Michele Mariotti / Orchestra del Teatro Comunale di Bologna

Rossini: Overtures

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The overtures of Gioachino Rossini have long outlived their intended purpose as introductory music to his long-forgotten operas, and have instead become concert staples in their own right. While the opera Il barbiere di Siviglia is often produced and remains popular, and some of the other operas are periodically revived, most listeners only know Rossini through the nine selections on this hybrid SACD by Michele Mariotti and the Orchestra del Teatro Comunale di Bologna. The playing on this 2018 Pentatone release is quite clean and often spectacular in its virtuosity, and the multichannel reproduction conveys the crispness and clarity of the playing with great fidelity. Mariotti's tempos tend to be brisk, and the humor of the music often comes through the seemingly madcap speed of the music. Of course, the famous Rossini crescendo is also exploited to maximum excitement, though the orchestra delivers superb effects over the full dynamic range, even in the softer passages that add suspense to the big build-ups. While many collections of the overtures follow the same essential program, albeit in varying order, few are likely to compete with this recording's zestful performances and sparkling sound. First-rate and highly recommended.

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