Rossini: Zelmira

Rossini: Zelmira

by Joshua StewartJoshua Stewart


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Rossini's opera "Zelmira" (1822) was reasonably successful in its time and was even performed in New Orleans, but it fell out of the Rossini canon for various reasons. Most often cited is its Byzantine plot, revolving around Polidoro, king of Lesbos, his titular daughter, and scheming courtiers; read the plot summary, it may spark laughter, if not joy. Perhaps more important is the opera's rather uncharacteristic style: Rossini himself called it Teutonic, and the choruses may put the listener in mind of Mozart's "La clemenza di Tito, K. 621," rather than the later Rossini. When the Rossini style became fixed in the public mind, this opera didn't fit and was discarded. By the 21st century, though, this had come to seem intriguing, and several recordings rescued the opera from obscurity. One was led by conductor Claudio Scimone, who has championed the work; it may be the version of choice. Yet this live production, captured in 2017 at the Rossini in Wildbad Festival in Germany and with Rossini specialist Gianluigi Gelmetti leading the Virtuosi Brunensis merits hearing by Rossini fans: the sound is no great shakes, but the performers hit the high points of the work. The Gorecki Chamber Choir of Krakow steps up to the major role the chorus plays in the opera, even interrupting the overture in a way that appears in only one other Rossini opera, and the principals are very strong. Well worth the time of Rossini lovers.

Product Details

Release Date: 01/10/2020
Label: Naxos
UPC: 0730099046879
catalogNumber: 8660468
Rank: 110265


  1. Zelmira, opera

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