OP1541. EMILIA DI LIVERPOOL (Donizetti), Live Performance, 8 Sept., 1957, w.Pritchard Cond. Royal Liverpool Phil. Ensemble; Joan Sutherland, William McAlpine, Hervey Alan, etc. (E.U.) Myto 00135. - 8014399501354
“EMILIA DI LIVERPOOL (Emilia of Liverpool; also given as L'Eremitaggio di Liverpool) is a dramma semiseria opera, in two acts with music by Gaetano Donizetti. Giuseppe Checcherini wrote the Italian libretto after the anonymous libretto for Vittorio Trento's EMILIA DI LAVERPAUT, itself based on Stefano Scatizzi's play of the same name. It premiered on 28 July 1824 at the Teatro Nuovo, Naples.
The libretto had a complex history. The original story by Scatizzi formed the basis of the first, anonymous libretto of 1824, which had the title of EMILIA DI LIVERPOOL. This first libretto included the introduction of the Count, a Neapolitan character, as comic relief per the theatrical tradition of the Teatro Nuovo. The changes to the cast of characters caused confusion among the relationships of the characters and ran contrary to the structure of the original play. The libretto revisions by Ceccherini, c.1828, removed much of the material of the 1824 version, with further revisions to the characters, but maintaining the plot chronology of the 1824 version. The 1828 revision, known as L'EREMITAGGIO DI LIVERPOOL (The Hermitage of Liverpool), also reduced the amount of spoken dialogue.
The 1828 version was given its premiere in Naples on 8 March 1828 and received only six performances. [The 1824 version was revived in 1838 for three performances, and again in 1871.] It was not until 1957 that it received another presentation of any kind, until its UK premiere on 12 June in Liverpool. In September 1957 the BBC presented an abridged radio version which starred the young Joan Sutherland,’who gave a stunning exhibition of her Donizetti style a good eighteen months before her Covent Garden success in LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR’.”
“...Sutherland is much what she would be for the next quarter-century: the finest vocal technician of her time….her vocalism is wondrous to the ear; to this day, it remains unchallenged in terms of security and reliability. She commands admiration.”
- Paul Jackson, SIGN-OFF FOR THE OLD MET, p.391
"In her own time, there was a tendency to take Sutherland for granted, so consistent were her high standards of technique, musicianship and, yes, acting. Her total command of the stage was always formidable. No recording can really give an impression of how big the voice was….it had an astonishing and physically thrilling impact."
- Patrick O’Connor, GRAMOPHONE, Jan., 2007