La secchia rapita
Elcin Huseynov, Giorgio Valerio, Hyuksoo Kim, Alessandro Ravasio, Laure Kieffer; Chorus of the Claudio Abbado Civic Music School; Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano/Aldo Salvagno
Dynamic CDS7798 77:31 mins
Better known as the man in charge of the famous Italian publishing firm between 1888 and his death in 1912, Giulio Ricordi composed three operettas under the nom de plume Jules Burgmein, of which the second is recorded live here. Its not-very-catchy title – in English ‘The Stolen Bucket’ – refers to a minor event in Italian history when the citizens of Modena defeated those of Bologna in an early 14th-century battle. A purloined wooden bucket was held onto as a trophy and can be inspected in the town hall of Modena to this day.
Premiered in Milan in 1910, Ricordi’s operetta can boast a libretto by Renato Simoni (who also worked on Puccini’s Turandot) and enjoyed a smattering of productions over the next few years. There are some attractive moments, but as a whole the piece is pretty slight and not very imaginative, and this solid but workmanlike performance is unlikely to persuade many listeners otherwise. Non-professional elements do not help, nor do all the principal voices register positively, but Hyuksoo Kim offers a pleasant tenor as Titta, though conductor Aldo Salvagno needs to move things on a bit.