Recorded in 1975/6.
‘It is, in fact, the polish of the ensemble work that is so striking in the present recording: the cast – in which there is not a weak member – sounds as if it had been used to working together for ages rather than assembled for the occasion, and the sheer lightness and clean balance of the ensemble singing, with no individual part ever protruding unduly, are most attractive features. Taken in conjunction with the neat, spring-heeled orchestral playing apparent right from the Overture, this represents a distinct feather in Barenboim’s cap.’ Gramophone, 1977
The Secret Marriage has become the only one of Domenico Cimaroso’s operas to hold the stage,and its survival is well deserved. Based on a play The Clandestine Marriage by David Garrick and George Coleman the Elder, it met with huge success staying in St Petersburg for a few years, and on his way back to Naples stopped in Vienna for a lengthy stay. Emperor Leopold II offered him lodgings and a salary, and very possibly asked him to write a new opera. The premiere took place on 7 February 1792, the very day that Leopold had signed a treaty with Prussia to oppose the French revolutionary government. Leopold was in the theatre, and after the thunderous reception had died down, the Emperor asked all the performers to join him for dinner, after which he commanded a repeat performance – a unique occurrence in the history of opera.