I Medici   (Leoncavallo)  (Veronesi;  Domingo, Alvarez, Dessi, Lamanda, Eric Owens)   (2-DG 477 7456)
Item# OP2111
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I Medici   (Leoncavallo)  (Veronesi;  Domingo, Alvarez, Dessi, Lamanda, Eric Owens)   (2-DG 477 7456)
OP2111. I MEDICI (Leoncavallo), recorded 2007, w.Veronesi Cond. Maggio Musicale Fiorentino Ensemble; Plácido Domingo, Carlos Álvarez, Daniela Dessì, Renata Lamanda, Eric Owens, etc. (E.U.) 2-DG 477 7456, w.Elaborate 147pp. Libretto-Brochure. Final Sealed Copy! - 028947774563


“This revelatory 2007 recording of Leoncavallo's I MEDICI, written before PAGLIACCI, but not produced until 1893, ought to be the occasion for a reevaluation of the composer's gifts. PAGLIACCI demonstrates his ability to create music ideally suited to the particular dramatic situation, as does his version of LA BOHÈME, another relatively small-scale, intimate work, although that opera doesn't show the same level of inspiration. With I MEDICI, though, an epic modeled on Wagner and initially intended to be the first part in a trilogy that would be the Italian answer to DER RING DES NIBELUNGEN, Leoncavallo shows that in response to the scale of his subject, he can write music of real grandeur. The opera is flawed, so it is understandable that it has not entered the repertoire, but the sophistication, nobility, delicacy, and variety of the music will be an eye-opener for listeners who know the composer only for the rough-hewn (though brilliant) verismo of PAGLIACCI. It's thoroughly Italianate, but Leoncavallo has internalized some of Wagner's sensibilities, particularly in his harmonic language, inventive orchestration, and ability to make a grand dramatic statement. I MEDICI also shows, perhaps even more than PAGLIACCI, what a superb melodist Leoncavallo is; it is bursting with memorable lyrical moments. Its leading rôles have a meatiness that makes singers salivate, particularly the tenor lead. Plácido Domingo takes on the formidable challenges of the tragic protagonist, Giuliano de' Medici, with complete assurance and turns in an impressively lyrical and heroic performance. As his brother, Lorenzo, baritone Carlos Alvarez is every bit as successful, singing with warmth and power, and bass Eric Owens also makes a strong impression as the villainous Montesecco. The women aren't in the same class, though. Sopranos Daniela Dessì as Simonetta and Renata Lamanda as Fioretta don't have voices of the size to fully inhabit the rôles, and Dessì in particular doesn't always have her vibrato under control. Alberto Veronesi, who seems to be on a mission to resurrect little known works by Puccini, Mascagni, and Leoncavallo, leads the score with enormous authority and passionate, supple lyricism, eliciting terrific performances from Orchestra and Coro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino and Coro di Voci Bianche della Scuola di Musica di Fiesole. Deutsche Grammophon's sound is full, rounded, atmospheric, and well-balanced. This album should be of strong interest to fans of Italian opera, particularly those with a taste for discovery.”

- Zillah Dorset Akron