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…

Joachim Raff: Benedetto Marcello

Here’s yet another very effective German opera post-Weber but not by Wagner! We hear and see so few of these! I was quite taken in the past two years with…

World-Premiere Recording: Montemezzi’s One-Act L’incantesimo (1943) Weaves a Spell

Here, from a performance (apparently unstaged) in the hall of the Milan Conservatory (on October 26, 2018), is a one-act opera by Italo Montemezzi (1875-1952), followed by an early Debussy…