OP0109. ESULE DI ROMA (Donizetti), Live Performance, 14 Oct., 1986, Piacenza, w.De Bernart Cond. Cecilia Gasdia, Ernesrto Palacio, Simone Alaimo, etc. (Italy) 2-Bongiovanni 2045/46. Long out-of-print, Final Copy!
“The Metropolitan Opera has come under fire recently for its failure to engage important new singers quickly enough. But in the case of Cecilia Gasdia, perhaps the most widely admired of the younger Italian sopranos, the Met has moved with some alacrity.
Ms. Gasdia, who only made her formal stage debut four years ago, has already been called 'our national vocal phenomenon' by Milan's CORRIERE DELLA SERA. She made her American debut last fall, and will appear for the first time at the Met this Thursday in Gounod's ROMÉO ET JULIETTE, with Alfredo Kraus as Romeo and Plácido Domingo conducting. Despite the ordinary long lead time in Met casting, with singers locked into place years in advance, Ms. Gasdia is able to appear here because the Met reached a financial settlement with Jeannette Pilou, the originally scheduled Juliette, who withdrew.
Since she has not yet appeared in a staged performance in New York, Ms. Gasdia's primary impact here thus far has been a vocal one - from her recordings and from her two New York concert appearances last season, as Gilda in RIGOLETTO with Riccardo Muti and the Philadelphia Orchestra in Carnegie Hall and in recital at the Vivian Beaumont Theater. But she thinks of herself as a singing actress, and her reviews - even those that cast some doubt on the inherent distinction of her voice per se - make much of her intense, almost haunted stage appearance and viscerally theatrical phrasing.
With her compelling onstage personality and total immersion in the drama, Ms. Gasdia might seem in a direct line of succession from Maria Callas - especially since she was inspired to take up singing after hearing a Callas recording in her mid-teens, and since she now specializes in just the bel canto repertory Callas did so much to popularize.
This neo-Toscaninian credo, espoused today by Mr. Muti and Claudio Abbado, does not really reflect Ms. Gasdia's true gifts. As she readily concedes, she is an instinctive artist, for all her verbal intelligence - just like Callas. And in fact, with her slightly covered, smoky vocal color, not to speak of her charismatically intense phrasing, there is an audible connection to the Callas tradition, after all. One aspect of Ms. Gasdia's singing that has drawn comment has been her predilection for extremely soft singing - indeed, when so many singers of her generation have been accused of forcing.
Her formal stage debut came in January 1982 in Florence in Bellini's CAPULETTI ED I MONTECCHI, as Juliette in that version of Shakespeare's play. She made her American stage debut in the same opera last fall in Chicago, and now it's Juliette again -Gounod's, this time - for her Met debut. The Florence appearance was followed shortly by a triumphant last-minute substitution for Montserrat Caballé in a revival of the old Visconti-Callas production of Donizetti's ANNA BOLENA at La Scala.
Right now, there are no firm plans for future Met engagements, but talks continue. In the meantime, she says she's completely content to be working with Mr. Kraus and Mr. Domingo, both for the first time.”
- John Rockwell, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 2 Nov., 1986
“After closing his singing career, Ernesto Palacio discovered numerous prominent artists of the new bel canto generation and is considered one of the leading international experts on Rossinian vocality. His repertoire includes about eighty works (as many as 20 by Rossini) and over one hundred oratorios, masses and other vocal compositions.
He recorded 40 titles, 10 of which are Rossini works. Ernesto Palacio has performed in the major international theaters (La Scala, Accademia di Santa Cecilia and Roma Opera House, San Carlo in Naples, Teatro Regio in Turin, Teatro Comunale in Bologna, Arena in Verona, La Fenice, Metropolitan and Carnegie Hall, Covent Garden, Liceu, Colon, Zürich Opera House, Bayerischer Staatsoper) under the direction of Claudio Abbado, Thomas Schippers, James Levine, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Peter Maag, Riccardo Chailly, Georges Prêtre and Alberto Zedda.
He has been the Intendant of the Rossini Opera Festival since 2017.”
- Concorso Toscanini