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Classical - Released August 2, 1993 | Decca


Opera - Released September 1, 1972 | Deutsche Grammophon Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography

Classical - Released January 1, 1966 | Decca


Classical - Released January 1, 2012 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Distinctions Diapason d'or / Arte - Choc de Classica - The Qobuz Ideal Discography

Opera - Released February 9, 2018 | Naxos

Hi-Res Booklet
No, sir: Ricciardo e Zoraide is not an obscure opera from the young Rossini. In the same year, 1818, the maestro had already stunned the world of lyrical music with Tancredi, L'Italiana in Algeri, Il turco in Italia , The Barber of Seville, Otello, La cenerentola, La gazza ladra and a good fifteen or so others. But then, why should the "drama" Riccardo e Zoraide remain in the shade, even today when there is something of a fashion for unearthing forgotten works? Let's just say that the script is worse even than most badly-put-together scripts. As Richard Osborne has it (in Rossini, his life and work), "with all these details, the work reads like a Marlowe epic re-written by the Marx brothers; only Rossini's music brings to life and carries these crude dramatic archetypes." … And yet: what a musical treasure! From the overture... There isn't an overture, at least, not one of those overtures which is pretty much interchangeable between operas: Rossini unfolds an ample musical prologue, which describes the start of the action, with the rather spectacular addition of a backstage orchestra. Airs, ensembles, choirs, the score contains innumerable splendours and it would be a crying shame for them to go unheard. We should add that after its first performance in 1818, Ricciardo e Zoraide was performed all over Europe, translated into German and French, and given a last outing at la Scala in 1846, before disappearing until 1990, and then falling out of sight yet again, before being unearthed for a performance at the Wildbad Rossini Festival 2013 in Germany. And here is a live recording of that very concert: a discographic rarity which merits discovery. © SM/Qobuz

Full Operas - Released January 6, 2017 | Sony Classical

Distinctions 5 de Diapason

Classical - Released October 8, 2010 | Warner Classics


Classical - Released August 15, 2007 | harmonia mundi


Classical - Released November 8, 2010 | Warner Classics

Distinctions Gramophone Record of the Month

Opera - Released September 19, 2014 | Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet

Opera Extracts - Released October 6, 2017 | BR-Klassik

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4 étoiles de Classica

Classical - Released January 1, 1972 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
This is a Barbiere "di qualità, di qualità": in fact, of very great quality indeed, from Deutsche Grammophon. Recorded in London in the summer of 1971, it is one of the first meetings of Claudio Abbado and the London Symphony Orchestra. It is also the first of Alberto Zedda's philological editions of Rossini's works, whose scores have been covered over by inherited errors for over a century. Getting rid of the additions which have, quite wrongly, become traditional, means restoring certain interruptions and the fine instrumentation of the period; and above all, singing and playing without exaggerations, thanks to an innate sense for the theatre. It's a spot of spring cleaning which has restored the youth of the 24-year-old composer's masterpiece. Bravo, signor barbiere, ma bravo! It is a dream record, with singers who are well-versed in the repertoire. Everyone is right where they need to be, from Teresa Berganza's wiley and cheeky Rosina, to the refined and hard-working Figaro played by Hermann Prey, via Luigi Alva's frivolous Count and the utterly ridiculous Basilio played by the outrageous Paolo Montarsolo. We're amused by their antics, as we admire the well-oiled and unstoppable machine of Rossini's theatre, under the unceasingly inventive and thrilling baton of Claudio Abbado. © François Hudry/Qobuz

Classical - Released January 1, 2004 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

A great vehicle for its star, Juan Diego Flórez, this beautifully engineered and nicely packaged live version of Rossini's Le Comte Ory from the 2003 Rossini Opera Festival is also a good all-around representation of the opera. Led by Jesús López-Cobos, and featuring a solid cast, it strikes an effective balance between clean musical presentation and comic energy, and manages to be entertaining through most of its two hours. Flórez's charismatic performance as the scheming Ory is the main reason to check out this DG release, and what elevates it from being just another good recording to a top consideration for this piece. His singing here is every bit as polished as can be heard on his more manicured solo recordings, with the same ringing tone and easy top range. Flórez also reveals an incisive, take-charge musicianship that is easier to appreciate in the context of a complete opera. His coloratura is rock solid, his sense of line and style is perfect, and he lets the smile in his voice take care of the comedy instead of hamming it up. Stefania Bonfadelli tackles the rangy and often busy role of the Countess capably, though her voice is too heavy to be ideal for the part, and she often gets bogged down in passages of coloratura as a result. The dark-voiced Alastair Miles is entertaining and perfectly cast as Ory's stern Tutor. As the page, Isolier, Marie-Ange Todorovitch is appealing and suitably androgynous, although she doesn't compete for much attention in ensembles where the better-focused sounds of Flórez and Bonfadelli take center stage. The rest of the cast contributes nicely, and the Orchestra del Teatro Comunale di Bologna plays well under López-Cobos, if without some of the sparkle you want from a Rossini orchestra. The Prague Chamber Choir is unusually tight for a live opera chorus. In the end, choosing this recording over the others available on the market comes down to taste. But Flórez's world-class singing should at least put it near the top of the list.

