Donizetti: Pia De' Tolomei / Arrivabeni, Ciofi, Et Al
One of the formal weaknesses of the opera is that Rodrigo is a mezzo-soprano role, and that type of travesty never quite works; but even elsewhere, the fact that Pia is so passive, added to generally formulaic writing, keeps the opera from being a winner. Still, there are some fine Donizettian tunes and scenes, and it's worth hearing.
This live performance finds a remarkably committed cast struggling uphill against Donizetti's lack of true inspiration, but the singers turn out a satisfying experience in the end. The star is Patrizia Ciofi as Pia. She delivers a specific, focused reading, beautifully sung and filled with as much textual and tonal nuance as the score allows. Her voice has gained body in the middle and the top still gleams. Ghino is sung by tenor Dario Schmunck, and he exhibits a fine, ringing tenor and good Donizettian style; his opening aria and cabaletta and the second half of his duet with Nello are exciting, vigorous parts of the score, and he tears into them well. Baritone Andrew Schroeder has a nice snarl as Nello, but aside from the cabaletta to his duet with Ghino he has pretty ordinary music. Rodrigo is given similarly uninteresting music, and Laura Polverelli sings it well enough. The chorus sings with as much involvement as the cast, which is saying a great deal, and the orchestra plays with verve under Paolo Arrivabeni. Recommended for Donizetti completists.
--Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com
Italian/English libretto included.
Catalog Number: DYN-CDS488
Composer: Gaetano Donizetti
Conductor: Paolo Arrivabeni
Orchestra/Ensemble: Venice Teatro la Fenice Chorus, Venice Teatro la Fenice Orchestra
Performer: Andrew Schroeder, Carlo Cigni, Clara Polito, Daniel Borowski, Dario Schmunck, Francesco Meli, Laura Polverelli, Luca Favaron, Patrizia Ciofi