Rossini: Operatic arias and ensembles

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COMPOSERS: Rossini
LABELS: Opera Rara
WORKS: Operatic arias and ensembles
PERFORMER: Nelly Miricioiu (soprano), etc; Geoffrey Mitchell Choir, Academy of St Martin in the Fields/David Parry
CATALOGUE NO: ORR 211
Here is a treat for all lovers of bel canto in general and Rossini in particular, with the great Romanian soprano of warm voice and exciting temperament supported by a number of fine performers in a collection of nine arias, duets and ensembles from Rossini operas, some of them quite rare. It opens with Elisabeth’s attractive Act I cavatina from Elisabetta, regina d’Inghilterra, and closes with the finale of Guglielmo Vallace, an opera of which many admirers of Rossini will not have heard. Actually, it’s merely one of the many names under which versions of Guillaume Tell were staged to avoid political censorship. The finale concludes with a sung version of that famous ‘galop’ from the overture.

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The other items include a gently decorative duet from Aureliano in Palmira, a quartet from Bianca e Falliero which was memorably described by Stendhal as one of the noblest conceptions with which any maestro has ever been inspired, a Semiramide duet for bass and soprano which adumbrates Verdi’s Macbeth (and in which Alastair Miles is superb), and a tender love duet from Armida to which Bruce Ford contributes tellingly. Nelly Miricioiu is at her daunting best throughout, and David Parry conducts stylishly. Highly recommended.