Mascagni: Cavalleria Rusticana
Label: BRILLIANT CLASSICS
Format: COMPACT DISC
Coro Lirico Francesco Cilea; Arlia, Filippo; Dolzhenko, Irina; Giorgio, Alessandra di; Giuliacci, Piero; Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin; Balzani, Domenico
One would be hard pressed to find an opera more proudly Southern Italian than Cavalleria rusticana, set in Vizzini, a small mountain village in the Sicilian hinterland that was the birthplace of the story’s playwright, Giovanni Verga. Its enduring popularity makes it surprising indeed that the last studio recording dates to exactly 30 years ago (1990, Semyon Bychkov), preceded just a year earlier by Giuseppe Sinopoli’s critically acclaimed production dedicated to his father, who, like its protagonists and Verga, was Sicilian. This new interpretation is thus long overdue and joins a small but prestigious circle of recordings, with Carmine Gallone (1953, film), Tullio Serafin (1960), Herbert von Karajan (1965), James Levine (1978), Franco Zeffirelli (1982, film) and Georges Pretre (1983) predating Sinopoli. This new production of Cavalleria Rusticana brings together some of the most prominent artists on today’s international opera stages under conductor Filippo Arlia, a native of South Italy’s Calabria and youngest-ever Director of an Italian conservatory (Nocera Terinese’s ‘Tchaikovsky’ Conservatory). The recording’s soloists are no less impressive: tenor Piero Giuliacci (Turiddu, winner of the ‘Mascagni d’Oro’ 2013 and ‘Pavarotti d’Oro’ 2017); mezzo-soprano Alessandra Di Giorgio (Santuzza); baritone Domenico Balzani (Alfio); mezzo-soprano Irina Dolzhenko (Lucia); and soprano Giorgia Teodoro (Lola) who, like Arlia, calls Calabria home. This recording revives Mascagni’s voice in a new millennium with artists capable of honouring the verismo vocal color he pioneered, before an entire generation of opera composers followed suit.