Notes & Reviews:
Giovanni Pacini's operetta The Stone Guest, written for private performance in 1832 by the composer's family, is based on the same tale used by Mozart for Don Giovanni. While Pacini's version is scored for chamber orchestra and draws on arias from his other operas, it nonetheless demands bel canto singing of the highest order. For this recording, Pacini's manuscript score, as well as the partially-preserved hand-written libretto, were used as the basis for reconstructing the entire work.
"Leonardo Cortellazzi's light tenor is agile. It lacks some bloom, but he introduces some pleasing shading of his tone in the serenade. He gives a lively interpretation in all his scenes...Ficcanaso is the strong-voiced Giulio Mastrototaro, who nimbly rattles through the catalogue aria." -International Record Review
American Record Guide
This Convitato... is unique.
Recorded in live performance, the acoustic has greater presence, warmth, and resonance than in preceding issues in this series. The booklet notes are by Jeremy Commons, the scholar who has done so much to unearth early 19th-century bel canto repertoire and restore it to public attention.
Il convitato di pietra (The Stone Guest) was written for a private performance in 1832 by the Pacini family and was compiled largely from other operas of his. It was not performed in public until 2008 when this recording was made. The story is well known. It's the same that Mozart used for his Don Giovanni, though Donna Elvira is missing and Leporello is renamed Ficcanaso. Unusually though the title role is here sung by a tenor, moreover with a high tessitura. It is interesting to learn from the liner-notes that the Don who sang the role at the only previous performance was an amateur; certainly he must have been an accomplished singer.
Microphone placement is well judged with the exception of the opera's final scene, in which Giovanni should have been recorded more closely. The orchestra's elegant contribution, however, is always in perfect focus, and stage noises and applause are never bothersome. The lack of an English translation is annoying - the booklet contains only a synopsis, with an Italian libretto available online - but the omission is almost forgivable due to the familiarity of the story. In conclusion, though undoubtedly lightweight and rarely hinting at the darkness, drama or danger inherent in Mozart's immortal version, Pacini's Il Convitato di Pietra makes for a pleasantly tuneful listen.
Recording information: Königliches Kurtheater, Bad Wildbad, Germany (2008-07-01_2008-07-02&2008-).
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Works DetailsPacini, Giovanni : Il convitato di pietra (The Stone Guest), opera
- Performers: Geraldine Chauvet; Zinovia-Maria Zafeiriadou; Leonardo Cortellazzi
- Conductor: Daniele Ferrari
- Notes: Königliches Kurtheater, Bad Wildbad, Germany (2008-07-01_2008-07-02&2008-)
- Period Time: Romantic
- Form: Opera/Operetta