- Zelmira, opera
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Recorded live at the 2003 Edinburgh International Festival, this concert performance of Rossini's "Zelmira" is a triumph. It has all the spontaneity and verve of a live recording, and almost none of the drawbacks: audience noise is limited to applause, and the sound engineering is first-rate. Most importantly, the performance itself is excellent, vaulting it to the top of the list for this neglected work. The cast is headlined by Elizabeth Futral and bel canto specialist Bruce Ford, both of whom deliver top-notch performances. Ford's career-long immersion in Rossini is audible whenever he sings; he knows exactly how to extract the best from every phrase. And Futral has exactly the blend of qualities required for the title role -- solid range top to bottom, and the ability to mix dramatic exclamation with intricate ornamentation and wide leaps. When her only solo aria finally arrives in the second act finale, it proves to be well worth the wait. As Zelmira's confidante, Emma, Manuela Custer takes Rossini's characteristically difficult writing for the mezzo soprano voice in stride. In the role of Zelmira's husband, Ilo, Antonino Siragusa occasionally sounds taxed by the uncompromising high range of the role, particularly in his opening aria, "Cara! Deh attendimi!" But overall he deals admirably with the part and keeps pace with his colleagues. Mirco Palazzi's rich bass voice and aggressive delivery are well-matched to the role of Leucippo, a follower of Ford's Antenore; and Marco Vinco sings with unusual fluidity and agility in the role of the usurped king, Polidoro. Conductor Maurizio Benini finds just the right tempo throughout the performance, allowing Rossini's often busy textures to unfold with grace, humor, and weight when required. The Scottish Chamber Orchestra delivers a sharp orchestral texture that is perfectly balanced with the singers.
|Label:||Opera Rara Uk|