Jessica Pratt / Carmela Remigio / Riccardo Frizza

Donizetti: Il Castello di Kenilworth

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The neglect of Donizetti's Il Castello di Kenilworth is hard to understand. The opera was first performed in 1829, as Elisabetta al Castello di Kenilworth, and it was the first in a series of operas devoted to Tudor England; it's far less common than Anna Bolena (1830) and Maria Stuarda (1834). Those operas may have refined the formula a bit, but it was this work that created many of the moves. It has rarely been recorded, and this live performance from the Donizetti Festival in Bergamo will be welcomed by Donizetti fans. The plot, taken from the novel Kenilworth by Sir Walter Scott, revolves around a visit by Queen Elizabeth to the titular castle, forcing the Earl of Leicester to hide his new bride in a prison from the possibly disapproving Queen. There she is assaulted by the Earl's horse-keeper, leading to machinations and recriminations. The real star of the show is veteran opera conductor Riccardo Frizza, who keeps the action moving and finds the many signs of the later Donizetti. Sample the hunt duet "Della caccia il lieto segno" to hear how Donizetti was developing the integration of action and melody that would soon make him the primary influence on the young Verdi. The singers run from adequate (Jessica Pratt as Elisabetta) to compelling (Carmela Remigio as the young bride Amelia). Recommended, and essential for Donizetti lovers.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Il castello di Kenilworth
1 00:54
2 04:24
3 02:13
4 03:46
5 03:22
6 02:33
7 02:17
8 04:02
9 07:17
10 01:13
11 03:43
12 03:17
13 05:59
14 02:37
15 01:58
16 06:37
17 03:34
18 03:22
19 02:13
20 02:00
21 05:43

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Il castello di Kenilworth
1 01:32
2 03:43
3 04:55
4 04:00
5 06:47
6 07:18
7 04:58
8 01:48
9 04:18
10 04:22
11 05:10
12 03:59
13 04:23
blue highlight denotes track pick