This performance of Wolf-Ferrari's Il segreto di Susanna comes from a live semi-staged 2008 performance with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and the European Opera Centre, a training program for young European singers. The momentum and energy of the live performance, led by Vasily Petrenko, have an attractive vitality that's immediately apparent from the first notes of the perky overture. Petrenko tends to heighten the Romanticism of the score, sometimes at the expense of the lightness of the music. Portuguese soprano Dora Rodrigues sparkles delightfully as Susanna, whose secret is smoking, and her aria "Oh gioia la nube leggera" is especially lovely. As her jealous husband Count Gil, Spanish baritone Marc Canturri is dramatically potent and sings with appealing lyricism, but as his volume increases, so does a distracting vibrato. There's good chemistry between them, though, that makes for a generally strong presentation of this little gem. The album also includes five songs from the composer's rarely performed collection Canzoniere Italiano. The group, titled Serenata, forms a small song cycle that lasts less than 10 minutes. It has a gentle lyricism, but the music is not especially memorable, except for the last song, "Commiato." Canturri's singing here has the same troubling unfocused vibrato, and there are places where his intonation is less than precise. Avie's sound is clear, but while the orchestra is captured cleanly, it seems a little too forward, and the prominence of the bass end of the spectrum gives the production a weightiness inappropriate to the airiness of the subject and music.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Eddins
|Il segreto di Susanna|
|Serenata - Cinque canti per baritono|