Riccardo Muti

Saverio Mercadante: I due Figaro

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Riccardo Muti's 2011 performances of Saverio Mercadante's I due Figaro (The Two Figaros) were the first it had received since 1835, and this Ducale release of the presentation at the Teatro Alighieri in Ravenna, Italy, is the world-premiere recording. The story of this comic opera is a sequel to events in the Beaumarchais plays, which inspired Rossini's Barber of Seville and Mozart's Marriage of Figaro; the characters of Figaro, Susanna, Cherubino, and the Count and Countess Almaviva are seen a decade later in another farce of disguises and deception. The music is very much in the animated style of Rossini, with an exotic quality that Mercadante discovered on his visit to Madrid, and the mood of the opera is brightened by the combination of Neapolitan tunefulness and Spanish dance rhythms. With Mario Cassi as Figaro, Eleonora Buratto as Susanna, Annalisa Stroppa as Cherubino, Antonio Poli as the Count, and Asude Karayavuz as the Countess, the talented cast is energetic and lively, especially in the rapidfire patter, though there is some lovely bel canto singing in the many cavatinas that admirers of Donizetti and Bellini will appreciate. The Orchestra Giovanile Luigi Cherubini gives Muti a sunny instrumental blend to work with, and the woodwinds stand out for their distinctive timbres. Considering that this is a live recording, the audio is quite clear and relatively noise-free, and the orchestra has a warm, vibrant presence.

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