Rossini: L’inganno felice

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Rossini
LABELS: Erato
WORKS: L’inganno felice
PERFORMER: Annick Massis, Raúl Giménez, Rodney Gilfry, Pietro Spagnoli; Le Concert des Tuileries/Marc Minkowski
CATALOGUE NO: 0630-17579-2
Even for early Rossini, the plot of this opera is more than usually absurd. The Duchess Isabella, having been banished and cast adrift at sea by her husband Duke Bertrando at the instigation of the villainous Ormondo, has been living for ten years in a seaside mining village as Nisa, the niece of Tarabotto, the miner who had rescued her. The arrival in the village of Bertrando and Ormondo in the context of a military operation leads, after many complications, to husband and wife being reunited. Written at the age of 19, this one-act piece is musically, though not dramatically, one of the most interesting and attractive of Rossini’s early operas.

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Annick Massis is a sympathetic Isabella, with plenty of coloratura flexibility for the forceful cabaletta of ‘Al più dolce’ and, elsewhere, a warm tonal quality and pure legato. Her quick-tempered husband is sung by Raúl Giménez, his voice no more than serviceable, but his characterisation vigorous. A highly impressive performance is given by Rodney Gilfry who brings a splendid baritone voice and elegant style to the role of Ormondo’s collaborator, Batone. The orchestral playing under Marc Minkowski is first rate. Charles Osborne