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
“Since Warner Fonit has been issuing the series of operas that Cetra recorded in the early '50s with a stable of Italian singers, I have been giving them a good listen. Note that the latest issues have the original somewhat flamboyant covers that graced the original LPs and quite good mono sound - far better than the ruinous Everest pseudo-stereo LPs.
As for the performances most were recorded live at the RAI studios in one day with no or minimal retakes and therefore have a rough and ready quality to them. Most of the operas have of course been recorded with top flight casts and conductors. But here is something to be said for the idiomatic 'rightness" of these performances. There is a feeling that the singers have worked together, are comfortable with each other and know the scores inside out. The vocalism is often rough but the feelings are sincere and heartfelt and that counts for a lot. The conductors too share that feeling and often seem to be more interested in getting the dramatic points across than orchestral perfection. My own feeling is that the performances go back to a tradition that is now gone. In any case, I recommend most of them since they are are still the only complete commercial recordings).”
- Z. D. Akron
“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.”