OP2960. La Rimembranza. Majella Cullagh, Manuela Custer, Jennifer Larmore, Antonino Siragusa, Bruce Ford, Russell Smythe; David Harper (Pianist). Opera Rara ORR 223. Includes Elaborate 86pp. Libretto-Book. Final Copy! - 0792938022321
“The fifth volume in Opera Rara’s ‘Il Salotto’ series explores the musical world of London and Milan. In the 1840s and 1850s Milan was still in the throes of Italian unification, while London was basking in the glories of the Victorian Age. Italian composers, led by Giuseppe Verdi, were preoccupied with the uncertain politics of the time and this can be heard in the often sombre mood of their songs. In London the attitude was musically more convival, dominated by Luigi Arditi’s infectious melodies. A Milanese soirée was a serious affair. Love, death and betrayal are the subjects ofthe dark and beautiful songs by Marliani, Poniatowksi and Belgiojoso. Verdi goes even further with a disturbing song about the meaning of death. Gomes and Pedrotti offer some relief in their romantic pieces but its the salons of London that sparkle most. Luigi Arditi, Michael Costa and Vincenzo Gabussi provide the fun that balances the programme. The outstanding feature of this disc is the beauty and variety of the selections.”
“As an introduction to our ‘Il Salotto’ series LA RIMEMBRANZA could not be a better place to start. The release of this recording prompted BBC Music Magazine to say ’Opera Rara’s genius lies not just in its ability to rediscover lost works but in the quality of performers it attracts’. And George Hall in his review for OPERA NOW says ‘This is music of the highest quality delivered with unfailing verve and panache’. Definitely worth a try.”
“After a concert performance given at the Royal Festival Hall in October 2004 the Guardian Critic Tim Ashley had this to say: 'Majella Cullagh is technically staggering, pushing herself to her expressive limits in order to convey Pia’s emotional and moral agony'."
“Jennifer Larmore is an outstanding American mezzo soprano who parlayed operatic success in Europe into international stardom during the 1990s. Known for excelling in the coloratura roles of Rossini and Handel, she has also moved into the early nineteenth century bel canto repertory, as well as the operas of Mozart and Richard Strauss. Especially since 2000, Larmore has been a very active recitalist, and she has recorded widely for the Harmonia Mundi, Teldec, and Deutsche Grammophon labels.
Larmore studied at the Westminster Choir College, and then privately with John Bullock and Regina Resnik. She made her professional début at Santa Barbara's Music Academy of the West as Rosina in Rossini's THE BARBER OF SEVILLE -- appropriate, considering that Rosina has since become her signature role, one that she has performed more than 500 times. Three years later, a last-minute audition led to a contract at the Nice Opéra. There, her vocal talents, energetic acting, and natural beauty quickly established her as an emerging star, and during the next decade she performed dozens of leading roles with major European houses. In the mid-'90s Larmore returned to the United States, making her Chicago Lyric Opera début in 1993, winning the prestigious Richard Tucker award in 1994, and débuting as Rosina at the Metropolitan Opera in 1995. Since then she has been a regular attraction at the Met, singing everything from Handel's GIULIO CESARE to Humperdinck's HÄNSEL UND GRETEL. With her frequent collaborator Antoine Palloc, she has made several international recital tours, including appearances in Amsterdam, Paris, Madrid, Hong Kong, and London, as well as most major American cities.
Larmore's GIULIO CESARE on Harmonia Mundi (with René Jacobs),’L'étoile’, a collection of French arias, and’Call Me Mister’, a celebration of mezzo soprano ‘pants’ roles, are notable among her recordings. A particularly unique venture has been her satellite radio program ‘Backstage with Jennifer Larmore’, on which she proves herself a witty and insightful interviewer and commentator.”
- Allen Schrott, allmusic.com