Opera Extracts - Released April 29, 2016 | Aparté

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Choc de Classica
Karine Deshayes is one of the greatest Rossini singers on the international opera stage. In this first solo album, featuring excerpts from some of his most beautiful works, she traces the different stages in Rossini's life. She is accompanied by Raphaël Merlin (cellist of the Ébène Quartet) at the head of Les Forces Majeures, a collective bringing together musicians from prestigious chamber ensembles and top-flight orchestras. Discover this truly rare and intimate interpretation of Rossini - musically rich and at times meditative, loving, desperate, calm...

Classical - Released October 6, 2014 | Warner Classics

Hi-Res Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
It would be hard to find ground more trodden in the orchestral repertory than the Rossini overtures recorded here by Antonio Pappano and the Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, most of all the William Tell (Guillaume Tell) Overture made popular by The Lone Ranger. And, as a result, the album offers a strong illustration of why this conductor has become so popular. Not only does he make the William Tell Overture sound completely fresh, with such a wealth of delicately traced instrumental detail in the earlier sections that the listener will almost forget the famous finale is coming. He structures the entire program in a way that's both fun and instructive. The seven overtures are presented in chronological order, beginning with the rarely heard but very effective La scala di seta overture (1812) and ending with William Tell (1829). This is not a common way to perform them, but it works: the big tunes are there throughout, but the internal structure and especially the orchestration bloom like the interior petals of a flower. The similarly rare Andante e tema con variazioni, a set of variations for chamber winds from 1812, is another bonus, in this little piece Rossini seems to have developed some of the wind writing woven throughout the overtures. A superior Rossini instrumental album that anyone might enjoy, most especially those who've heard it all before.

Classical - Released April 15, 2013 | Warner Classics

Distinctions 4 étoiles de Classica

Opera - Released July 14, 2017 | Naxos


Classical - Released September 30, 2016 | Deutsche Grammophon Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik

Classical - Released August 11, 1989 | Decca


Classical - Released March 3, 2017 | Erato - Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet
Marie-Nicole Lemieux triumphantly defies the frequent assertion that the contralto is a dying breed. Moreover, with this live recital of Rossini arias and duets, the Canadian singer proves that a deep, rich, voluminous female voice can move with the same dazzling agility as a light, bright soprano. Since she first came to the world’s attention in 2000, when she won the Queen Elisabeth International Music Competition for Opera in Brussels, Lemieux, who has been praised by Gramophone for her “velvet-like voice and generosity in phrasing and thought”, has established herself in a wide variety of operatic roles. Among these are Rossini’s Tancredi and Isabella (L’italiana in Algeri), Handel’s Giulio Cesare and Polinesso (Ariodante), Gluck’s Orphée, Verdi’s Mistress Quickly (Falstaff) and Azucena (Il trovatore) and Saint-Saëns’ Dalila (Samson et Dalila). She is also renowned as a recitalist and concert singer. This Rossini album, recorded in December 2015 in the southern French city of Montpellier, is the first fruit of her exclusive recording agreement with Erato, announced in Spring 2016. She is joined by Italian soprano Patrizia Ciofi, the orchestra and chorus of the Opéra National Montpellier Languedoc-Roussillon and conductor Enrique Mazzola in a fascinating programme comprising excerpts from Tancredi (which Lemieux, Ciofi and Mazzola performed at the Opéra Berlioz - Le Corum in Paris in Montpellier in 2015), L’italiana in Algeri, Semiramide, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Matilda di Shabran, La gazza ladra and La pietra del paragone. In addition, Lemieux and Ciofi sharpen their claws in the famous Duetto dei gatti, which is attributed to Rossini (probably spuriously) because it draws on his opera Otello. “Rossini has been a revelation for me,” says Lemieux. “It was such a joy when I first sang L’italiana in Algeri, [at the Opéra National de Lorraine in 2012]. As in Baroque music, you have to display virtuosity, but Rossini allows you to breathe … Strangely, with Rossini, you sing twice as much, but you’re half as tired at the end of the performance! Rossini is organic and well crafted, and he understood the voice perfectly.” (It is worth remembering that Rossini had a long-term relationship with the celebrated Spanish singer Isabella Colbran, for whom he wrote a number of operas.) When Lemieux’s Erato contract was announced, she asked: “Who better than Rossini to celebrate with in all his musical splendour and generosity?” Rossini is clearly very much the right choice. When the contralto sang Tancredi in Paris, La Croix praised “a generous artist with a voice that is both ample and easily produced across its entire tessitura … from the depths to top notes that flash like a cavalier’s sabre,” while Les Echos described her vocal line as “noble, fluid and displaying myriad colours” and Le Monde, citing her “rich, substantial timbre”, lauded a performance that ended in “a death scene of great beauty.” As for her collaboration with Patrizia Ciofi, La Croix spoke of “two magnificent singers who, as a team, raise their art to the peak of opera’s Olympus.” Marie-Nicole Lemieux’s performance in Montpellier was greeted enthusiastically by Opéra Online, which cited “incredible breath control, vertiginous leaps between registers and above all a voice equipped with a sonorous lower register that can caress a line or blaze virtuosically,” before observing that “her generosity … her exuberant, communicative vitality and the relationship that she builds with the listeners, the conductor and the instrumentalists – all this completely won over the audience in Montpellier.”