OP1752. I MASNADIERI (Verdi), Live Performance, 11 June, 1971, w.Mannino Cond. RAI Ensemble, Torino; Rita Orlandi- Malaspina, Gastone Limarilli, Mario Petri, Bonaldo Giaiotti, etc. (E.U.) 2–Myto 0011. - 3830257900115
“I MASNADIERI (The Bandits or The Robbers) is an opera in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian libretto by Andrea Maffei, based on Die Räuber by Friedrich von Schiller. As Verdi became more successful in Italy, he began to receive offers from other opera houses outside the country. The London impresario Benjamin Lumley had presented ERNANI in 1845 and, as a result of its success, commissioned an opera from the composer which became I MASNADIERI. It was given its first performance at Her Majesty's Theatre on 22 July 1847 with Verdi conducting the first two performances. While reasonably successful there and in Italy up to the mid-1860s, the opera disappeared for about 90 years until revived in 1951. It has been revived from time to time in the 21st century.
The opera has not been frequently performed, although it has been given more frequently in recent times, as evidenced by recordings of many live staged or concert performances over the last fifty or more years; this indicates something of a growing interest in this opera. For instance, there was a broadcast performance on 29 March 1951 in Italy with the RAI Orchestra and a staging as part of the 1969 Maggio Musicale Fiorentino in Florence, followed shortly thereafter by a 1971 performance broadcast on 11 June 1971 in Italy and given by the Orchestra and Chorus of RAI Torino.
Rita Orlandi-Malaspina is an Italian operatic soprano who had a major international career from the 1960s through the 1980s. She drew particular acclaim for her portrayals of Verdi heroines. She has also had a successful career as a concert soprano, particularly in performance of Verdi's REQUIEM and Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony #9. She is married to bass Massimiliano Malaspina who also has an important opera career. Prior to her marriage she performed under the name Rita Orlandi.
Born in Bologna, Orlandi-Malaspina was a student of soprano and voice teacher Carmen Melis in Milan. She made her professional stage début in Milan in 1963 at the Teatro Nuovo as Giovanna in Verdi's GIOVANNA D'ARCO. She quickly became a major figure in Italy's most important opera houses during the 1960s. Orlandi-Malaspina enjoyed a particularly fruitful partnership with La Scala, where she made her début on 29 April 1966 as Leonora in Verdi's LA FORZA DEL DESTINO under the baton of Gianandrea Gavazzeni. Other Verdi roles she was admired for at that house were Aïda, Amelia IN UN BALLO IN MASCHERA, Elvira in ERNANI, Leonora in IL TROVATORE, and Odabella in ATTILA. She also appeared as a guest artist at the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma, the Teatro di San Carlo, La Fenice, the Teatro Regio di Parma, the Teatro Massimo, the Teatro Regio di Torino, the Teatro Comunale di Bologna, and the Teatro Comunale Giuseppe Verdi. She was a regular performer at the Arena di Verona Festival where she sang in 1968–1969 and 1971–1972. She also made several appearances at the Baths of Caracalla in Rome.
On the international stage Orlandi-Malaspina has sung as a guest at the Royal Opera, London, the Bavarian State Opera, the Hamburg State Opera, the Palais Garnier, the Opéra de Nice, the Théâtre du Capitole, the Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden, the Liceu, La Monnaie, the Vienna State Opera, the Teatro Colón, the Opéra de Montréal, and the Opera Company of Philadelphia. On 17 October 1968 she made a successful début at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City as Amelia in Verdi's SIMON BOCCANEGRA with Cornell MacNeil in the title role. She sang several more times with the company over the next 12 years portraying the roles of Elisabetta de Valois in DON CARLO and Aïda.
Gastone Limarilli was a fine lirico-spinto tenor with tremendous squillo who débuted as Canio at the Teatro Nuovo, Milano, 1959. Later, on 23 Dec., 1959, he débuted at La Scala in Pizetti’s FEDRA. These were followed by the Vienna Staatsoper, the Royal Opera at Covent Garden, Monte Carlo, Macerata, the Verona Arena and the Baths of Caracalla. His repertoire was primarily Verdi, Puccini, then Pizzetti, Alfano and Porrino.”
- Ned Ludd