Natalie Dessay / Evelino Pidò / Francesco Meli

Bellini: La Sonnambula

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AllMusic Review by

This recording of La Sonnambula is attractive (and significant) for a number of reasons. It's the first to use the critical edition of the score by Alessandro Roccatagliati and Luca Zoppelli, to which some music has been restored and which has corrected the orchestration and restored the original keys of various numbers for which transposition has become routine. The edition was unveiled at Santa Fe, in a production featuring soprano Natalie Dessay and conductor Evelino Pidò, both of whom perform here, and they are two of the other main reasons for the success of this CD. Pidò leads the Orchestra and Choirs of l'Opéra de Lyon in an exceptionally supple and rhythmically fluid performance. His reading of Bellini's accompaniments is never perfunctory, but attuned to the drama and to driving the action on-stage. The orchestra and chorus both perform with exquisite intonation and precision. Natalie Dessay seems born to sing Amina, both musically and dramatically. The directness and the gossamer delicacy of her voice perfectly suit Amina's guileless character, and she has strength, artistry, and technical facility to handle the role's extreme demands with apparent ease. She is especially spectacular in "Come per me sereno" -- her voice is both velvety and brilliant. Dessay has a capable partner in tenor Francesco Meli as Elvino. He sings with full, rounded tone in the best bel canto tradition and is especially effective in his passionate interactions with Amina, but in other places, he overdoes the passion and comes across as mannered and overwrought. The remaining soloists, few of whom are well known internationally, round out a fine cast. Baritone Carlo Colombara, mezzo Sara Mingardo, and soprano Jaël Azzaretti are uniformly first-rate, singing with pure tone and dramatic urgency. Virgin's sound is clean, spacious, and well balanced.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
La sonnambula, opera
1
2:16 Amazon
2
2:01 Amazon
3
3:46 Amazon
4
5:21 Amazon
5
4:36 Amazon
6
2:09 Amazon
7
2:41 Amazon
8
5:05
9
2:55
10
2:04 Amazon
11
4:45 Amazon
12
3:13 Amazon
13
3:15 Amazon
14
4:06 Amazon
15
6:24 Amazon
16
3:44 Amazon
17
2:31 Amazon
18
3:58 Amazon
19
3:13 Amazon
20
2:00 Amazon
21
4:44 Amazon
22
2:55 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick