Even serious Rossini fans might be confused to learn of the existence of an opera called Eduardo e Cristina: the opera has only very occasionally been recorded, and this live performance, from Germany's Rossini in Wildbad festival in 2017, was apparently the modern premiere. Its obscurity has been due to the fact that it is a "centone" or pasticcio, assembled by Rossini from earlier works; its libretto was also assembled from various sources. Annotator Charles Jernigan makes the relevant points that 1) Bach's Mass in B minor, BWV 232, was a pasticcio as well, and 2) Rossini's opera was probably the last such work by a major classical composer. The effectiveness of such a work depends on how well the librettists did their job in fitting new words to preexisting music, and although this is not top-notch Rossini, it was quite popular in its day. No less than Lord Byron reported seeing it in Venice and pronounced it a hit, noting that Rossini himself played the harpsichord (although a piano is used here). The plot, taking place in "Sweden in the olden time" (the lead role of Carlo is supposedly King Charles VIII, although relationships to historical events are tenuous), is reasonably coherent, skillfully linking a military story to one of secret romance and marriage. There are several scenes that pack a punch. Sample "Arresta il colpo" and "Ah no, non fu riposo," where Carlo's daughter Christina dreams of and worries about the fate of her husband, the Swedish general Eduardo (this is also a female singer, an alto). There are strong choral scenes, well-executed by the Camerata Bach Choir, Poznán, and the conductor, Rossini specialist Gianluigi Gelmetti, keeps things moving along. The multinational cast of singers, led by Silvia Dalla Benetta as Cristina, phones nothing in. Although the sound is not up to the standard of other live productions, this item will be welcomed by Rossini fans.
AllMusic Review by James Manheim
Track Listing - Disc 1
|Eduardo e Cristina|
Track Listing - Disc 2
|Eduardo e Cristina|