Bongiovanni live recording from 1992
Richard Bonynge, cond., Orchestra del Conservatorio "Venezze" di Rovigo
Sigismondo (King of Poland) --Sonia Ganassi
Aldimira (his wife)--Rossella Ragatzu
Ladislao (a courtier)--Bruno Lazzretti
Anagilda (Ladislao's sister)--Nicoletta Zanini
Ulderico (Aldimira's father)--Giacomo Prestia
Note for those on a diet or concerned about the environment: this work
contains a high amount of pre-and post-consumer recycled material, and the
libretto is insubstantial.
This opera's plot is your typical 1) husband gets told wife is unfaithful
and provided with "proof" by a suitor the wife rejected 2) husband decides
to kill wife 3) someone rescues her 4) after lots of annoyances,
treachery, swordfights, etc. they end up together again, happy ending.
On the whole, the opera is probably fairly deservedly neglected--while it
contains a number of appealing tunes, the memorable ones show up in other
operas, and the not-so-memorable ones are pleasant enough to hear, but not
terribly substantial. However, when a cast like this can be assembled,
it's still a delight to hear.
Sonia Ganassi pours out a rich, full voice and incisive coloratura, with
the "plenty more where that came from" ease that makes it all the more
attractive. Bonynge's conducting, which served Horne so well in similar
material, seems especially suited for her voice, especially her final
aria, always providing support and underlying texture, but never drowning
or providing mere background music. That final aria, which obviously
brought the audience to near hysteria, is brilliantly tossed off, with
both superb technique and deep feeling.
The rest of the cast are all very good, especially considering the
coloratura demands of the music, though Ragatzu has a decided break
between her registers that needs some smoothing; at times, I even checked
out the libretto to make sure that it wasn't another singer I was hearing.
However, it's Ganassi who stole the show.
Speaking of the libretto, it's fairly, erm, idiosyncratic. At one point
we are in a "tick wood," and the plot synopsis includes "her utmost
charming figure made Ladislao fall madly in love with her." These are
harmless and even amusing, but the booklet's misnumbering of tracks is a
real annoyance. The sound is fine.
Ann Feeney [log in to unmask]