Saturday, April 23, 2011

Bellini - La Sonnambula - Bartoli, Florez, De Marchi







Cecilia Bartoli continues her Maria Malibran homage with one of the historic mezzo’s most famous roles. The two leading bel canto super stars of today, Cecilia Bartoli and Juan Diego Florez join forces for the first time in the most complete and authentic recording of Bellini's La sonnambula. He is all vocal fireworks and liquid tone, she luxurious of voice, dramatically intense.  It is the first ever recording with a 'mezzo-soprano' in the lead role, and the first ever recording with a period instrument orchestra. The orchestra plays at 430 Hz, Maria Malibran, the most famous opera singer of the XIXth Century which means that the music sounds a quartertone lower than what the eye sees on the page. Alessandro de Marchi’s broad experience of the operatic world stands him in good stead, though his occasional frenetic pacing may seem exaggerated. Curiously, one of the most important instruments in this version is the triangle, whose reverberations—reminiscent of Alpine bells?—linger after many of the ensembles. Many of the cadenzas sung by Cecilia Bartoli are those used by the great 19th Century interpreter of the role, Maria Malibran. 


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