- Maometto II, opera
Rossini: Maometto II (1822 Venice version)by Brad Cohen
Naxos' 2004 release of "Maometto II" is based on Rossini's revised Venetian version of 1822, and so it represents a middle ground between the highly innovative Neapolitan original and the ultimately more successful (and conventional) French reworking, "Le siège de Corinthe." In this Venetian version, some of the vocal parts are simplified, many of the innovative scene structures of the original are revised into more traditional forms, and the plot is reworked to conform to Venetian tastes of the time -- most notably, the need for a happy ending and a full overture. The work is also notable for its emphasis on lower voices: mezzo soprano, contralto, and bass. There is not a single role for soprano, though there are two for tenor. Although assembled from live performances in July 2002, at the Rossini in Wildbad festival, the recording is well performed and engineered and is highly recommendable to anyone with an interest in the piece. Brad Cohen leads the Czech Chamber Soloists and Czech Philharmonic Choir in a clean, well-articulated, and energetic reading of the score. He highlights the elements of Rossini's orchestration that are universal in his works -- the woodwind interjections, the pulsing strings, the slowly building crescendos -- while always keeping the sound grounded in the world of serious drama. Denis Sedov is a convincing conqueror in the title role, taking the stage forcefully and singing with a gruff imperialism. Luisa Islam-Ali-Zade and Massimiliano Barbolini both sing capably in the roles of Anna and Paulo Erisso (the governor and his daughter, who has secretely fallen for Maometto in disguise), and Antonio de Gobbi's weighty bass is perfectly cast as the general Condulmiero. The most interesting singing on the album is done by contralto Anna Rita Gemmabella in the role of the general Calbo; her deep, rich, yet flexible voice is a kaleidoscope of colors, and she negotiates Rossini's intricate writing with apparent ease.
- Release Date:
Performance CreditsBrad Cohen Primary Artist
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