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Bellini: Il pirata Import

4 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Import, June 12, 2012
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Editorial Reviews

The third opera by the twenty-seven-year-old Sicilian Vincenzo Bellini, Il pirata marked an important step forward in his career. His first score written for the brand leader of Italian opera houses, La Scala, Milan, it also represented his first collaboration with Felice Romani, the leading librettist of the day - who would become his regular artistic partner. Il pirata was also the first of Bellini's works to reach an international audience. After its premiere in 1827, it soon went on to win acclaim in Vienna, Dresden, Paris, London and New York. Its comparative neglect in our day is inexplicable, but Opera Rara rectifies this situation with this all-star cast. David Parry conducts this exceptional example of early romantic opera at its most dramatically potent. The 3CD set, a studio recording, comes with a lavishly illustrated book including a complete libretto with an English translation by Jeremy Commons and a comprehensive article and synopsis by Dr. Benjamin Walton.

Product Details

  • Performer: Carmen Giannattasio, José Bros, Ludovic Tézier, Victoria Simmonds, Mark Le Brocq, et al.
  • Orchestra: London Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Conductor: David Parry
  • Composer: Vincenzo Bellini
  • Audio CD (June 12, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Opera Rara
  • ASIN: B007KG5N54
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #323,068 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Matt B on June 26, 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Bellini's 1827 opera Il Pirata was his first significant serious opera and as such can be considered to be analogous to Mozart's Idomeneo and Rossini's Tancredi even though the piece makes somewhat less of an overall impression when compared to the two earlier operas. Still, with its use of arioso infused recitative, the expansion of the aria-cabaletta format, and the fact that the seeds of those glorious Bellinian long melodies are constantly in evidence the opera makes considerable advances beyond the prototypical model for the time, Rossini's 1823 masterwork Semiramide. While none of the melodies blossom into the elegiac cantilenas that would ultimately be the hallmark of Bellini's style, the opera contains much that is of great beauty... such as the second act trio and the prima donna's final aria, even though those pieces are mere harbingers of what was still to come. In addition, it should be noted that the tempestuous opening scene of the opera is as powerful as anything depicting a storm and certainly must have been in the back of Verdi's mind when he penned the turbulent opening of his Otello many years later.

As is their usual custom, the piece as presented by Opera Rara is note complete... actually beyond complete compared to the most readily available competition... the slightly cut EMI studio recording with Montserrat Caballé and the heavily cut and roughly recorded live Carnegie Hall recording featuring Maria Callas. While a number of small cuts observed in the EMI studio recording are opened, the most significant feature of this version concerns the fact that it is the first to include the virtually unknown brief original final scene.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By S. Wells on June 16, 2012
Format: Audio CD
This new recording of "Il pirata" is up to Opera Rara's usual high standards and takes first place amongst the limited number of recordings of the opera that are available.

Although I don't find her voice particularly attractive, I have to do her justice and state that Carmen Giannattiso is outstanding as Imogene. At times her tone becomes a bit astringent for my taste, but the voice is secure and the technique solid. She shows a keen intelligence that shows both an understanding and empathy for the situation this heroine faces. What the voice lacks in beauty is more than made up in the drama she conveys.

Jose Bros offers another finely sung and well acted role in the title part of the pirate, Gualtiero. The high tessitura of the part appears to offer him no challenges. I've come to regard Mr. Bros as a dependable singer whose performances I know I'll enjoy.

I was initially less sure about Ludovic Tezier as Ernesto. I was very disappointed in his portrayal of Giorgio Germont on the recent DVD of "Traviata" from Aix-en-Provence. Here he shows more involvement, both musically and dramatically, in his part. His "aria di sortita" and his contributions to the duets and trio are all very good indeed.

Brindley Sherratt makes the most of the small part of the hermit, Goffredo. The two comprimarios are acceptable, even if Mark Le Brocq's Italian pronunciation is pretty horrible.

Kudos to the Geoffrey Mitchell Choir and the London Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as to the conducting of David Parry. The opening scene of the opera is truly tempestuous and the gentlemen of the chorus give a rollicking rendition of the drinking chorus, "Evviva!"

There are limited other choices of recordings of this opera.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By luisamillera on May 12, 2013
Format: Audio CD
I'm incredibly grateful to Opera Rara. They've provided me with several, fun-filled and inspired weekends with their fantastic catalogue of neglected operas. I really encourage anyone who loves bel canto to check out their releases. Their recordings of Meyerbeer, in particular, are phenomenal.

Bellini's Il Pirata has been relatively well-served in recent times when compared to the 21st century fates of others like Meyerbeer's Margherita d'Anjou or Il Crociato in Egitto. Fans of Maria Callas and Monserrat Caballe would probably be familiar with this very exciting opera about a noblewoman confronted with the unexpected return of her presumed dead pirate lover. Fans of Melmouth the Wanderer will find this irresistible! More recently, Renee Fleming has raised Pirata's profile with her performances in Paris and New York and radio broadcast recordings of those fine performances are widely available.

This recording has a lot to offer: it is the most complete recording, opening up all the unfortunate cuts that marred the Callas recording, as well as including the usually omitted final scene. I'm thrilled that the final scene is included in this recording. I was a bit disappointed that the recent revival with Renee Fleming did not open up this cut -- if it is no longer orthodox to end Lucia with Spargi d'amaro pianto, then that should apply to ending Pirata prematurely with Imogen's mad scene.

As well as offering a more complete recorded edition, the recording also boasts some very fine singing. Jose Bros does not have a heroic sound with trumpet like top notes, but what he does offer is an elegant line and some very refined and honest singing.
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