Alberto Zedda

Rossini: L'Italiana in Algeri

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Festival productions can be hit or miss, depending on how much time the musicians have rehearsed together, and on the chemistry between them. This CD is an absolute hit, recorded at the 20th Rossini in Wildbad Festival. The singers beautifully embody their characters, while the orchestra (Virtuosi Brunensis with Alberto Zedda) is spirited and the Transylvania State Philharmonic Choir richly supportive. The energetic overture draws the listener into the opera's world, with the requisite full orchestra crescendo one expects of Rossini; the only difficulty is that the lower voices of the orchestra are not loud enough (the orchestra may be a bit sparse). This musically spot-on introduction sets the tone for the rest of the album. All the singers have a strong sense of musicality and very clear diction (not surprising, given that many of them are singing in their native Italian): this is especially important in recitatives and in rapid-fire, chaotic, often comedic ensemble numbers that are a hallmark of Rossini. The opera is interpreted so well that the listener can easily follow along even without a libretto. Especially noteworthy are the tenor Lawrence Brownlee, who plays Lindoro, and Lorenzo Regazzo who plays the imperious Mustapha. Brownlee's tenor is very expressive with a fast vibrato, dramatic and heartfelt, even if on occasion all the notes in his melismas are not perfectly defined. Regazzo's charismatic performance recalls an earlier opera star, Tom Krause, and his character's mission and pompousness are comically conveyed. This is not to say that the other singers are any less worthy on this album, for Bruno de Simone's bass is as clear and agile as a tenor's, Marianna Pizzolato's contralto is passionate while always maintaining strong vocal control, and Giulio Mastrototaro's solo is quite enjoyable. Perhaps the only major criticism one could make of this album is that Elvira's timbre does not match the others, as it is very bright (but this is in no way a criticism of the quality of her singing). Fans of The Marriage of Figaro will most certainly like this album, as the opera deals with common themes of infidelity, separated lovers, and trickery. In sum, each element here works, from the harpsichord accompaniment to the singers to the score to the orchestra. Highly recommended and highly entertaining.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
L'Italiana in Algeri
1 7:49
2 7:06
3 1:49
4 6:49
5 1:09
6 4:08
7 5:20
8 1:17
9 1:13
10 7:25
11 2:55
12 3:22
13 0:34
14 2:22
15 4:06
16 2:18
17 9:05

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
L'Italiana in Algeri
1 1:54
2 0:55
3 1:28
4 2:22
5 1:11
6 0:56
7 0:27
8 4:01
9 1:56
10 6:08
11 0:41
12 9:40
13 0:33
14 2:33
15 0:52
16 0:56
17 5:40
18 0:46
19 1:20
20 1:16
21 6:00
22 0:54
23 3:33
24 6:23
25 1:55
26 2:41
blue highlight denotes track pick