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Classical - Released November 13, 2020 | Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
We could not hide our pleasure listening to this extraordinary vocal battle between tenors Lawrence Brownlee and Michael Spyres. The problem with performing Rossini’s operas today arises mostly from a difficulty in finding enough tenors. Up to four are required for the works from his Neapolitan period. The agile and tender timbre of Lawrence Brownlee responds to the more sombre and baritone voice of Michael Spyres in the duos and ensembles (with mezzo-soprano Tara Erraught and Xabier Anduaga, the third tenor in this album) taken from the seven operas and opera serias composed between 1815 and 1826: Il barbiere di Siviglia, Riccardo e Zoraide, La donna del lago, Elisabetta Regina d’Inghilterra, Othello, Le Siege de Corinthe and Armida. Fans of excess and pyrotechnics will be pleased as high notes are thrown out with confidence and casual force under the glistening direction of Corrado Rovaris as he heads the well-named I Virtuosi Italiani. “Friends and Foes” (“Amici e Rivali”) is the album’s title, but the two are very much friends, specialists in Rossinian singing reunited here for our great pleasure. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Classical - Released May 7, 2013 | Naxos

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Classical - Released October 2, 2012 | Naxos

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Opera - Released June 4, 2013 | Naxos

Booklet Distinctions Choc de Classica
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Opera - Released September 1, 1972 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Overtures - Released November 16, 2018 | PentaTone

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Exceptional Sound Recording
From the moment they were performed, Gioachino Rossini’s overtures have enjoyed the status of colourful, elegant orchestral showpieces. With their sweet cantilene, their rich harmonies, their brilliant orchestration, and their powerful and exciting rhythmic drive, these overtures encapsulate all that was modern, exhilarating and electrifying in Rossini’s music, yet maintain their freshness and attraction to modern audiences. This album features a collection of Rossini overtures, taken from less well-known operas such as La Scala di seta, Tancredi, La gazza ladra, Matilde di Shabran and Semiramide, as well as from the classic comic operas L’italiana in Algeri and Il barbiere di Siviglia, concluding with the preludes to Rossini’s French operas Le siège de Corinthe and Guillaume Tell, in which the composer explored musical Romanticism. The overtures are performed by the Orchestra del Teatro Comunale di Bologna, which has played a seminal role in the Rossini renaissance of the last three decades. The orchestra is led by its Musical Director Michele Mariotti. Being born in Rossini’s native town Pesaro, Mariotti cherishes a life-long affinity with the city’s most famous son, and is commonly considered as one of the outstanding Rossini conductors of his age. He frequently works with the world’s most prestigious opera houses. © Pentatone
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Classical - Released October 6, 2014 | Warner Classics

Hi-Res Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
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Classical - Released July 10, 2020 | Naxos

Hi-Res Booklet
This modest production recorded in 2018 at the 30th Rossini Festival in Bad Wildbad, Germany, deserves credit for introducing us to an allegorical cantata composed by Rossini for a royal wedding. Le Nozze di Teti e di Peleo celebrates the marriage between the goddess of water Thetis and the hero Peleus, and their union would soon produce a son, the fiery Achilles. This is a miniature opera that had all of the usual stylistic features of the era – a seductive, alluring vocal line, ornamentation and vocal virtuosity. With three sopranos, two tenors, a choir and an orchestra, The Marriage of Peleus and Thetis was premiered in a lavish production at the Teatro del Fondo in Naples on April 24th, 1816, featuring the best singers of the time and interpolated ballet scenes. The marriage of the nephew of King Louis XVIII of France with Maria Carolina of Bourbon re-established political relations between the Kingdom of Naples and France following the Napoleonic debacle. It was, as is often the case, a pre-arranged political marriage that had already been decided in high places before the spouses had even met. This piece, commissioned on the occasion for this particular event, disappeared immediately afterwards and only resurfaced in 1967 when the manuscript was discovered in the rich library of the Naples Conservatory of Music. Here, it is performed under the careful direction of Pietro Rizzo, who knows exactly how to showcase the composer’s work. The contagious good humour of the cast of young singers also further endorses the re-discovery of this musical gem. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Opera - Released May 5, 2015 | Naxos

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Classical - Released August 15, 2007 | harmonia mundi

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Classical - Released September 7, 2018 | Opera Rara

