SAVERIO MERCADANTE (1795-1870): Virginia.
Catalogue Number: 03K034
Label: Opera Rara
Description: Written in 1855 but, due to its subject matter denied performances by Neapolitan censors, this adaptation of a story from Livy was finally produced in 1866, making it the old composer's last-produced opera. Mercadante changed with the times and this score shows bel canto receding into the distance. One soprano aria requires that sort of agility; all the rest demands steel lungs - from all concerned. The orchestration remains colorful and often striking, the arc of the drama leading inexorably to the massive climax of Act III with its two sextets, and the old, blind composer received 27 curtain calls at its second performance at the San Carlo. 2 CDs. Italian-English libretto. Susan Patterson (soprano), Paul Charles Clarke, Charles Castronovo (tenors), Stefano Antonucci (baritone), Geoffrey Mitchell Choir, London Philharmonic Orchestra; Maurizio Benini.