival Orchestra, Kaiserslautern/Alberto Zedda
CATALOGUE NO: 8.660235-36
The first Italian Opera to be based on Walter Scott, La donna del lago (1819) is one of Rossini’s more remarkable – and neglected – masterpieces. But it has done well on disc. Naxos’s new version joins a select group including recordings by Riccardo Muti and Maurizio Pollini, and though its casting is less glamorous it is in the sure hands of another Rossinian stylist, Alberto Zedda. He earns respect even before raising his baton: writing the sleevenotes, Zedda calls it ‘a beautiful seductive and mysterious opera.’ He is a master of the Rossini crescendo, and the Kaiserslautern orchestra plays well for him. In the title role, Sonia Ganassi sings refined and intelligent bel canto. It is also good to have Malcom sung by such an Italiante Mezzo as Marianna Pizzolato, who delivers the coloratura with verbal relish. Maxim Mironov brings his small though agile tenor to Giacomo. He is fine in ensembles – the Act II trio is, rightly, the exciting high point of the opera – but not especially alluring on his own in his big declaration of love ‘Oh fiamma soave’. Kenneth Tarver is more engaging here on the recent Opera Rara recording under Maurizio Benini. Both use the recent scholarly edition, both are taped live with a minimum of audience noise, but Opera Rara wins in several departments, not least with superior sound.