WORKS: L’assedio di Corinto (excerpts); La donna del lago (excerpts); Semiramide (excerpts); Tancredi (excerpts); L’italiana in Algeri (excerpts); La Cenerentola (excerpts)
PERFORMER: Marilyn Horne (mezzo-soprano)various orchestras & choruses/Henry Lewis
CATALOGUE NO: 458 219-2 ADD Reissue (1965-73)
Here are excerpts from six operas by Rossini, some of the arias sung by female characters and others by male characters whom the composer intended to be interpreted by the female voice. The disc contains feats of glorious singing, for Marilyn Horne, a mezzo-soprano with a firm, rich voice, an impeccable technique and an impressive coloratura agility, was very much in demand in this repertoire. She brings wit to Isabella’s entrance aria from L’italiana in Algeri, vocal brilliance to the exhilarating finale of La Cenerentola and rhythmic verve to Tancredi’s ‘Di tanti palpiti’.
Noted for her portrayal of the male role of Arsace in Semiramide, Horne here appropriates the soprano’s brilliant ‘Bel raggio lusinghier’ and sings it magnificently. In two excerpts from L’assedio di Corinto, she appears first as the opera’s heroine Pamira and next as her suitor Neocle. These recordings were made at various times between 1964 and 1972 when this much-loved artist was at the peak of her powers. Her husband at the time, Henry Lewis, conducts energetically and with a fine appreciation of Rossinian style. Charles Osborne