Die Vier Grobiane

Album cover art for upc 761203514021
Label: CPO
Catalog: 555140-2

Schirmer, Ulf; Francke, Markus; Landshamer, Christina; Bernhard, Susanne; Linn, Jürgen; Röhlig, Friedemann; Schöne, Peter; Flessa, Nathalie; Buffle, Christine; Halem, Victor von; Kushpler, Zoryana; Eikötter, Uwe; Münchner Rundfunkorchester

The conductor Ulf Schirmer has a special knack for the light Muse – as his regular operetta performances with the Munich Radio Orchestra, many of them documented on cpo, have shown over the years. Munich was also the site of the 1906 premiere of Die vier Grobiane / I quatro rusteghi by Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari, a work answering to the description of a modern comic opera and displaying this composer’s typical combination of marvelously chatty parlando and charming melodicism. There are two sides to the conflict fueling the plot: four curmudgeonly husbands who believe that they can and should exercise absolute rule over their wives and children and female characters who engage in intrigues. The action of the opera is set in Venice and elaborates a source text by Carlo Goldoni (1760). The composer scores his points with a tone of considerable lightness, a small orchestral ensemble entrusted with the presentation of a famous intermezzo, and spirited melodies in part based on folk songs. The wealth of ideas developed in his harmonic scheme remaining within tonal limits is also surprising.

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