CHERUBINI: Le Sposo di tre marito di nessuna

Witness this Dynamic release of a forgotten Cherubini opera,
Le Sposo di tre marito di nessuna (Three engagements, no marriages).
First performed in 1783, three years before Mozart’s Le Nozze di
this playful, charming score foreshadows much of the rhythmic
vitality of the later masterpiece’s score, though without its unforgettable

The storyline points a little further ahead, however, to some of the
cynicism about human amatory impulses depicted in Cosi fan tutte. A
foolish older nobleman, Don Pistacchio, waits to meet his arranged bride,
Donna Rosa. But Donna Rosa’s former paramour, Don Martino, schemes to get her
back by convincing Pistacchio than Martino’s sister, Donna Lisetta, is
actually Donna Rosa. This scheme unravels at the end of act one, prompted by
the interfering Don Simone, Pistacchio’s uncle. But instead of a resolution,
the characters’ resentment and jealousy lead to further complications, with
on-the-rebound engagements to unsuitable partners, meant to spite one
another. Throwing in the lower-class couple of a trickster and his
girlfriend, manic couplings and uncouplings ensue; eventually Don Pistacchio
ends up with no bride after having three fiancÈes. Everyone else is happily
paired off.

Although the score ambles with a Mozartean flair, some of the plot
machinations are reminiscent of the great Rossini comedies. The end of act
one even has an ensemble of characters expressing their bewilderment and
frustration, as Rossini’s so often do, but Cherubini’s music plays down the
comic aspects where Rossini would have whipped up a crescendo of cries and
cackles. Well-played by the Orchestra Internazionale D’Italia under conductor
Dimitri Jurowski’s leadership, the score never fails to delight the ear, but
the melodies just do not stick the way Mozart’s do.

Perhaps a starry cast could help the music make a greater impression. Here
the voices offer enthusiasm and skill but seldom inspiration or beauty. The
three sopranos (Maria Laura Martorana, Rosa Anna Peraino, and Rosa Sorice)
tend to thin, edgy delivery. Tenor Emanuele D’Aguanno’s Don Martino has no
big romantic aria, which is just as well, considering his unremarkable tone.
The two baritones (Giulio Mastrototaro as Don Pistacchio and Gabriele Ribis
as the trickster Folletto) growl and bark as much as one would expect and
more than one would wish.

Despite the unprepossing singing, this set deserves a warm welcome. The
booklet photos suggest the production, apparently set in the 1920s, added its
own level of enjoyment; perhaps Dynamic should have produced a DVD, as they
have with increasing frequency. Unlikely to appear at a USA opera house soon,
Le Sposo di tre marito di nessuna reveals itself, on this Dynamic
set, to be an opera well worth reviving, both for its inherent musical
quality and the insights it provides to a rich era of operatic history.

Chris Mullins

image_description=Le Sposo di tre marito di nessuna
product_title=Luigi Cherubini: Le Sposo di tre marito di nessuna
product_by=Maria Laura Martorana, Emanuele DíAguanno, Giulio Mastrototaro, Rosa Anna Peraino, Vito Priante, Rosa Sorice, Gabriele Ribis, Italian International Orchestra, Dimitri Jurowski (cond.)
product_id=Dynamic CDS503 [2CDs]