Magazine article Gramophone

'Semiramide': Bernasconi Semiramide

Magazine article Gramophone

'Semiramide': Bernasconi Semiramide

Article excerpt

'Semiramide' [GC] [GP]

Bernasconi Semiramide--Ah non e vano il pianto Bianchi La vendetta di Nino--Sinfonia Borghi La morte de Semiramide--Figlio diletto e caro Caldara Semiramide in Ascalona--Introduzione; Povera navicella Catel Semiramis--Dance No 2 Garcia Semiramis--Gia il perfido discese ... Al mio pregar t'arrendi Handel/Vinci Semiramide riconosciuta--Fuggi dagl'occhi miei Jommelli Semiramide riconosciuta--Barbaro ... Tradita, sprezzata Meyerbeer Semiramide--Piu non si tardi ... Il piacer, la gioia scenda Nasolini La morte di Semiramide--Fermati! II del minaccia ... Deh sospendi ai pianti miei ... Serbo ancora un'alma altera Paisiello La Semiramide in villa--Serbo in seno il cor piagato Porpora Semiramide regina dell'Assiria--Vanne fido, e al mesto regno Rossini Semiramide--Serena i vaghi rai ... Bel raggio lusinghier Traetta Semiramide--Il pastor ase torna aprile

Anna Bonitatibus mez Accademia degli Astrusi; La Stagione Armonica / Federico Ferri

Deutsche Harmonia Mundi [B] [2] 88725 47986-2 (90' * DDD * T/t)

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

For Verdi it was King Lear, an opera that was never written, despite the composer's obsession with the subject. And for Strauss it was Semiramis, a project which he first discussed with Hofmannsthal and tried to revive with later librettists. The deeds of the semi-legendary Assyrian queen fascinated composers from Vinci (1729) to Rossini (1823). There were two distinct strands. In Metastasio's Semiramide riconosciuta ('Semiramis recognised'), the queen is ruling disguised as her son (don't ask); she hopes to win back Scitalce, her first love, and does so. Another plot, including Rossini's (based on Voltaire), has Semiramis guilty of murdering her husband and unknowingly falling in love with her son, who stabs her in error (don't ask, I said). This lovely recital draws on both stories.

Vinci's was the first setting of Metastasio's libretto: an aria is included here, as pillaged by Handel for his pasticcio of 1733. More impressive is the accompanied recitative and aria from the first of Jommelli's three versions (1742) as Semiramis rages at Scitalce for spurning her. There are two examples from 1765: a leisurely, tender number by Bernasconi and a joyous metaphor aria (the shepherd, the helmsman) by Traetta. …

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