OP0553. L'ULTIMO GIORNO DI POMPEI (Pacini), Live Performance, 1996, Martina Franca, Italia, w.Carella Cond. Raul Giminez, Iano Tamar, Nicolas Rivenq, Gregory Bonfatti, etc. (Italy) 2-Dynamic CDS 178, Slipcase Edition w. 64pp.Libretto-Booklet. Out-of-Print, final very slightly used copy. - 8007144601782
“L'ULTIMO GIORNO DI POMPEI is an opera (dramma per musica) in two acts composed by Giovanni Pacini to an Italian libretto by Andrea Leone Tottola. It premiered to great success at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples on 19 November 1825 followed by productions in the major opera houses of Italy, Austria, France, and Portugal. When Pacini's popularity declined in the mid-19th century, the opera was all but forgotten until 1996 when it received its first performance in modern times at the Festival della Valle d'Itria in Martina Franca [abopve]. L'ULTIMO GIORNO DI POMPEI influenced either directly or indirectly several other 19th-century works, most notably Karl Bryullov's 1833 painting, ‘The Last Day of Pompeii’.
L'ULTIMO GIORNO DI POMPEI was the third of Pacini's operas to premiere at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples. It was commissioned to celebrate the name day of Queen María Isabella of the Two Sicilies. The libretto itself was written by Andrea Leone Tottola. However, the basic outline of the story and the idea of setting it in Pompeii at the time of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD came from the Teatro San Carlo's resident scenographer, Antonio Niccolini. Although the setting and the English translation of its title are similar to that of Bulwer-Lytton's novel ‘The Last Days of Pompeii’, the opera predates the novel by almost 10 years and has a completely different plot.
The opera premiered to great success on 19 November 1825. Nicolini's production was an expensive extravaganza involving numerous changes of sets, complex lighting, and the use of real explosives. The spectacular climax depicting the fiery eruption of Mount Vesuvius was accompanied by a simulated earthquake and lightning as nine gauze curtains painted with clouds of ash and fire were raised one after the other to reveal the volcano. According to a contemporary account, when molten lava appeared to flow towards the front of the stage, the effect was so realistic that people in the stalls were terrified. The set designs for the Naples premiere have been lost. However, multiple copies of Alessandro Sanquirico's designs for the 1827 La Scala production have been preserved. Kenneth Lapitan, a curator at the J. Paul Getty Museum, has proposed that Sanquirico's designs probably followed Nicolini's production quite closely.
The day after the premiere, King Francis I of the Two Sicilies sent Pacini a congratulatory letter expressing his great pleasure with the performance. He appointed Pacini to the Royal Academy of Fine Arts and ordered that Tottola be granted a bonus of 30 ducats. In his 1865 memoirs, Pacini described L'ULTIMO GIORNO DI POMPEI as the greatest triumph of his early career. The opera ran for four seasons at the San Carlo and was subsequently performed at La Scala in Milan and the Theater am Kärntnertor in Vienna (1827), the Teatro de Săo Carlos in Lisbon (1828), the Théâtre-Italien in Paris (1830), and La Fenice in Venice (1832). The reception at La Scala was as enthusiastic as it had been in Naples, and on the strength of the opera's success there, the impresario Domenico Barbaia offered Pacini a nine-year contract as the artistic director of his theatres with a commission to compose two operas a year.
Pacini's popularity had declined in the mid-19th century. By the time of his death in 1867, L'ULTIMO GIORNO DI POMPEI was all but forgotten until August 1996 when it received its first performance in modern times at the Festival della Valle d'Itria in Martina Franca. The production then transferred to the Teatro Massimo Bellini in Catania for performances in September of that year. A live recording of the Martina Franca performance[above] was released by Dynamic Records in 1997.”
“Raúl Giménez is an operatic tenor, particularly associated with the Italian bel canto repertory, in which he is considered one of the best exponent in recent years. Giménez was born in the small town of Carlos Pellegrini, Argentina. He studied at the Music Conservatory of Buenos Aires and made his operatic début at the Teatro Colón as Ernesto in DON PASQUALE, in 1980. After appearing in concert and opera throughout South America, he came to Europe in 1984, where he made his début at the Wexford Festival in Ireland, in Cimarosa's LE ASTUZIE FEMMINILI.
He quickly established himself in Mozart and Rossini operas, appearing at all the great opera houses and festivals of Europe (Paris, Aix-en-Provence, London, Glyndebourne, Vienna, Salzburg, Milan, Venice, Pesaro, Martina Franca, Rome, Barcelona, Brussels, Munich, Lausanne, Geneva etc.). He made his American début in Dallas in 1989, as Ernesto in DON PASQUALE, at Metropolitan Opera New York début Count Almaviva in IL BARBIERE DI SIVILIA in 1995. His high-lying, keenly focussed voice and virtuoso coloratura technique are heard to best advantage in Gioachino Rossini, in whose operas he is a specialist. Giménez's Rossini recordings include Don Ramiro, Narciso (IL TURCO IN ITALIA) and Almaviva, the role of his Metropolitan début in 1995. He also appeared frequently in works by Donizetti and Bellini, as well as lesser known composers such as Salieri and Pacini.”
“Iano Tamar was born in Georgia and studied piano, music und singing at the conservatory of Tiflis. After her sensationel début as Semiramide in Pesaro, Iano Tamar sang Lina in in Verdi's STIFFELIO under Gianandrea Gavazzeni, Alice Falstaff, and Lady Macbeth at the Scala of Milano under Riccardo Muti, which marked her international breakthrough on stage and lead her into all important opera-houses of the world. She was highly acclaimed als Médée in Vienna, as Lady Macbeth in Hamburg, as Desdemona in Tokyo, as Elisabeth de Valois in the new production of Verdi's DON CARLOS (version in 5 acts), as Elvira (ERNANI) and as Mathilde in Rossini's GUILLAUME TELL at the Vienna State Opera, as Marchesa del Poggio in UN GIORNO DI REGNO in Covent Garden; as Rachel in the new production of LA JUIVE at the Teatro la Fenice, as Tosca in Geneva, as Leonora in IL TROVATORE at the Bregenz festival, as Leonora in IL TROVATORE and in the revival of LA FORZA DEL DESTINO at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich; as Elisabetta in MARIA STUARDA at the Opéra de Lyon, as Semiramide and Lady Macbeth at the Deutsche Oper Berlin; as Amelia in UN BALLO IN MASCHERA in Hamburg and as Norma and Elettra (IDOMENEO) Gran Teatro del Liceu Barcelona.”
- H. P. Casavant