One of the composers's most beguiling scores, La Favorite is Donizetti's La favorita in its original form – a tale of love and war that represents a glorious mix of Italian bel canto and 19th-century grand opera. Vincent Boussard's production for Toulouse does full justice to its renewed masterpiece status, accentuating the work's intimacy through economical sets and Christian Lacroix's striking costumes, thus drawing attention to the opera's three main characters played by Yijie Shi, Ludovic Tézier and Kate Aldrich.
La sonnambula (The Sleepwalker) is an opera semiseria in two acts, with music in the bel canto tradition by Vincenzo Bellini. This 2008 production was staged by Hugo de Ana at the Teatro Lirico di Cagliari. The references to 17th century Romantic painting and refined visual projections are a tribute to Luchino Visconti. Visconti produced the memorable performance of La Sonnambula at the Scala di Milano with the magnificent Maria Callas.
Simone Alaimo is one of Italy’s best bass-baritones and Antonino Siragusa is a very experienced performer of Rossini and Bellini operas. The role of Amina is sung by the rising star of the International world, Eglise Gutierrez.
The Royal Opera staged it a few years back, with Juan Diego Florez, (a reason for any bel canto revival) as Elvino. Santa Fe Opera put it on in 2004, for Natalie Dessay. And TDK has just released on DVD a January 2004 performance from Florence, with Eva Mei and Jose Bros…
One of the composer's most beguiling scores, 'La Favorite' is Donizetti's La favorita in its original French form - a tale of love and war that represents a glorious mix of Italian bel canto and 19th century grand opera. Today's scholarly interest in Donizetti's output has helped bring La Favorite back into circulation, and Vincent Boussard's arresting Toulouse production does full justice to its renewed masterpiece status, accentuating the work's intimacy through economical sets and Christian Lacroix's striking costumes, thus drawing attention to the opera's three main characters.
The exceptional singer Jessica Pratt's schedule has included performances at the Vienna State Opera, La Scala, Opernhaus Zürich, Covent Garden, working with conductors such as Vladimir Ashkenazy, Kent Nagano, Sir Colin Davis and Christian Thielemann.
…Massimo Checchetto’s opening set…is winningly picturesque…Bepi Morassi’s staging within it seems perfectly natural, its charms never forced. Pratt has a beautiful, expressive face, ever alive to Amina’s changing fortunes and her unchanging love. Her voice, too, is lovely and expressive…She’s endearingly simple, just as Amina should be. Gabriele Ferro conducts the Fenice forces with grace and practiced style…The sound is spacious and the Blu-ray image crystal clear. (Opera News)
All of these are live recordings so the sound is quite variable. The standard square box contains separate soft plastic sleeves in which the cds are inserted. The advantage is that the cds are well protected (minor risk for scrapes compared to cardboard), but there is no information printed on the sleeve since it is made of plastic. There is some basic information printed on each cd (name, composer, cd #, the act/s and the date of the recording). There is also a small 24pg booklet that introduces the box including some photos as well as content description for each disc (opera, singers, time and location as well as a list of the separate tracks). I have been collecting these boxes for a while and always find it worthwhile as there are gems nicely interspersed in these collections. By Moonfish
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)