LABELS: Opera Rara
WORKS: Rosmonda d’Inghilterra
PERFORMER: Bruce Ford, Nelly Miricioiu, Renée Fleming, Alastair Miles.Geoffrey Mitchell Choir, Philharmonia Orchestra/David Parry
CATALOGUE NO: ORC 13
With over fifty operas to his credit spanning a career lasting a mere twenty years, and with an aesthetic that viewed past glories as ripe for plunder and recycling, Donizetti would not have been surprised that the majority of his operas should have enjoyed only a limited shelf-life. So although it’s good to welcome this latest addition to the Donizetti discography, one should not be too disappointed if it lacks the enduring virtues of a seasoned masterpiece.
The plot, an ‘exoticism trip’ to an imaginary Plantagenet England is, in the nature of such things, fairly preposterous, but the characters are sympathetically drawn and the music, while rarely escaping the routine (and sometimes hopelessly clichéd), shows Donizetti’s usual flair for deft melody, subtle orchestral colour and effective drama. For this first recording, Opera Rara is lucky to have secured the services of a first-rate international cast, well-versed in the bel canto style, who, aided by sensitive support from David Parry and the Philharmonia Orchestra, present the best possible case for this attractive if ultimately forgettable slice of operatic history. Antony Bye