Margherita d’Anjou was Giacomo Meyerbeer’s fourth opera in Italian and his first real success. After an absence from the stage of about 150 years, it returned at the 43rd Festival della Valle d'Itria in an outstanding production. Director Alessandro Talevi’s ironical setting - where the War of the Roses takes place at the London Fashion Week - is perfectly matched by the elegant direction of Fabio Luisi with the Orchestra Internazionale d’Italia. The opera, which belongs to the semi-serious genre, moves from the warlike tones of Act One to the idyllic ones of Act Two, where both female protagonists appear: the queen, a soprano, and the wife, a contralto; both seek the love of an heroic tenor equally daring in battle and in music.
The Festival della Valle d'Itria mounted this lavish production of Gioachino Rossini's 1813 opera Aureliano in Palmira, in July 2011. Aureliano in Palmira movie It was staged and performed at the Palazzo Ducale, in Martina Franca, Italy. Aureliano in Palmira video The cast includes Bogdan Mihai as Aureliano, Franco Fagioli as Arsace, Maria Aleida as Zenobia and Asude Karayavuz as Publia, with the special participation of Louise Frank as Vecchia Zenobia. Aureliano in Palmira film The Orchestra Internazionale d'Italia and the Coro Slovacco di Bratislava provide additional musical accompaniment, with Pavol Prochazka serving as chorus master and Giacomo Sagripanti conducting.
Meyerbeer’s opera, written four years before Rossini’s Semiramide, is based on an adaptation, probably done by Count Ludovico Piossasco Feys, of the libretto written by Pietro Metastasio in the far-off year of 1729, which had already been set to music several times by leading composers of the eighteenth century. Count Piossasco Feys worked skilfully and transformed the Metastasio tragedy, based on the classical alternation recitative - solo aria, into a more agile, modern structure, including a smaller number of arias, duets, trios and ensemble pieces. Meyerbeer’s opera was written for one of the most esteemed singers of the day, Carolina Bassi, a performer with a great vocal range that enabled her to give of her best both in contralto and in soprano roles. In the early part of the opera, where Semiramide dresses in men’s clothing, passing herself off as her son, Meyerbeer writes her part using a rather low register. Only after she has revealed her true nature as a woman can Semiramide free herself vocally and rise up to the higher notes of the soprano register.
After the success with critics and audiences of Ivanhoé (CDS 397/1-2), here is a new collaboration between Dynamic and the Valle d’Itria Festival to the publication of another Rossinian pastiche: Robert Bruce, first staged at the Paris Opera in 1846. The most interesting aspect of Robert Bruce was that Rossini, having left his retreat, decided to borrow material especially from La Donna del Lago, a contradictory work to which, thanks to the additions from other scores, he seemed to give a new equilibrium and a second chance. But it would be incorrect to say that Robert Bruce is an adaptation of that opera: in it we find passages from Zelmira, Mosé, Torvaldo e Dorlinska, Maometto II and Armida, skilfully put together by the composer Louis Niedermeyer.
Proserpine was staged at the Théàtre de l’Opéra on the evening of Tuesday 28th March 1803. During the première the enthusiasm of Paisiello’s supporters was drowned out by the demonstrations of disapproval of his opponents. Napoleon, who was in the audience, did not intervene but made a public declaration expressing his appreciation of this tragédie lyrique. Yet the opinion of the First Consul did not achieve the desired effect and the opera ran to only twelve more performances. Examining the opera more closely in a historical context, Paisiello’s Proserpine reveals eighteenth-century characteristics but at the same time looks forward to the nineteenth century, pre-announcing orientations that would be immediately developed by musicians of the following generations.