Gaetano Donizetti's Caterina Cornaro was one of the composer's last operas, immediately preceding the great Don Pasquale. It's a lyric tragedy that had promising subject matter: the titular Cypriot queen was an actual individual (1454-1510) who was deposed by the Republic of Venice and exiled with an appropriate amount of soprano lamentation. The opera bombed at its premiere in Naples, partly, Donizetti feared, because censors took a bite out of its dramatic coherence, and it lay untouched for another 130 years. Montserrat Caballé was one of its early champions, and it is generally thought to require a soprano with a hefty dose of tragic sense. Italian soprano Carmen Giannattasio has the right sound in this recording by the specialist label Opera Rara, which has devoted itself to lost repertory of the bel canto years. It gets relatively big-name support from the BBC Symphony under David Parry, perhaps because this is a true rarity: a studio-recording premiere of a work by a major composer. As such, the release deserves attention from Donizetti fans and lovers of bel canto opera in general.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by James Manheim
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2