This recording presents–almost–Berlioz's original thoughts on this very complicated opera (which went through more than a dozen versions, with additions and subtractions, in the composer's lifetime), although conductor John Nelson also adds an aria or two Berlioz later added, making it somewhat different from the version recorded by Philips under Sir Colin Davis a little over 30 years ago. If I had to choose one of these two superb performances, it would be this: the opera's odd rhythms are more strongly underlined by Nelson, the whole work seems more lively, and the comic moments are genuinely funny. And the singing is superb, with Patrizia Ciofi a simply great, light-toned Teresa, Gregory Kunde tackling the title role and singing as impressively as Gedda did for Davis, and Joyce di Donato singing Ascanio's music as well as you'll ever hear it. The darker-voiced roles are equally well taken, with Laurent Naouri's Balducci particularly vivid. The orchestral playing, choral singing, and ensemble work and sonics are first rate. This is a superb recording, presenting Berlioz's odd masterwork brilliantly.
Robert Levine for amazon.com
Teodorico Pedrini is the only 18th century composer of which we know that he wrote European music in China, where he arrived after an eight year long journey from Italy to the Canary Island, Chile, Mexico, Peru and the Philippines. After his arrival in Beijing in 1711, he worked for the emperors Kangxi, Yongzheng and Qianlong until his death in 1746. Until today, he has been appreciated as one of the most important cultural ambassadors for Western music in Asia of all times.