OP0400. IPHIGÉNIE EN TAURIDE (Piccini), Live Performance, 1986, w.Renzetti Cond. Aristico Teatro Petruzzelli Ensemble; Silvia Baleani, René Massia, Aldo Bertolo, Alberto Noli, etc. (Italy) 2-Warner Fonit 8573 84437, w. Libretto-Brochure. Very long out-of-print, Final Sealed Copy! - 0685738443727
“Niccolò Piccinni (1728–1800) is one of history’s forgotten composers. He was, though, the most popular opera composer in Italy in the 1760s and 1770s – esteemed so highly he was brought to France as a rival to Gluck. On the strength of the two operas I’ve heard, however, the great composer had nothing to fear.
Piccinni’s first and greatest success was LA CECCHINA, ossia LA BUONA FIGLIUOLA (1760). Italy went mad for it: the public thought it the most perfect opera buffa, and didn’t want to hear anything else, while clothing styles, shops, cafés, and (later) railway stations were all alla Cecchina. It was even performed as far away as China, by Jesuits at the Peking court! Clément considered it the most remarkable opera buffa before Cimarosa’s MATRIMONIO SEGRETO (1792); it’s the first opera with elaborate finales containing several scenes. Piccinni, in fact, sowed the seeds from which Mozart and, above all, Rossini would reap such splendid harvests.
From 1761, Fétis writes, Piccinni overshadowed all other dramatic composers. His setting of Metastasio’s OLIMPIADE that year was considered superior to all previous attempts – including Vivaldi’s, Pergolesi’s, and Hasse’s. Fétis suggests, though, that Piccinni displayed as much activity as genius; he wrote 10 operas that year alone, and was applauded in Turin, Modena, Bologna, Venice, Rome, and Naples. ‘Other musicians had hits; he alone had fans’, Fétis writes. ‘Never did enthusiasm for a composer last as long as it did for him’.
Rome, though, tired of his operas; and by the mid-1770s, his former pupil Anfossi had become their idol.”