Cilea: Adriana Lecouvreur

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COMPOSERS: Cilea
LABELS: Dynamic
WORKS: Adriana Lecouvreur
PERFORMER: Micaela Carosi, Marcelo Álvarez, Marianne Cornetti, Alfonso Antoniozzi; Orchestra & Chorus of Teatro Regio Torino/Renato Palumbo
CATALOGUE NO: CDS 628/1-2

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Anyone undertaking, or casting, the title-role in Cilea’s thespian tragedy Adriana Lecouvreur should surely take their cue from the actress’s own entrance aria, ‘Io son l’umile ancella’ (‘I am the humble handmaiden’). ‘Un soffio è la mia voce,’ she sings – ‘my voice is but a breath’. We can even hear how Cilea wanted it sung on various recordings by Magda Olivero, the fabled soprano who provided the composer with his ideal Adriana. Sadly, on this live 2009 recording, Micaela Carosi proves herself deaf both to the score and to Olivero’s example. Where the latter floats the entrance aria on an ethereal thread of tone, Carosi belts it out in full voice. No ‘humble handmaiden’ she, just a brash prima donna.

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Marianne Cornetti, as Adriana’s aristocratic rival, tears her illicit passion to tatters with vibrato-heavy ‘can belto’, while Alfonso Antoniozzi’s Michonnet is rasping. Conversely, the stylish Argentine tenor Marcelo Álvarez endows the Enrico Caruso-created role of the posturing pretender, Maurizio, with an arguably unwarranted nobility of tone. He ends up sounding unheroically small-scale, however, beside those barnstorming viragos. Mark Pappenheim