Opera Rara – the world's foremost bel canto specialist record label – has announced the full line-up of recordings and releases for 2009.
Five new recordings will be released during the next twelve months, including complete operas by Donizetti, Offenbach and Mercadante, while a further three complete operas will be recorded for release in 2010.
The first recording will be in the shops next month. Mercadante's Virginia has long required a reliable studio recording. Although completed in 1850 this opera was not performed until 1866, as Mercadante refused to make alterations requested by the censors. It was only after a regime change that he premiered the score at the Teatro San Carlo, Naples. Opera Rara's cast for this recording features Susan Patterson (Virginia), Paul Charles Clarke (Appio), Charles Castronovo (Icilio), Stefano Antonucci (Virginio), Andrew Foster-Williams (Marco), Mark Le Brocq (Valerio), Katherine Manley (Tullia) with the Geoffrey Mitchell Choir and the London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Maurizio Benini.
May brings a recording of Ricci's Corrado d'Altamura. This dramma lirico opened at La Scala in 1841. Set in 12th-century Sicily, this highly dramatic plot tells of betrayal and revenge. Dimitra Theodossiou is Delizia with Dmitry Korchak (Roggero), James Westman (Corrado), Andrew Foster-Williams (Giffredo), Ann Taylor (Bonello), Cora Burggraaf (Margarita), Camilla Roberts (Isabella) and Mark Wilde (Il Marchesse) with the Geoffrey Mitchell Choir and the Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Roland Böer.
Donizetti fans will be pleased in September by the news of the release of Parisina, following on from a concert performance last December. This gripping opera comes from a particuarly fruitful period in the Donizetti's output and was premiered in Florence in 1833. The plot is unusually dark, even for an early romantic melodramma. Opera Rara's studio recording features a strong cast led by Carmen Giannattasio (Parisina) with José Bros (Ugo), Dario Solari (Azzo), Nicola Ulivieri (Ernesto) and Ann Taylor (Imelda) with the Geoffrey Mitchell Choir and the London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by David Parry.
Opera Rara returns to its roots in operetta with a complete recording of Offenbach's Vert-Vert in November. This witty, sophisticated and suble piece features Toby Spence as Valentin/Vert-Vert with Thora Einarsdottir (Mimi), Jennifer Larmore (La Corilla), Franck Leguérinel (Baladon), Mark Le Brocq (Binet), Sébastien Droy (Bellcour), Mark Stone (Le Comte), Loïc Félix (Bergerac), Anne-Marie Owens (Madamoiselle Paturelle), Lucy Crowe (Bathilde), Ann Taylor (Emma) and Franck Lopez (Maniquet/Directeur) with the Geoffrey Mitchell Choir and the Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by David Parry.
November also sees the release of a disc of Rossini songs, in Volume 13 of Opera Rara's Il Salotto series. Rossini was famed as both a gourmet and a wit and in this latest release, the label presents a programme of tasty morsels from Rossini's musical cusine. Mireille Delunsch, Jennifer Larmore, Catheine Wyn-Rogers, Lawrence Brownlee, Brindley Sherratt, Mark Wilde, the Geoffrey Mitchell Choir and Malcolm Martineau (piano) come together for an enticing musical feast.
Three of Opera Rara's 2009 recordings are based on live performances. The first recording this year will be Rossini's Ermione. In addition to the studio recording they will be putting on a concert performance at the Royal Festival Hall on Saturday 28 March (tickets available from the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Southbank Centre). The cast is led by Carmen Giannattasio with Colin Lee, Paul Nilon, Patricia Bardon, Loïc Félix, Graeme Broadbent, Bülent Bezdüz, Victoria Simmonds and Rebecca Bottone with the Geoffrey Mitchel Choir and the London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by David Parry.
The next volume in their 'Essential Opera Rara' series will be highlights from Mercadante's I Normanni a Parigi. The cast includes Judith Howarth, Barry Banks, Riccardo Novaro, Katerina Karnéus and Graeme Broadbent with the Geoffrey Mitchell Choir and the Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Stuart Stratford.
In September, the company returns to the Royal Opera House to record their two concert performances of Donizetti's Linda di Chamounix conducted by Sir Mark Elder, which take place on 7 and 14 September. No further details of casting are yet known until the 2009-10 Covent Garden season is announced, but Cuban American soprano Eglise Gutierrez's website indicates that she will be playing Linda.
The company's final recording for 2009 is Donizetti's Maria di Rohan with Sir Mark Elder conducting the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. The cast includes Christopher Purves, Krassimira Stoyanova, José Bros, Enkelejda Shkosa and Brindley Sherratt with the Geoffrey Mitchell Choir. In addition to this studio recording there will be a concert performance at the Royal Festival Hall on Saturday 7 November.
In short, another mouthwatering feast of recordings for Opera Rara in 2009.
Other 2009 previews:
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