Gioacchino Rossini Matilde di Shabran Joan Diego Florez Olga Peretyatko Michele MariottiGioacchino Rossini
Matilde di Shabran

CAST: Olga Peretyatko: Matilde di Shabran, Anna Goryachova: Edoardo, Marco Filippo Romano: Raimondo Lopez, Juan Diego Florez: Corradino, Simon Orfila: Ginardo, Nicola Alaimo: Aliprando, Paolo Bordogna: Isidoro, Chiara Chialli: Contessa d’Arco

Orchestra e coro del Teatro Comunale de Bologna
Michele Mariotti, conductor

Stage director: Mario Martone

Decca, 2013

This DVD is the second official registration that the Rossini Opera Festival dedicates to Matilde di Shabran, one of Gioacchino Rossini’s last operas and the last of semi-serious genre, with a libretto by the trusted poet Jacopo Ferretti, who had already wrote the text of Cenerentola. In 2004 a CD was produced, recorded during the same production of Mario Martone, where the protagonists were Juan Diego Florez as Corradino, the amazing Annick Massis in the role of Matilde, Hadar Halevy (Edoardo), Marco Vinco (Aliprando) and Bruno de Simone (Isidoro). The DVD visually completes what had been previously realized, although I think that the CD is musically better, and show the public an essential setting, rather dark, which is characterized by a long, double staircase in the middle of the stage, which disappears above it and that if necessary turns on itself. The direction mirrors the sobriety of set designing, limiting itself to the essential, but with great intelligence and adherence to the libretto.

The role of Corradino Cuordiferro is inextricably linked to Florez’s name, being the character that launched his international career twenty years ago, but also one of Rossini’s most arduous tenor roles. This does not seem to worry the tenor, who moreover passes the time to get up and down the staircase, so that the result appears as a miracle. Like any other Rossini’s role he sang, the part is cut especially for Florez and allows him to shine with secure and limpid agility and clear and full of taste phrasing. The facets of the character, if not psychologically deep, are manifold, since Corradino’s moods change three times in the course of the opera, and Florez expresses them very well, lingering with obvious fun when he changes from wild lord of the castle to lover just hit by Cupid’s arrow, who still does not understand what is happening to his “iron heart” (i. e. “cuordiferro”). It is worth remembering his awkward and unfortunately short ballet during the duet with Matilde, Piacere ugual gli dei, which in its comic effort remembers the leaping steps of Sœur Colette in Comte Ory at the Metropolitan (also available on DVD).

Olga Peretyatko’s Matilde is overall valid, even if she fails to arouse the same enthusiasm of Annick Massis: flirtatious and self-confident on stage, she does not have a vocal timbre of the best quality and, even if her agility is accurate, they are missing a “push” to make them exciting. The vocal registers are not perfectly uniform, but the singer insists on the middle one, also choosing variations that do not point to stratospheric high notes.

Anna Goryachova sings en travesti the young Edoardo Lopez, showing a good mastery of the character, to whom she gives a great expressiveness and sings very well both arias, which are the real “serious” pieces of the opera.

Paolo Bordogna sings the scary, hungry poet Isidoro, which is only one of the characters, already funny for libretto, destined to become even more funny thanks to the theatrical talent of the Milanese baritone, here engaged in the Neapolitan dialect. Bordogna is good also in singing, although less brilliantly.

The same can be applied to Matilde’s rival, Chiara Chialli’s Contessa d’Arco, another historical interpreter, since she sang also in the production of 2004, and who, despite her remarkable stage presence, is very often musically inaccurate. I liked more Nicola Alaimo as Aliprando, who, despite he lacks solo arias, is very good in the initial quartet and in the duet with Matilde. As for Simon Orfila, is an uninspiring Ginardo, a characteristic that unfortunately I found also in his other roles; in the same quartet of which I just talked, he almost disappear compared to other singers. Marco Filippo Romano as Raimondo Lopez and Georgio Misseri as Egoldo are both good, albeit they have minor roles.

Michele Mariotti’s direction is easy and self-possessed, follows carefully the singers, shows its independence with new and interesting ideas and gives vivacity to three abundant hours of music.

Overall, this opera can be considered a success.

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