The Dynamic label presents, in a world premiere on DVD Francesco Cileas rarely heard or produced opera L'Arlesiana (1897, rev. 1898). Its the story of Federico, the older son of the widow and farm owner Rosa Mamai, and his insane passion for a mysterious woman who, in the opera, is never shown. Federico wants to marry her desperately, dreams of her, suffers for her, and step-by-step his mind begins to waver. The people around him try in vain to prevent this love from becoming a damning obsession. The end result for Federico, however, is tragic. The operas famous aria "Il lamento di Federico" has been a favorite with tenors throughout the ages, including Enrico Caruso. This recording also features the aria for tenor, "Una mattina", written by Cilea for the opera's first version and then lost, here in world première recording. Directed by Rosetta Cucchi, a co-production between Teatro Pergolesi and Wexford Festival Opera.
Available for a limited time only, this specially priced 14-CD set is the first-ever complete collection of the complete RCA recordings of the spectacular tenor they called "The Swedish Caruso"! This handsomely put-together box boasts reproductions of the original LP sleeves and a comprehensive discography.
Oscar-nominated director Robert Dornhelm lends the story a darker glow, with Bertrand de Billy's soft-centred but warm conducting and two superb star performances. Villazón as Rodolfo, less… sings with a focused intensity which at time recalls Caruso, and makes a scruffily credible hero… Netrebko's creamy-voiced Mimì is no naïve little seamstress; her scarlet satin and glamour-girl make-up suggests she's been around… but her anguish in Act III is no less heartfelt. Dornhelm's sombrely sumptuous images capture a credibly chilly, squalid, yet defiantly romantic milieu.