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Henry Fogel
Fanfare, March 2013

If one singer stands out in an excellent cast, it is Dimitra Theodossiou. Theodossiou floats glorious pianissimi, soars over the entire ensemble when required, sculpts long phrases naturally, and is deeply inside the character. This is a truly triumphant performance, and marks the arrival of a major Verdi soprano for our time.

The remainder of the cast is very good…Meli and De Biasio…sing beautifully, using the full range of dynamics available to them, and both have strong top notes produced without strain. Michele Pertusi…gives a performance of great distinction…three men, two tenors and a bass, share the load fairly equally, and it is a great strength of this performance that they are all very good.

The stage production is extremely traditional…We get simple backdrops that create the illusion of location…and very elaborate and effective period costumes. © 2013 Fanfare Read complete review



Janos Gardonyi
The WholeNote, January 2013

…Francesco Meli provides some enchanting moments while the girl (daughter of the leader of the Crusade), Giselda, the dramatic-soprano lead, sung by the formidable Dimitra Theodossiou, soldiers magnificently through all four acts from breathtaking pianissimo solos to fortissimo outbreaks with shattering high notes as in the finale of the second act. To top it all she displays such vocal acrobatics in her fourth act cabaletta that even the brilliant conductor, Daniele Callegari seems visibly delighted.

Choruses feature heavily in this opera…Most notable here is the supremely beautiful trio at the end of Act Three that gives me shivers of pleasure every time I hear it. The underpinning voice in the trio is the lead baritone, Michele Pertusi, the evil brother turned hermit (sung at the Met by Samuel Ramey) whose voice of stentorian power and great sensitivity is so magnificent that all I can say is: “Oh, brother, can he ever sing!!” Overall a memorable production, worthy of Verdi. © 2013 The WholeNote Read complete review




Simon Thompson
MusicWeb International, January 2013

The first release I encountered in Parma’s complete Verdi series was I Due Foscari, a release which was momentarily impressive but which left me fundamentally fairly indifferent. This Lombardi is a lot better, an improvement in almost every respect.

The thing that really marks out this release…is the singing. The punishing role of Giselda requires drama, poignancy, coloratura and religious fervour. Dimitra Theodossiou does a very good job of providing all of these…her expressions of grief and fear are always convincing and very attractively sung. Her lover, Oronte, is sung by the clarion-bright tenor of Francesco Meli. He sings at his very best here: light, exciting, lyrical and beautiful. La mia letizia infondere, his Act 2 declaration of love, pulses with excitement and lyricism, and the message from beyond the grave which he delivers at the start of Act 4 is gorgeously ethereal. Equally fine, but with the advantage of authority and splendour, is Michele Pertusi as Pagano…He is clearly having a fantastic time, particularly in his villainous Act 1 aria, which is sung with a thrilling edge of vigour. He then manages to moderate his tone most impressively to carry a convincing quality of repentance and holiness. The joint contribution of these three makes the baptism scene of Act 3…the highlight of the opera. Their voices blend beautifully and they all seem completely convinced by the quality of what they are doing. Roberto di Biasio sounds much more comfortable than he did in Foscari, and Roberto Tagliavini, as in Foscari, makes the most of his small role.

In many ways, though, the most important character in this opera is the chorus, who have a major role to play in almost every scene. They sing with brilliant conviction throughout, something acknowledged by the audience in their applause, and they are used with intelligence by the director. Their choruses to Jerusalem, at the start of Act 3 and the end of Act 4, are merely their finest moments; they cover themselves in glory at every turn, illustrating the very best traditions of Italian opera choruses as they do so. Daniele Callegari reinvigorates the Parma Orchestra so that they sound much, much better than they did in Foscari. They play with a level of passion that they did not display in that release, and the violin solo that introduces the baptism scene is wonderfully realised.

It deserves to be far better known than it is, and I hope this DVD helps to achieve that. © 2013 MusicWeb International Read complete review



Robert Benson
ClassicalCDReview.com, November 2012

I Lombardi has many impressive arias…This new splendid Pama DVD makes a strong case for I Lombardi, with state-of-the-art video and audio. © 2012 ClassicalCDReview.com Read complete review






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