Friday, January 28, 2011

Antonio Salieri – Falstaff - Alberto Veronesi, Guido Cantelli Orchestra Milan








Gluck is supposed to have said of a piece of Salieri's, "Puzza di musica"  "It reeks of music"  and if you listen to this recording you will understand why Gluck held his disciple in such esteem. It is worth noting that Salieri held the most important musical job in Europe, court composer to the Habsburg Imperial court Birth House of Antonio Salieri in Legnago (Venetoand numbered Gluck, Haydn, and Mozart as friends and colleagues, and Beethoven, Schubert, Hummel, and Liszt as pupils.

Salieri's "Falstaff, ossia le tre burli" ("Falstaff, or the three hoaxes"), to a libretto by Carlo Prospero Gianfranceschi, was first performed in Vienna in 1799, making it one of his last operas. It is a "dramma giocoso"..., that is, an opera buffa with some serious elements. This is an interesting time in the history of Italian opera -- Mozart's great operas were almost a decade in the past, and Rossini's about a decade away. Stylistically, though, we are closer to the classical than the bel canto. The various ensembles (including extended finales to each of the two acts) are reminiscent of Mozart, Salieri obviously learned much from his great contemporary. Some of the numbers, too, have an element of opera seria parody, just as we find, say, in Fiordiligi's aria "Come scoglio" in "Cosi fan tutte". The performance here, by authentic Italian forces, does justice to the idiomatic character of classical Italian opera buffa. So much of the action takes place in secco recitatives and it is essential that the singers impart the nuance of the Italian language to it. The wonderful ensemble is ably supported by Alberto Veronesi and his Milanese forces. 


ape, scans

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