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Rossini: The Thieving Magpie Opera in English

3.2 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Audio CD, July 22, 2003
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Editorial Reviews

This is a somewhat abridged English-language version of Rossini's 1817 La Gazza Ladra(about 35 minutes of uninteresting recitative and a couple of arias are eliminated, to no great loss--there are still 151 minutes of music here!). The recording is based on live performances which took place in England in 2002, and the singers, orchestra, chorus, and conductor cleary still have the feel of theater in their bones--there's great energy here. The work is a semi-seria opera, which is to say there are comic elements, and although it almost ends with the execution of an innocent girl, all is saved at the last moment. The opera contains some of Rossini's most impressive music, both orchestrally and vocally, and that's saying a great deal. Once you get past the fact that everyone is singing in English (some people don't like opera in anything but the original language, although Chandos has been releasing an extraordinary series of the classics in English), there's an enormous amount to enjoy: Majella Cullagh is lovely and believable as the wrongly-accused heroine, Ninetta, tenor Barry Banks seems to have no fear of fast or high music as her lover, Giannetto, Russell Smythe, as Ninetta's father, an army deserter for whom she's willing to risk her life, uses his handsome bass-baritone splendidly, and Christopher Purves's bass-baritone works well for the villainous town mayor. Everything goes right, and we have conductor David Parry to thank. Those who love Rossini or fine singing will have to own this, and the work is worth getting to know for all opera lovers. --Robert Levine

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Overture: Maestoso marziale
  2. Allegro
  3. Act I (scene 1 ): 'What a day of celebration'
  4. 'Get moving - do something'
  5. 'I can see my beloved Giannetto'
  6. 'Oh, my heart is full of joy!'
  7. 'Spring is returning'
  8. 'Dearest Ninetta, today's a special day!'
  9. 'Penknives and needles, leather patches'
  10. 'I thought so, it's old Isacco'
  11. 'What's that shouting?'
  12. 'Darling! Darling, let me embrace you'
  13. 'Yes, even in the battle'
  14. 'Goodbye for now, my darling'
  15. 'Yesterday, just as the sun was setting'
  16. 'I can be strong no longer'
  17. 'Oh, daughter, let me embrace you'
  18. 'Good morning, my pretty lady'
  20. 'Thank heavens!'
  21. 'We're alone here'
  22. 'Such madness and confusion'
  23. Scene 2: 'Penknives and needles, leather patches'
  24. 'This morning in the house of Fabrizio Vingradito'
  25. 'Did somebody want me?'
  26. 'Grief and calamity tumble around me'
  27. 'Someone is coming'
  28. 'Take this girl away and throw her into prison!'

Disc: 2

  1. Act II (scene 1): 'She's shut up in that dark and dismal dungeon'
  2. 'Maybe one day you'll forgive me'
  3. 'You'd better go, and quickly'
  4. 'You're so lovely, your eyes are sparkling'
  5. 'When you hear the sentence'
  6. 'Mr Mayor, Mr Mayor - what are you up to?'
  7. 'Just think that tomorrow, even today'
  8. 'No, no, I beg you to take it'
  9. 'Lest my darling should forget me'
  10. 'By unanimous verdict - we find her guilty'
  11. 'The wheels of justice will crush the guilty'
  12. 'Most unhappy of women, your fate is in the balance'
  13. 'God protect her!'
  14. 'But, your Honours, you're mistaken'
  15. 'Release her!'
  16. 'A chasm of sorrow is yawning before me'
  17. 'If I cried, I would weep forever'
  18. Scene 2: 'What a dump of a village!'
  19. 'Bitter torment burns within you'
  20. 'God in heaven, Oh, God of justice'
  21. 'Giorgio! Giorgio! Ah, we're so happy!'
  22. 'Oh, God preserve us'
  23. 'We can see her, she is coming!'
  24. 'Though I hear your cries of gladness'
  25. 'Now that the storm is over'

Product details

  • Performer: Majella Cullagh, Barry Banks, Susan Bickley, Russell Smythe, Prunella Scales, et al.
  • Orchestra: Philharmonia Orchestra
  • Conductor: David Parry
  • Composer: Gioachino Rossini
  • Audio CD (July 22, 2003)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Chandos
  • ASIN: B00009V909
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #374,577 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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