OP0463. ADELSON E SALVINI (Bellini), recorded 1992, w. Andrea Licata Cond. Teatro Bellini Ensemble, Catania; Bradley Williams, Alicia Nafé, Fabio Previati, Auro Tomicich, Lucia Rizzi, etc. (Italy) 2-Nuova Era 7154/55, w. Elaborate 49pp. Libretto-Booklet. Very long out-of-print, Final Copy! - 8010984171544
“ADELSON E SALVINI was Bellini’s first opera, written while he was a student at the Conservatory in Naples. It was a custom at the Naples Conservatory to introduce a pupil who had completed his studies to the public with the performance of a large dramatic work. The opera, in its original three-act version, premiered in early 1825 by pupils at the Conservatory, was such a great success that it was performed every Sunday for the rest of the year. In the following year, for a proposed performance at the Teatro del Fondo in Naples, Bellini revised the score, cutting it to two acts and replacing the spoken text with secco recitatives. This performance did not take place, and these performances recorded by Nuova Era represent the first staging of the revised version of the opera.
Although there is little of what we recognize as the mature Bellini style in this first effort, it is nevertheless a very accomplished work for a student just completing his studies. The work shows the influence of Rossini, especially in the music written for the comic servant Bonifacio, who makes his entrance with a Rossini patter aria. But there are hints of the Bellini to come, and the work is worth hearing occasionally.
This recording was first released by Nuova Era in 1993. It was reviewed by Robert Levine (FANFARE 17:2), who found less to like in the score than I do, but gave the recording a generally positive review. We are in general agreement about the performance. Alicia Nafé makes a strong impression as Nelly, coping well with her sometimes-florid music. The role of Salvini sometimes brings the tenor into the stratosphere, up to an E?; Bradley Williams ably handles this high-flying role in a tenor voice that is rather light and lacking in strength. Fabio Previati and Roberto Coviello are both very good in their roles, and Aurio Tomicich has the voice and technique to do justice to the fast-paced comic patter he is given to sing. Andrea Licata leads a strong performance that is supportive of the singers, and the orchestra and chorus are thoroughly professional. The opera is performed without cuts.
The recording balance favors the orchestra over the singers, with the result that some singers, particularly Rizzi, Jankovic, and Williams, sometimes cannot be clearly heard over the orchestra when it is playing at full volume. But the sound is otherwise very good.
Considering the rarity of this work, we are fortunate to have such a strong performance available.”
- Ron Salemi, FANFARE