Arias for Marietta Marcolini

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COMPOSERS: Mayr; Rossini; Weigl; Paër; Mosca; Coccia
ALBUM TITLE: Arias for Marietta Marcolini
WORKS: Arias
PERFORMER: Ann Hallenberg (mezzo-soprano); Stavanger Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Choir/Fabio Biondi


Singers of the past, however eminent, have a tendency to disappear from history. Celebrated on this disc, the mezzo-soprano Marietta Marcolini, for whom Rossini wrote five major roles early on his career, was a leading light of the Italian stage during the first two decades of the 19th century, but no one seems to know exactly where or when she was born or died. Four of the five Rossini roles she created are represented here, one in the form of an aria from L’equivoco stravagante (1811), later revised and re-used in La pietra del paragone (1812). The disc also places them in context, with extracts from other operas by his contemporaries in which she appeared, some of them very nearly forgotten today.

Swedish mezzo Ann Hallenberg is up to all the acrobatics Marcolini seems to have revelled in, her warm mezzo managing the writing’s difficulties with assurance and articulating text and notes with flair. If Rossini’s arias tend to have more compositional personality, and reveal more of the character’s identity than those of his colleagues, samples from the works of Johann Simon Mayr, Joseph Weigl, Ferdinando Paer and Carlo Coccia all prove worth hearing. The accompaniments are well-managed under Fabio Biondi.


George Hall