Rossini’s Maometto II, in its Full Original Naples Version, Comes to Life Thanks to Flexible Young Singers at the “Rossini in Wildbad” Festival

I have written with enthusiasm about numerous recordings from the Rossini festival that is held each summer – well, except 2020 – in Wildbad (in Germany’s Black Forest region). One…

Hérold’s Le pré aux clercs (1832), a Missing Link between Rossini and Offenbach, Done to Perfection

Good rule of thumb: if one or two arias from a forgotten opera have continued to be performed and recorded, and the overture as well, then the whole work is…

Gounod’s Early Mastery in Opera and Sacred Music: World-premiere recordings of scenes and choral works

This is the sixth volume in the “Prix de Rome” series of CD sets produced by the admirable Center for French Romantic Music, a research organization located in the Palazzetto…

A First-Rate Serious Opera by Rossini with Pre-Echoes of The Barber of Seville

Another good-to-superb recording of a little-known Rossini opera, thanks to the Rossini in Wildbad festival. The recording blends three concert performances from July 2017 and features Silvia Dalla Benetta as…

A Third Catarina Cornaro Opera: Not Halévy or Donizetti but Franz Lachner, and It’s Good!

Opera lovers may think they have never heard any music by Franz (or Franz Paul) Lachner. But, if they’ve enjoyed Cherubini’s Medea, they almost surely have heard – and been…

Three Engaging New Song Cycles, Sung to Perfection on an Award-Winning CD by Soprano Deborah Sternberg

The general level of musical performance nowadays has risen around the world. Well-tuned orchestras pop up everywhere, and highly capable fiddlers, keyboard-ticklers, and singers (I’m tempted to write, in the…

Four Song Cycles by Saint-Saëns, Superbly Rendered by the Mellifluous Baritone Tassis Christoyannis

I raved about Greek-born baritone Tassis Christoyannis’s CD of songs by Félicien David and a follow-up 2-CD set of songs by Édouard Lalo . In American Record Guide, the late…

Paisiello’s 1785 Opera about “Trofonio’s Cave” Adds Welcome and Hilarious Complications to a Libretto Previously Set by Salieri

The opera world in Mozart’s day recycled successful plots and characters much as the worlds of film and Broadway theater do today. In October 1785, in Vienna, Antonio Salieri had…

Cimarosa’s The Impresario in Distress Gets Its First Modern Recording

The Italian phrase in angustie means something like “in distress,” “in a tight bind,” or “under pressure from all sides.” Angustie derives from the Latin “angustus”—narrow—and is related to the…

Auber’s Siren Enchants Anew, in a Long-Needed First Recording

Auber’s comic operas – once a mainstay of theaters throughout Europe, the Americas, and perhaps beyond – are slowly making their way back into the lives of music lovers through…