Verdi Un Giorno di Regno
Gocha Abuladze, Davide Fersini, Valda Wilson, Elisabeth Jansson, Giuseppe Talamo; Cappella Aquileia; Czech Philharmonic Choir Brno/Marcus Bosch
Coviello Classics COV 91802 (hybrid CD/SACD) 100:59 mins (2 discs)
This was Verdi’s second opera, and the only comic opera he wrote until his last, Falstaff. He was reluctant to do it, partly because he had a gloomy temperament, which was exacerbated by his losing his son, daughter and wife in quick succession, and partly because he thought, rightly, that the libretto by the inescapable Romani was no good. What he produced, under those circumstances, was a work that could easily be mistaken for very minor Donizetti, certainly not in the same league as L’elisir d’amore. It has the vigour that characterises all Verdi’s work, but not much else.
This live performance – there are stage noises, but no audience applause – has the required vigour, is clearly recorded, and the conductor Marcus Bosch, better known for his Bruckner, knows his way round the score. One hundred minutes pass without pain, though also without any particular pleasure. The cast is youthful and almost without exception adequate, with a notably fine tenor in Giuseppe Talamo. And the booklet includes a full libretto in three languages, though a cast list would have been helpful. However, Lamberto Gardelli’s recording on Philips with an almost unbelievably starry cast is still available and is the one to go for.