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice
Semiramide, based on a play by Voltaire about an ancient Assyrian queen, was Rossini's last Italian opera. Some five hours long in performance, it has always been subject to cuts from producers worried that it was a butt-breaker, but Rossini insisted that it be performed as written. He was right: its massive two acts have a logic and flow that do not flag. Despite its size and difficulty (check the hefty list of sponsors and patrons in the booklet), the opera is being revived increasingly often. The work has been called the last Baroque opera, with its tragic plot from antiquity encrusted with glittering, highly ornamented arias, and you might suppose that a performance stands or falls with the singers. This version certainly offers strong ones, including the superb pair of sopranos Albina Shagimuratova in the title role and Daniela Barcellona in the travesti or cross-dressing role of the commander Arsace. The latter singer has long specialized in such roles, and one has the feeling that her performance here is a career culmination. Start sampling with her scene with Oroe, Act II, scene 4. But equally important is the work of conductor Sir Mark Elder with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. Even if it was clear by 1823 that the Enlightenment had not quite panned out, the orchestra sets the dimensions of the work right from the big overture, unusual in that it is built from melodies from the opera in the manner of a musical theater overture. Everything clicks here in a way that's rare for operas of any composer. © TiVo
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Opera - Released September 19, 2014 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released November 8, 2010 | Warner Classics

Distinctions Gramophone Record of the Month
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Opera - Released July 12, 2019 | Naxos

Hi-Res Booklet
Rossini’s Eduardo e Cristina was a huge success in its day, but as perhaps the last centone opera (one assembled from previously existing material) by a major composer, it became forgotten under the subsequent tide of Romantic idealism. Today we can put these prejudices aside and enjoy this masterful creation for what it is: a hugely entertaining parade of beautiful and spectacular musical ‘hits’ set to a familiar story of secret love, dramatic crisis and triumphant resolution. This "2017 Bad Wildbad" revival was summed up as ‘an evening of pure bel canto pleasure!’ by Operagazet. © Naxos
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Opera - Released January 10, 2020 | Naxos

Hi-Res Booklet
Created at the Teatro San Carlo in 1822, Zelmira is one of the nine operas that Rossini wrote for the famous Neapolitan opera house, the only one with which he was able to realise his full potential by working with phenomenal singers like the soprano Isabella Colbran, contralto Rosmunda Pisaroni, tenors Andrea Nozzari and Giovanni Davide and the bass Filippo Galli. History has curiously not remembered these productions, despite their key contributions to Rossini’s perceived status as a genius. Recorded over the course of rehearsals for two concerts in July 2018 (and not 2017 as it wrongly says on the album cover) as part of the 30th Rossini in Wildbad festival in Baden-Württemberg, this opera benefits from the expert direction of Gianluigi Gelmetti, a fervent Rossini fan. The recording itself is not totally perfect, but you have to respect the forthcoming dedication from the whole artistic team, starting with the more or less well known singers who know how to do this vocally challenging score justice with clarity and flexibility, as well as respecting the characters’ seemingly often tormented personas. The ensembles are particularly well executed, from the duos to the quintets. They bring a particular liveliness to the project thanks to the inflamed conducting by Maestro Gelmetti. This version of the concert uses the critical edition which was established for the Pesaro Rossini Festival and presents a further two variations which the composer had written for the Parisian rerun in 1826, featuring a new gleaming finale, which is suggested here as an alternative ending. © François Hudry/Qobuz Zelmira was the last opera Rossini wrote for Naples, knowing it would also be his calling card to Vienna where he had been assured performances. Keen to reconcile the alleged incompatibility between ‘Italian’ melody and ‘German’ harmony, Rossini employed exciting and daring harmonies and a raft of dazzling orchestral effects in this tragedy in which a daughter saves her father, the king, and her son, from usurpers to the throne. The opera was acclaimed wherever it was heard, and this recording presents the revised and triumphant Paris version. © Naxos
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Classical - Released November 5, 2013 | Naxos

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Opera - Released September 1, 2005 | Naxos

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Full Operas - Released September 14, 2018 | Naxos

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Opera - Released November 9, 2018 | Naxos

Hi-Res Booklet
Rossini's opera Maometto II might not ring many bells. It was first performed in Naples in 1820. But what if we told you that the 1826 French version was named Le Siège de Corinthe… ? Of course, the revision for the French version was such that it is easy to think of them as two different works, if only because Maometto II deals with the Turkish-Venetian war of the 15th century (Mehmet II is a historical figure, an Ottoman Sultan), whereas Le Siège de Corinthe is pushed forwards into the 1820 Greek War of Independence! This is a recording of the original 1820 version and not one of the many reworkings that the piece underwent over the decades. Here we find Rossini in a most unusual mood: few bravura numbers and an almost unbroken writing style, it’s very close to the libretto and its incessant dramatic leaps. It is hardly surprising that Rossini didn't find much success with the piece’s many Italian performances. In a way it was too modern; it dared to deviate radically from the standards that everyone expected at the time. This is a live recording (so excuse the occasional rogue noises from the stage) made at the Rossini in Wildbad festival in 2017 with the Virtuosi Brunensis (an orchestra made up of Brno's finest stage musicians) and the Poznań Camerata Bach Choir, a fine set. © SM/Qobuz
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Opera - Released June 9, 2017 | Naxos

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason