“This is something of a find – a production produced in Milan's television studios in 1973 that does more than justice to Giordano's verismo work about personal conflicts at the time of the French Revolution. It's directed, with considerable imagination, by the Czech Vaclav Kaslik, at the top of his profession in the 70s. In realistic period sets he unerringly creates the milieu of a degenerate aristocracy in Act 1 and of the raw mob-rule of the Revolution in the succeeding acts. The only drawback is the poor lip-synch. Conductor Bruno Bartoletti makes certain we're unaware of the score's weaker moments and releases all the romantic passion in Giordano's highly charged writing for his principals.
Deluxe treatment for one of the most important works by Piero Piccioni, includes the complete film score plus the 1974 album version. Appassionata (1974) was a sexually-charged production starring Gabriele Ferzetti, Valentina Cortese, Ornella Muti and Elenora Giorgi. Chronicling the competition of two nubile girls who attempt to seduce the patriarch of a household, Gianluigi Calderone’s movie didn’t shy away from depicting such forbidden subjects as incest or the early sexual awakening of teenagers. This disturbing story was made more all the sensual by the lush underscore of Piero Piccioni.
One of Italy's most prolific and creative composers, Turin-born Piero Piccioni released dozens of scores for many different types of films during his lifetime, and wrote hundred of songs, the most alluring and provocative of which are collected here on The Seduction of Piero Piccioni. Culling tracks from C'Era Una Volta, Fumo di Londra, Mr. Dante Fontana, and I Giovani Tigri, among others, Piccioni's music captures the warmth and innovation of Italian pop music of the time combined with the power to truly propel and define a particular scene. There are a lot of great, fun tracks here – "Easy Dreamer," "Una Colt in Mano al Diavolo," "Capriccio," "Mr. Dante Fontana," and "Richmond Bridge" to name a few – so for anyone interested either in Italian film or Italian music, or just film and music in general, The Seduction of Piero Piccioni is a must-have.
Out of all Italian verismo operas, Umberto Giordano's Andrea Chénier is one of the few of lasting popularity that is still performed regularly on major opera stages worldwide. This 1981 production features a stellar Plácido Domingo in the title role and a classic staging by Otto Schenk, making for one of the finest readings of the opera. Andrea Chénier was an overwhelming success when premiered at La Scala in 1896 and first performed in Vienna in 1926, returning to the stage whenever a truly great tenor was available to tackle the demanding title role. Gabriela Benacková and Piero Cappuccilli lead a strong supporting cast in this tragic love story set during the times of French Revolution.