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Robert J Farr
MusicWeb International, November 2009

With this frothily implausible plot the best stagings are often the simplest and colourful. This is very much the case in this production from Pesaro first seen in 2002. The costumes are highly colourful and the basic set of a raked and sloped sand-coloured beach is easily and quickly adapted for the various scenes that follow. This is aided by judicious lighting and the use of an opening curved back. The arrival and departure of Selim’s boat is particularly well portrayed.

As might be guessed from Callas’s revival of the work, it is a vocal and acting dream for a singing coloratura actress. In this production this is exactly what it get in the form of the ginger-haired and slim Alessandra Marianelli whose sung and acted portrayal is of a high standard. There are not many formal arias in the work but when she gets the chance for a solo, as when Fiorilla discovers her husband has disowned her and she is homeless (CH.29), the range of Marianelli’s vocal expression matches that of her flexible coloratura in the many duets and ensembles. Marco Vinco seems to be the Rossini buffa de jour. Whilst not erasing memories of Sam Ramey who had more fruitiness and sonority in his bass, Vinco is always able to portray these buffo parts with conviction as he does here with some resonant tones to go along with his resplendent costume and headgear (CH.7). The Prosdocimo, Bruno Taddia, is equally convincing, with his poet’s pencil protruding from his mop of hair. He sings and acts with character in the many ensembles and in his duet with Albazar (CH.25). Less convincing is the blandly acted Andrea Concetti as the husband. He seems a wimp anyway, at least until he gets some spine into himself and bars his wife from their home. Concetti is a light-toned singer and finds difficulty in investing his singing and acting with much character. Full-toned, if with a touch too much vibrato, and well portrayed is Elena Belfiore Selim’s cast aside Zaide. The two minor tenor roles of Narciso and Albazar are adequately taken with the latter having a pleasant light sound.

Rossini plundered the ebullient overture for Sigsmundo (1814), somewhat risky as it was back in Venice at La Fenice, and Otello (1816) far away in Naples. Antonello Allemandi conducts it with brio and navigates the weaker parts of the score with aplomb. The Orchestra Haydn Di Bolzano e Trento are well up to the demands of his baton and the score. The Prague Chamber Choir is an enthusiastic and vibrant participant…The Naxos DVD owes its existence to Dynamic and not only has a brief introductory essay, but also an excellent chapter-related synopsis in English and German as well as very welcome cast biographies, albeit in the former language only.

Chris Mullins
Opera Today, July 2009

A sort of companion piece to his more popular L’Italiana in Algeri, Il Turco in Italia shares no characters with its better-loved cousin. On the demerit side, it also shares neither L’Italiana’s memorable tunefulness nor relatively comprehensible plot. In Turco, the character of a poet almost serves to break “the fourth wall,” manipulating the other characters into providing the sort of romantic complications that inspire his art. Besides the visiting Turkish prince, a band of gypsies cavorts with the usual young lovers, and “all ends happily,” as the booklet synopsis states…It is in the synopsis that Richard Lawrence identifies particular numbers apparently composed by someone other than Rossini, including the opera’s conclusion. Perhaps this particular piece did not elicit from Rossini his top-drawer inspiration, but the score never noticeably sags…As the Turk, Marco Vinco has more voice (a mellow, solid bass) than personality. The roles of the young married couple at the center of the Poet’s amorous shenanigans are performed by Alessandra Marianelli, a pleasant enough voice, and Andrea Concetti, adequate but hardly distinctive. A more impressive tenor appears in the small role of Albazar. Here Daniele Zanfardina shines, especially in a very sweet second act aria…The Teatro Rossini’s small stage is not exactly crowded with Paolo Bregni’s sets. A bare stone platform, perhaps resembling a wharf, serves for most of the action. A more elaborate setting for Donna Fiorella’s home provides the eye with some distraction. Santuzza Cali’s costumes are colorful if conventional. Guido De Monticelli, the director, keeps things moving…Antonello Allemandi conducts an ensemble with the wonderful name of Orchestra Haydn di Bolzano e Trento. Naxos provides the musicians with crisp, clean sound for their energetic efforts.

