Donizetti composed Pia de’ Tolomei during the summer and autumn of 1836 in Naples, where he was living at the time. In December he set out for Venice, where the premiere was planned for February the next year at the Teatro La Fenice He travelled via Livorno and Genoa but when he arrived in Genoa he was met by the news that the theatre had been destroyed by fire on the night of 12/13 December. He realized that there was a great risk that the premiere would be jeopardized. However the production was moved to Teatro Apollo and the premiere took place on 18 February 1837 as planned. Fanny Persiani, who had been the first Lucia di Lammermoor a couple of years earlier, took the title role. The opera was not an immediate success and Donizetti reworked it twice. The second time was for Naples in 1838, where the censors enforced important changes and a happy ending. The present production is based on the critical edition published by Ricordi, where the original tragic finale is restored…
Bel Air present Don Pasquale, a true masterpiece from Donizetti. It's one of the funniest operas ever composed, but it also shines with Donizetti's trademark touch of gentle pathos and some of his finest music. The production is from the Grand Theatre of Geneva, with soprano Patrizia Ciofi as Norina and baritone Simone Alaimo in the title role.
Dynamic, which has already in its catalogue a few neglected operas by Massenet, has the pleasure to offer another rarity by this composer, this Chérubin recorded live in Cagliari in 2006 year. The old Mozartian Cherubino of Le nozze di Figaro is no longer the young lad in his first naive contacts with women: his age moved on from 13 to 17 years and, of course, takes on more adolescent connotations. Massenet brings these aspects out well as he characterises Chérubin with vocal scoring that favours ample, intensely cantabile phrases, with leaps towards the acute register that give full vent to the lyrical soprano voice, with moments of sudden emphasis and equally rapid disappointments - a real tempest of hormones, light years away from the Voi che sapete of Mozart’s page boy.
Donizetti's La Fille du Regiment aims to please and it succeeds, with its catchy tunes, wildly difficult showpieces for the principles, and a simple, if also simplistic, narrative line. This 2005 live performance at Genoa's Teatro Carlo Felice features virtuoso singing by tenor Juan Diego Flórez as Tonio and soprano Patrizia Ciofi, as Marie, the "daughter" of the soldiers who have adopted her. Tonio's big Act I scene and aria, "Ah! mes amis," was a famous showpiece for Pavarotti and Flórez is in that league, nailing the aria's nine high Cs with an ease mere mortals reserve just for breathing. This is knock-'em-dead singing and the audience demands (and gets) an encore. Ciofi's Marie is well acted and sung with lyric beauty and coloratura fireworks… –Dan Davis
We can thank the Lyon Opera for reviving the long-forgotten French version in January 2002 and it is that production upon which this DVD is based. With Patricia Ciofi in the title role and the splendid Roberto Alagna as Edgard Ravenswood, the production was recorded for TV under Don Kent's direction, with Evelino Pido ably conducting the orchestra and chorus of the Opera National de Lyon.
The cast in this performance, recorded live on November 18, 2004, is as excellent as the names would indicate: Patrizia Ciofi, Roberto Saccà and Dmitri Hvorostovsky.
Hvorostovsky, who has been singing Germont since 2002, continues to surpass himself in this role every time one hears him. Though difficult to imagine Hvorostovsky as an elder man, he nonetheless gives credence to the role of Germont through his straightforward, yet elegant style of singing and acting. Hvorostvsky’s subtle coloring of his voice, his innate sense of drama and musicianship give him the edge over any other baritone available–be he younger or older. In Act II, when Germont confronts Violetta, Hvorostovsky is vocally stern without being offensive to his son’s mistress, and later in the scene when Germont lets his guard down, the singer is able to project a comforting fatherly image to the woman who is “the ruin” of Alfredo and his family… Daniel Pardo
…Both Banchini and Bovi deliver exceptionally refined performances throughout the album. Bovi's voice is pure, elegant, and perfectly suited for music of this time. Banchini's tone on the Baroque violin is, appropriately, every bit as vocal and singing as the soprano arias. Taken all together, this album is much more than an ordinary CD that is popped in the player and listened to from beginning to end, but rather, an all-encompassing experience that truly transports listeners to another place and time. Unconditionally recommended.
La straniera was Bellini's fourth opera, first performed at La Scala in February 1829. During the composer's lifetime, and for a few years after his death in 1835, it enjoyed considerable international success, though contemporary reviewers were sometimes hostile, criticising its lack of set-piece arias and complaining of the 'continual interruptions' to the musical line. It is this that strikes the modern listener as one of the most interesting aspects of the score. Bellini was experimenting with something, if not exactly through-composed, then sacrificing vocal fireworks for the sake of the dramatic structure.(The Gramophone)
Patrizia 'the most exciting soprano' in the world !
Edge of Emotion This girl can rock, excite and touch your heart like no other. Edge of Emotion Her powerful Queen of the night (Fury) will send shivers through you , her Vissi D'Arte (Desperation), Ah non credea (Heartbreak) will make you cry, and her Carmen (Temptation) is sooo sexy…
A superb Florence production of one of Mozart's finest operas by distinguished English director Sir Jonathan Miller. The artistic director of the renowned Maggio Musicale festival Zubin Mehta brings out not only the tension and drive of the music but also its harmonic richness. Soprano Eteri Gvazava - internationally known since her sensational Traviata а Paris filming partnering Josй Cura - is wonderful to listen to and to look at as the sad but contriving Countess Almaviva…