WORKS: Amore per Rossini: arias
PERFORMER: Jennifer Larmore (soprano) London Voices, ECO/Giuliano Carella
CATALOGUE NO: 0630-13147-2
As the magnificent Rossini Festival at Pesaro annually digs deeper into his 40 operas, more and more delights are uncovered, and our ‘amour per Rossini’ continues to grow. Here are eight arias for mezzo-soprano – some from female roles, others from male roles, for Rossini often wrote his male heroic roles for the contralto or mezzo voices. All are relatively unfamiliar, and the two from Matilde di Shabran are recorded for the first time.
One of the Matilde arias, ‘Piange il mio ciglio’, is an uncharacteristically dull piece, but the other, ‘Ah! perche, perche la morte’, has dignity and elegance. Clarice’s double aria, ‘Se per voi le care io torno’ from La pietra del paragone, is exciting and Calbo’s ‘Non temer’ from Maometto II with its florid cabaletta is one of the most exhilarating pieces on this disc.
The American mezzo-soprano Jennifer Larmore, who specialises in Rossini, is completely at home in this repertoire. She has a voice of great warmth, dark in timbre in its lower register and brilliant at the top, plus a huge range and great coloratura flexibility. All the arias give her wonderful opportunities – which she seizes triumphantly – to display these qualities. Charles Osborne