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Donizetti: Linda di Chamounix
One of the biggest successes of Donizetti’s career, Linda di Chamounix was performed all over the operatic world in the decades following its 1842 Viennese premiere, then fell into neglect. The live concert performances recorded by Opera Rara at Covent Garden, in 2009, were its first there since 1887.
This is one of Donizetti’s finest achievements, aimed at the musically sophisticated Viennese public and featuring some of his best arias, ensembles and choruses, including the brilliant soprano showpiece ‘O luce di quest’anima’; in this semi-seria opera this much-admired aria is sung by Linda (Eglise Gutiérrez), who has fallen in love with Carlo (Stephen Costello – a recent Richard Tucker Award winner) believing him to be a painter, though he is in reality a nobleman. Packed off to Paris to stop her falling into the clutches of his uncle, the dubious Marchese de Boisfleury (Alessandro Corbelli), Linda is discovered in compromising circumstances by her father Antonio (Ludovic Tézier), who curses her, causing her to lose her reason. Supported by the loyal Pierotto (Marianna Pizzolato), Linda returns to Chamounix and sanity and, eventually, to the arms of the man she loves. Sir Mark Elder conducts the recent critical edition of this outstanding score.
The 3CD set comes with a lavishly illustrated book including a complete libretto with an English translation, comprehensive article and synopsis by the eminent 19th-century musical scholar, Jeremy Commons.
“Dramatically conducted by Elder, the ROH casts the opera without a weak link. Eglise Gutierrez’s soprano shines most in her glittering high notes; Stephen Costello’s elegant, Italianate Carlo is youthful enough to retain sympathy; the contrasting serious and buffo bass parts of Linda’s father, Antonio, and the Marquis are superbly taken by Ludovic Tézier and Alessandro Corbelli...All in all, the strongest possible case for reviving this unjustly neglected piece.” Sunday Times, 22nd May 2011 ****
“Mark Elder's conducting is punchy and delicate by turns, the chorus and orchestra responding to his vigilant control of dynamics...The best performance comes from Alessandro Corbelli, in a part that could have been written for him. Ludovic Tezier spins a beautiful proto-Verdian line as Linda's father, and Balint Szabo is his equal ...As a whole the performance does the composer proud.” Gramophone Magazine, August 2011
“What this recording of 2009 concert performances at Covent Garden underlines is that it contains some of the mature Donizetti’s most refined and melancholic music...Mark Elder conducts a characteristically stylish performance. Eglise Gutiérrez has the musicality to impress in the title role, and Stephen Costello makes an attractive Carlo – a valuable addition to Opera Rara’s Italian series.” Financial Times, 16th July 2011 ****
“[Elder] infuses the whole performance with conviction, right from the rather impressive overture...All the singers are up to their roles, and the playing of the orchestra is bold; even the most conventional passages sweep you along. This opera has been recorded before, but not to this standard. It's hard to imagine this set ever being replaced, or even rivalled.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2011 *****
“Alessandro Corbelli, seasoned as he is, is in his element...As they are so good, it would be unfair to say that Gutierrez rises above her colleagues, except in range, but her singing deserves full praise...Stephen Costello produces a clear voice, without strain and well supported...The chorus, orchestra and conductor join the singers in making this a set to captivate bel canto enthusiasts.” International Record Review, October 2011
BBC Music Magazine
Opera Choice - August 2011
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Donizetti: Linda di Chamounix
Recorded: Sept. 11-13th, 2009 at Teatro Sociale di Bergamo
Majella Cullagh (Linda), Roberto Iuliano (Carlo Visconte di Sirval), Chiara Chialli (Pierotto), Giuseppe Altomare (Antonio), Alessandra Fratelli (Maddalena), Maurizio Leoni (Il Marchese di Boisfleury) & Simone Del Savio (Il Prefetto)
Orchestra & Chorus Bergamo Musica Festival Gaetano Donizetti, Clemente Vito
Linda di Chamounix is one of Donizetti most favourite semiseria operas. The opera contains one of Donizetti’s most dazzling scores, with many showpiece arias. Dynamic are proud to have internationally renowned Irish soprano Majella Cullagh in the leading role.
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