Rossini: Eduardo e Cristina. © 2019 Naxos Rights (Europe) Ltd

CD Spotlight

Imaginative Touches

Rossini's 'Eduardo e Cristina',
recommended by GERALD FENECH

'... sensitively dramatic singing, invigorating playing and some glowing conducting from Gianluigi Gelmetti ...'


Premiered in 1819 in Venice, Eduardo e Cristina was a huge success in its day, despite its being one of the last 'centone' operas - those assembled from previously existing material - by a major composer. The piece, whose libretto was also a recycled affair after Giovanni Schmidt's initial effort, was written as a vehicle for the debut of Carolina Cortesi, daughter of Rossini's friend Giuseppe Cortesi, who was the impresario of the Teatro San Benedetto in Venice. With time running out, Rossini opted for the 'centone' style of composing to make sure he finished the work in time. And so he did to rapturous acclaim; indeed, the opera held its own for around twenty years with over a hundred productions from Italy to Munich to St Petersburg, and as far away as New York.

Listen — Rossini: Sinfonia (Eduardo e Cristina)
(CD1 track 1, 0:01-1:00) © 2017 Rossini in Wildbad,
2019 Naxos Rights (Europe) Ltd :

But as Romanticism took over, the work soon fell into oblivion, and it remains the only Rossini stage-work to remain unstaged at the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro, his town of birth. It is the least recorded of the composer's thirty-nine operas, and this 2017 live recording is only the second time that it has been made available on disc. The only other endeavour was way back in 1997, a recording also from the 'Rossini in Wildbad Festival'. Listening to the work makes one wonder why all this neglect? The music is superb, the story plausible and the orchestration brims with some of Rossini's most imaginative touches. Indeed, one will surely find oneself in a quandary trying to choose the 'hits' of this creation.

Listen — Rossini: O ritiro, che soggiorno (Eduardo e Cristina Act I)
(CD1 track 8, 0:07-0:42) © 2017 Rossini in Wildbad,
2019 Naxos Rights (Europe) Ltd :

There are so many exquisite melodies to enjoy. So why not wallow in the many beauties of this masterful Rossini 'centone'? This 2017 Wildbad revival has many positives going for it: sensitively dramatic singing, invigorating playing and some glowing conducting from Gianluigi Gelmetti, whose intimate knowledge of the score allows one to discern all the hidden 'bel canto' secrets of this operatic rarity.

Listen — Rossini: A voi dolci intorno al core (Eduardo e Cristina Act II)
(CD2 track 24, 1:43-2:25) © 2017 Rossini in Wildbad,
2019 Naxos Rights (Europe) Ltd :

Highly acceptable live sound and adequate annotations complete another important milestone in Naxos's ongoing Rossini cycle. Recommended.

Copyright © 18 August 2019 Gerald Fenech,
Gzira, Malta




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