Saturday, September 8, 2018

The Tenth Volume of Rossini’s “Sins”

courtesy of Naxos of America

This coming Friday Naxos will release the tenth volume in pianist Alessandro Marangoni’s project to record the music in the fourteen unpublished volumes of music that Gioachino Rossini composed between 1857 and his death in 1868, collected under the title Péchés de vieillesse (sins of old age). Furthermore, sales material that Naxos prepared in conjunction with this release declares that this will be the penultimate volume in the series. Since I have been indexing all of these recordings in iTunes, I should be able to determine just how many items there are that remain to be released; but I have not yet worked up the energy to do so! As usual, is currently processing pre-orders for the new volume.

The ninth volume featured performances by three vocalists, soprano Laura Giordano, tenor Alessandro Luciano, and baritone Bruno Taddia. The tenth volume also presents vocal selections, but all of them are sung by mezzo Giuseppina Bridelli. Even those who know Rossini only through The Barber of Seville are probably aware of how much Rossini enjoyed the mezzo voice and delighted in writing for it. Indeed, Rossini was so enamored of mezzos that he eventually married one of them, Isabella Colbran. By the time of the wedding, she had already sung leading roles in all of the seria operas that Rossini composed while living in Naples, as well as the title role in Semiramide, which was one of her final appearances.

Colbran died before Rossini began working on his Péchés de vieillesse compositions, but his preference for the mezzo voice survived her death. However, because the selections on this album were all written in the spirit of salon music, rather than grand opera, there is no reason to think of Bridelli as trying to “channel” Colbran in her performances. (Joyce DiDonato already did that in her 2009 Erato album.) Instead, Bridelli brings the lighter touch of the “salon spirit,” which Marangoni has established so well in all of the releases in this series, to her selections on this new album. The result is yet another thoroughly engaging journey of discovery through Rossini territory that well deserves the increased attention Marangoni has been giving it.

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