Belisario + Bonus Track Zampieri in Roberto Devere
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Tragédie lyrique 3 parties / Mara Zampieri (Antonina), Renato Bruson (Belisario), Vittorio Terranova (Alamiro)... - Chœur et orch. du théâtre Colon de Buenos Aires, dir. Gianfranco Masini (Live, Buenos Aires) + Mara Zampieri dans Roberto Devereux
Donizettis "Belisario" hatte das Pech dirket nach "Lucia" zu kommen (1836) und geriet vermutlich deshalb in Vergessenheit. Daran konnten auch die paar wenigen Aufführungen im 20.Jahrhundert nichts ändern. Für Donizetti-Einsteiger ist der "Belisario" ideal - in ihm steckt der gesamte Donizetti.
( J. Fromholzer )
Der Souffleur spielt für mich keine Rolle ,da er in der CD-version kaum zu hören ist.
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The live performance from the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires in 1981 is captured in very good sound. There is a fair amount of rustling and foot steps in the first scene during the exit of the chorus, stage right, but there is little to distract from the listening pleasure for the bel canto aficionado.
The story is fairly plausible, and nowhere near as absurd as Verdi's Ernani or I Masnadieri, but neither does Donizetti's music come anywhere near Verdi's gift for unusual solutions to 'usual' operatic situations. I kept thinking it was a shame Verdi didn't set Belisario to music.
Belisario is not in the same league as Lucia di Lammermoor, which I've always rather liked, but the lack of thematic inspiration causes the attention span to dwindle, especially in the light of all the I-IV-V-I cadences and sewing machine style churning. The overture sets the tone. It opens gravely, as it should in this 'tragic' story, then, pop goes the allegro, and all is frothy and shallow. These two 'moods' alternate like twin cuckoo clocks throughout this opera.
And this isn't Rossini either. I love Rossini, even his lesser works. He had a gift for melody and a lilting effervescence of great inventiveness that never bores. Donizetti, and Bellini for that matter, got caught in some limbo of rebellion against the Rossini style. They were veering towards what Verdi perfected. Donizetti's charming comedies L'elisir d'amore, La filled du régiment and Don Pasquale are his most successful compositions, they suited his temperament and style. His Lucia and Bellini's Norma, succeed on the merits of brilliant competence but, do not move me. But that's just me. I have tried for decades to appreciate Norma, for instance, but fail. I end up admiring Maria Callas's determination to make the Druid Priestess human but the music puts me to sleep. A grave failing on my part that may correct itself with age.
If you love Donizetti this is an excellent recording of an opera that has never received a commercial recording. For good reason if you ask me. Some works are obscure because they are not good. Scholars and completists may rejoice at the thought of every Donizetti opera being on record. I do not, and recording company executives are not that crazy. Not even at Opera Rara.
The three principal singers in this Belisario are outstandingly good. The audience goes wild for them, especially Zampieri. The audience, by the way, is very well-behaved. I heard no coughing or rustling, neither did I detect a prompter.
Recommended for those who like bel canto singing for its own sake. If it's Verdian drama you seek, look elsewhere.
English translations can be found on the web. This opera was admired by the young Verdi. I have two recordings and the one with Lenya Gencer is also excellent, but I prefer this one. Bruson and Zampieri are excellent.