Donizetti: Opera arias

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COMPOSERS: Donizetti
LABELS: Opera Rara
WORKS: Opera arias
PERFORMER: Della Jones; Philharmonia Orchestra, RPO, LSO/Alun Francis, David Parry
CATALOGUE NO: ORR 203
Opera Rara has compiled this disc to celebrate its 20 years of collaboration with the Welsh mezzo-soprano Della Jones, as well as the bicentenary of the birth of Donizetti. There are eight arias from seven operas, ranging from King Louis V’s aria from Ugo conte di Parigi, recorded in 1977, to Amalia’s final aria from Alfredo il Grande, recorded in 1990.

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Donizetti rises to the occasion with a succession of melodically fluent and dramatically exciting pieces. Enrico’s entrance aria and cabaletta from Enrico di Borgogna, written when the composer was

20 years old, would not sound out of place in any mature Donizetti

opera. The two excerpts from Gabriella di Vergy are almost Verdian in their energy, and it is good to hear the page’s jaunty song from Francesca di Foix, an opera that, since its 1831 premiere, has been revived only once – by Opera Rara in 1982.

Della Jones, as one would expect, brings an attractively warm vocal timbre and a superb coloratura

technique to every piece. Perhaps

the most enjoyable item is Amalia’s final aria from Alfredo il grande, an opera about Alfred the Great which

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still awaiting its second performance anywhere. Charles Osborne