Armida is today considered one of Rossini’s greatest operas, but following its premier in Naples in 1817 it quickly faded from the standard operatic repertoire. Its plot of knightly duties, love and supernatural worlds (foreshadowing Weber in places) inspired the composer to write some of his most original and inimitable music, with unusual combinations of instruments and some beautiful extended solos for cello and violin. The love music is undeniably heartfelt and sincere; Rossini’s inspiration may have been assisted by his romantic involvement with the soprano Isabella Colbran, a major star of the time and the first to perform the title role.
Armida was revived in 1952 with Maria Callas in the lead role, and this began a trajectory that saw the work rise back to its rightful place in the repertoire. It is now considered one of Rossini’s masterpieces.
This performance with primarily Italian forces, has all the wit, charm, beauty and sparkle that any Rossini opera can wish for. Some big names here: Cecilia Gasdia, Chris Merritt, William Matteuzzi and Ferruccio Furlanetto.
- Recording made in 1990
- Great addition to the Brilliant Classics Opera Collection.
- Includes booklet notes and downloadable booklet at www.brilliantoperacollection.com
- ‘William Matteuzzi is superb both as Goffredo and as Carlo, his stainlessly gleaming tone perfectly apt to the bright world of chivalric endeavour; and Bruce Ford, marginally darker voiced, is the perfect complement. The bass plays a smaller part in the action, but Ferruccio Furlanetto is very fine in a role originally written for the great Michele Benedetti, Rossini’s first Moses…. [Cecilia Gasdia] is splendidly in command, singing with a degree of accuracy and spirit that almost inevitably eluded her stage rivals. Scimone’s aptly named I Solisti Veneti come splendidly into their own. Technically, the recording is excellent: good, clean sound in a pleasantly open acoustic… the set has much to recommend it’. Gramophone, December 1991