Rossini: Opera Arias

Reviewed on Tue 17 Jan, 2017

Tracks 13 and 14, from Semiramide, commence with a long, atmospheric introduction followed by a rousing aria, in which Franco Fagioli’s vocal agility and fluidity are outstanding.

A joyously sung love song from Demetrio e Polibio (Rossini’s first opera) opens this collection of Rossini ‘trouser roles’ sung by the Argentinian countertenor, Franco Fagioli. The tracks from Matilde di Shabran form a complete contrast, with warlike music accompanying an emotional song. They include a horn solo expressively played by Costas Siskos. Adelaide di Borgagna is an opera based on history: a German king, Otto, rescues Adelaide from the machination of a usurper. Tracks 10-12 come from early in the opera: a choral soldiers’ march is sung with richness and precision; and Dimitris Vamvas plays his cor anglais solo with incredible sweetness. Tracks 4-7 come from near the end of the opera where a cheerful chorus praises Otto. He then sings a love song and Rossini’s vocal line is given real depth of expression by Fagioli’s singing. Difficult music is sung with apparent ease. Otto had been fighting to retrieve Adelaide’s throne which accounts for the martial music in the accompaniment. Elsewhere, Sergiu Nastasa plays a lyrical violin solo in the selection from Tancredi which forms a moving echo song, full of hope. Tracks 13 and 14, from Semiramide, commence with a long, atmospheric introduction followed by a rousing aria, in which Fagioli’s vocal agility and fluidity are outstanding. This anthology's final tracks, from Eduardo e Cristina, include a sad, harmonious chorus, and an aria which commences with beautiful, legato singing and is very moving. It ends with a rousing call to arms and some superlative singing by Fagioli.
–Ruth Piatkus