An opera about a company who are staging an opera? Donizetti is at the height of his comic powers and provides an abrasively disenchanted take on a world he knew all too well, with it tantrum-throwing primadonnas and narcissistic tenors, its spite and envy, its mean and noble sides… a world which is still very much with us.
A wonderful rendition of a superb opera in the classical tradition. Superb staging and excellent interpretations of the characters by a cast who very obviously loved what they were doing. The artists are having great fun, and that is what drives this opera… By Bryce Stevens
The Metropolitan Opera give this live performance of Rossini's work based on the poem by Sir Walter Scott. Michele Mariotti conducts the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus with Joyce DiDonato as Elena, the lady of the lake, who loves the heroic Malcolm (Daniela Barcellona). However, King James V (Juan Diego Flórez) arrives in the Highlands and sets his sights on Elena while her father Douglas (Oren Gradus), who is rebelling against the King's rule, promises his daughter to clan chief Rodrigo (John Osborn).
"Una lettura spassionata delle Bibbia rivela che Yahweh, i suoi atteggiamenti, le sue scelte, i suoi comportamenti schizofrenici, d ovrebbero essere oggetto di un'analisi attenta e approfondita condotta dalla psichiatria invece che dalla teologia"
Countertenor performances of 19th century opera are a historical and, ultimately, true novelty. This said, for those who love the sound of the countertenor voice and want to give it a try, there are several factors that recommend this release by countertenor Franco Fagioli, with the small orchestra Armonia Atenea under George Petrou. First is that castrati were still around in Rossini's time, although on the decline, and the composer was reportedly intrigued by their voices. Second, Fagioli, unlike the vast majority of other countertenors, studied bel canto singing rather than Baroque repertory exclusively, and a certain distance present in the work of other countertenors is absent here. And third, and most important, is Fagioli's voice itself. Of the countertenors active today, he's the one with the range, the power, the attitude to make you suspend disbelief and think for a moment that you're actually listening to a castrato. He enters into the various Rossini roles represented on this recording, several of which were mezzo-soprano "pants" roles; this adds to the layers of identity-switching happening, and the parts hit Fagioli's vocal sweet spot. A bonus is that several of these are from Rossini opere serie that are little played or recorded.