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“It’s interesting that when Rossini wants to express something very serious it often turns out to be rather sarcastic, which isn’t something one tends to think of in his case. […]There were lots of discoveries… from his youth, for instance, like Cambiale di matrimonio. Many of these pieces, some of them very beautiful, are simply never performed. It was a pleasure and a privilege to discover them.” - Christian Benda

Naxos 8.570935
Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868)
Complete Overtures, Volume 3

Prague Sinfonia Orchestra • Christian Benda

La Cenerentola • L’Italiana in Algeri • Tancredi
Maometto II (1822 Venice version)
La cambiale di matrimonio
Matilde di Shabran • Grand’overtura ‘obbligata a contrabbasso’

Volume 3 of the complete Rossini symphonic overtures continues the pattern of placing rarities such as the lively student work, Grand’overtura ‘obbligata a contrabasso’, and Matilde of Shabran, set in medieval Spain, alongside perennial hits such as The Italian Girl in Algiers and La Cenerentola (Cinderella), said to have been written in just three weeks. described Volume 2 (8.570934) of this series as “delightful … amazing … strongly recommended”.

About the Artists

Christian Benda descends from a long line of musicians. First guest conductor of the Turin Philharmonic, he appears worldwide with orchestras including the Prague Symphony, Shanghai Philharmonic, Orchestra della Toscana, Polish National Opera, Budapest Concert Orchestra MÁV, Cyprus State, Moscow Virtuosi, Sinfonieorchester Münster, Ulster Orchestra, Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo, and Suisse Romande Orchestra, invited by festivals such as Schwetzingen, Echternach/Luxemburg, Cité de la musique Paris, Prague Spring, George Enescu Bucharest, Hong Kong Arts, Klangbogen Wien, and the Menuhin Festival/Switzerland. Christian Benda is chief conductor and artistic director of the Prague Sinfonia Orchestra with which he has recorded numerous standard classical works, as well as Schubert’s and Rossini’s complete overtures. Singers such as Renée Fleming, Barbara Hendricks, Cheryl Studer, and Simon Estes have appeared under his baton. In collaboration with the Vienna State Opera he has devised a new introduction to opera for the general public and young people, High–Lights and Micro–Opera, based on Goethe’s colour theory, with the participation of narrator and dancers.

During the celebrations of Czech National Day, the former President of the Czech Republic Václav Havel became Honorary President of the Prague Sinfonia Orchestra in a gala concert under Christian Benda at the Czech National House in New York City. After collaboration with conductors such as Václav Neumann, Gerd Albrecht, Charles Mackerras, Trevor Pinnock and, for over ten years with Christian Benda, its chief conductor and artistic director, the Prague Sinfonia Orchestra was established for the symphonic repertoire during Prague Chamber Orchestra's sixteenth tour of North America. The orchestra has toured widely throughout the world, and is a regular participant in Czech musical life, with concert series in Prague and participation in festivals like Salzburg, Bregenz, Berlin, Dresden, Lucerne, Montreux, Cheltenham, Besançon, and Biarritz. Among the artists to have performed with the orchestra are Maxim Vengerov, Arturo Benedetti-Michelangeli, Friedrich Gulda, Emil Gilels, Henryk Szeryng, Mischa Maisky, and Christoph Eschenbach. Recordings for companies including RCA, EMI, Decca, Sony Classics, Naxos, Polydor, Nippon Columbia, Denon, BMG, Telarc, Ariola, Eurodisc and Supraphon have won a number of prestigious prizes, including the Wiener Flötenuhr, the Grand Prix du Disque Académie Charles Cros twice, and, after having sold one million records, the Golden Disc Award.

Also Available

Naxos 8.570933
ROSSINI, G.: Overtures (Complete), Vol. 1
Prague Sinfonia • Christian Benda


Rossini wrote some of music’s most masterful and lovable operas. His gift for comic and tragic forms was matched by a relish for characterisation, qualities that are always evident in his overtures. La gazza ladra (The Thieving Magpie) is perhaps the most famous, one of the world’s most popular concert openers. But in Otello he reveals his more complex turns of phrase and in Le siège de Corinthe the writing is dramatic and colourful. The overture for Elisabetta, Regina d’Inghilterra was used again a year later by Rossini for Il barbiere di Siviglia. This is the first of four discs of the complete Rossini Overtures.

Naxos 8.570934
ROSSINI, G.: Overtures (Complete), Vol. 2
Prague Sinfonia • Christian Benda


Rossini’s ceaseless wit and invention are best exemplified in his series of operas. His colourful orchestration and command of both comic and tragic elements can be savoured in this second of four volumes of the complete symphonic overtures. Guillaume Tell, with its overture in four movements, includes a scene for five solo cellos. La scala di seta (The Silken Ladder), one of his most popular pieces, opens with an overture of charm and élan. Volume 1 (8.570933) was described by MusicWeb International as “an admirable start to what looks like being a very desirable series”.

Naxos 8.660284-85
ROSSINI, G.: Italiana in Algeri (L')
Marianna Pizzolato • Lorenzo Regazzo
Virtuosi Brunensis • Alberto Zedda

Using the critical edition by Azio Corghi, this recording of L’Italiana in Algeri was made at a jubilee performance of the XXth Rossini in Wildbad Festival in 2008. For his tenth opera, the already celebrated 21-year-old Rossini wanted ‘a humorous libretto full of spectacle’. This spirited opera, completed in barely a month, scored an immediate hit and its manic atmosphere of ‘organized, total lunacy’, as Stendhal put it, has ensured its enduring popularity.

Naxos 8.660037-38
ROSSINI: Tancredi
Collegium Instrumentale Brugense • Alberto Zedda

Naxos 8.660302
ROSSINI, G.: Cambiale di matrimonio (La)
Vito Priante • Julija Samsonova • Daniele Zanfardino
Wurttemberg Philharmonic Orchestra • Christopher Franklin

The plot of La cambiale di matrimonio (The Bill of Marriage), which Rossini composed when he was just eighteen years old, revolves around the farcical attempts of Tobia Mill, a rich English merchant, to combine business with pleasure by forcing his daughter, the lovely Fanny (‘merchandise’) to marry Slook, his rich colonial correspondent from America, by means of a bill of exchange. Eventually, it is the gallant Slook himself who persuades Mill to allow Fanny to marry her true love, Edoardo Milfort.

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