LABELS: Opera Rara
ALBUM TITLE: Bellini
WORKS: Adelson e Salvini
PERFORMER: Simone Alberghini, Daniela Barcellona, Enea Scala, Maurizio Muraro, Rodion Pogossov, David Soar, Kathryn Rudge; Opera Rara Chorus; BBC Symphony Orchestra/Daniele Rustioni
CATALOGUE NO: ORC56
Where would we be without Opera Rara? Here is another forgotten opera brilliantly performed, and accompanied by a 140-page book(let), full of handy information and the full text in Italian and facing-page English. Bellini’s first opera is not a great work, but I felt last year when it was done at the Barbican with these same forces that it is far better than even an ardent Bellinian could hope, given that it was a student work, hugely indebted to Rossini and raided by the composer for individual numbers to be included in his later operas; and it was rapturously received – on these CDs you can hear why, though they were recorded in a studio.
The young conductor Daniele Rustioni conducts Adelson as if it were a masterpiece, and the forces at his disposal respond appropriately. Bellini’s orchestration isn’t the first thing one thinks of, but there are striking touches, all of which get due attention here. And the cast in this bewildering action, which defies summary or understanding, sound just as committed as their director, the major role of Nelly (some of the others are Salvini, Lord Adelson, Colonel Strudey, Bonifacio and Fanny) being taken by Daniela Barcellona, who disposes of her dizzying music with staggering panache. The dialogue is spoken, and my one complaint is that it is breathed into the microphones so close-up that there is no sense of characters communicating with one another.