- Don Falcone, opera in 2 acts
The two acts of Niccolò Jommelli's opera buffa "Don Falcone" were probably performed as intermezzi between the acts of a play. Jommelli was a far more modest talent than Christoph Willibald Gluck, who was born the same year, but it's easy to see why "Don Falcone" was broadly popular during the 20 years following its premiere in 1754. The plot is formulaic -- a pair of young lovers outwits an older man who has designs on the young lady. Jommelli's music is consistently graceful and charming; his arias are lyrical and virtuosic and his recitatives are more animated and expressive than those of much opera from that period. Soprano Linda Campanella is the star of the recording; she is radiant and absolutely secure in a role that inhabits the same stratospheric regions as the Queen of the Night, and her characterization is charmingly witty. Tenor Gian Luca Pasolini is very nearly her equal; he sings with passion, but his voice shows some strain in the highest register. As the older man, baritone Davide Rocca is adequate, but he is not vocally in the same league as the others. The Orchestra Nuova Cameristica, conducted by Fabrizio Dorsi, who rescued the score and created this performing edition, sounds underpowered. The recording is a little close, and its lack of warmth doesn't flatter the singers.