Rossini: Moïse et Pharaon (in Italian)

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COMPOSERS: Rossini
LABELS: Orfeo
WORKS: Moïse et Pharaon (in Italian)
PERFORMER: Ruggero Raimondi, Eduardo Villa, Carol Vaness, Doris Soffel; Bavarian State Opera Chorus & Orchestra/Wolfgang Sawallisch
CATALOGUE NO: C 514 992 I
Though it is sung in Italian, this is not Rossini’s original 1818 Italian opera in three acts, but his 1827 four-act French revision, retranslated into Italian. For Paris, Rossini provided much new music as well as adapting parts of his earlier score, and it is in this more highly dramatic version that the opera is now usually performed. Mosè in Egitto, a forward-moving work based on huge choral ensembles, is as far removed as possible from the Rossini of opera buffa.

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A first-rate cast was assembled for the Bavarian State Opera production in 1988, and this is a live recording of one of those performances, conducted with verve and authority by Wolfgang Sawallisch, his tempi always perfectly judged, his control of the ensembles energetic, and his support of the singers securely firm. Ruggero Raimondi (who, some years previously, had recorded the title role in the original version) is an authoritative Moses, in rich and vibrant voice. The lovers Anaide and Amenofi are portrayed by Carol Vaness and Francisco Araiza, superb both in their ardent Act I duet and their equally attractive duet in Act IV. Highly recommended. Charles Osborne