Cilea: L'Arlesiana

Reviewed on Wed 30 Jul, 2014

This beautiful recording is of a three-act opera which was originally a four-act disaster – Cilea revised it several times over forty years. It is a fast-moving tragedy, through-composed, with few arias. There is much contrast in the score, with sadness and foreboding depicted against a pastoral setting. This is emotionally moving music, expressively sung by Giuseppe Filianoti, Iano Tamar and Mirela Bunoaica; indeed, all the soloists are very pleasing. Bunoaica's best vocal lines are probably towards the end of Act 2 (try 'Dice il mio cor'). Francesco Landolfi has a beautiful duet with Filianoti ('Ah! Vieni con me sui monti') and Filianoti an exquisite aria ('E la solita storia'). Tamar's rendering of 'Esser madre e un inferno' in Act 3 is one of deep pathos. Alas, while much interesting history of the opera is given in the notes, there is no libretto! The synopsis helps but is inadequate as the information is not linked to the tracks. This opera, indeed this recording, is worthy of better documentation.
–Ruth Piatkus