Giv Cornfield
The New Recordings, Cliffs Classics, June 2009

Recorded at the Teatro Rossini in 2007 at the composer’s birthplace, this comic opera must rank high (on a scale of 1 to 10) among the silliest plots that abound in 19th century entertainment. Not that this is a bad thing, as show-biz items of the period go. The production is moderately lavish, as are the costumes and set designs. As might be expected, the performance is idiomatic—Italian opera companies are invariably very good—if not arresting. But what I liked best about this Naxos DVD is the no-nonsense, direct presentation: no lengthy, annoying fade-ins and -outs, with the uncomplicated menu appearing immediately.

Charles H Parsons
American Record Guide, May 2009

Facial expressions are quite captivating, as the extensive recitatives go ripping along in high comedy. All sing with a fine naturalism that creates the feeling of comic involvement for the singers and the audience. I imagine that the simplified staging by Guido De Monticelli helped with that. Overt buffoonery is in short supply, the director preferring a more serious approach. The singing is quite fine. Marianelli’s hefty voice gives Fiorilla a bit more depth and drama than one might expect. Her sincerity also colors her voice to reflect the text. Concetti’s Geronio is a poor sad sack, gentle, restrained, sung with unusual delicacy. Taddia’s Prosdocimo is elegant, refined in voice and acting, a real gentleman. Those Rossini tenors really have a hard time of it. Taxing, long-lined, long-winded, but oh so rewarding if the tenor has the voice for the sustained coloratura. Don Narciso Adami has it. Bright, clean and fresh, attractive in timbre, a voice of refinement, good looks, and an attractive stage persona. Vinco’s young Turk has a lot going for him too. A mellow bass sound used with careful style and a twinkling characterization, low on the buffoonery, make for a sophisticated Selim. The Haydn Orchestra from Bolzano and a chamber chorus from Prague make suitable backups for the soloists under Allemandi’s attentive direction.

Jane Reed
Video Librarian, May 2009

In Rossini’s charming opera buffa, a poet named Prosdocimo—who is determined to find a plot for a comedy in the adventures of a band of Neapolitan gypsies—gets more than he bargained for after the arrival of Turkish prince Selim sets off a series of romantic entanglements involving heartsick gypsy woman Zaida, flirtatious matron Fiorilla, and her cuckolded husband Geronio. After many intrigues, all ends well, with love finding its true course and the poet satisfied with his plot. Il Turco in Italia is an ensemble opera (the few arias include so-called “arias of obligation,” pieces written by an unknown collaborator mainly to satisfy the demands of certain artists for vehicles to showcase their talents) presented here in a delightful traditional production boasting sprightly direction, attractive costumes, and a cleverly staged set that allows the ensemble singers to be placed to comic advantage. Filmed live at the Teatro Rossini in Pesaro, Italy as part of the Rossini Festival, Il Turco in Italia features Bruno Taddia as Prosdocimo, Marco Vinco as Selim, Elena Belfiore as Zaida, Alessandra Marianelli as Fiorilla, and Andrea Concetti as Geronio, backed by the Orchestra Haydn di Bolzano e Trento under the baton of Antonello Allemandi, as well as the Prague Chamber Chorus. Often overshadowed (unjustly) by Rossini’s L’Italiana in Algeri, Il Turco in Italia is rarely performed, making this fine production (with Dolby Digital 5.0, Dolby Digital stereo, and DTS sound options) a welcome arrival. Recommended.

Paul Turok
Turok’s Choice, April 2009

Rossini’s Il Turco in Italia, premiered in 1814 at La Scala is his most Mozartean opera, more in compositional technique than in materials (its predecessor at the house was “Cosi fan tutte”) (Naxos 2.110259). Comic, but not farcical, it deals with  Selim (Marco Vinco), a Turkish visitor to Italy who falls in love with Fiorilla (Alessandra Marianelli), whom, although married, is a terrible flirt. Eventually, he ends up with his early love Zaida (Elena Belfiore) after trying, unsuccessfully, to buy Fiorilla from her husband (Andrea Concetti). The music, full of Rossini’s mature compositional devices, lacks the first-class melodies of his greatest operas, but is smooth as can be. Very good performance from the Rossini Festival at Pesaro in 2007, led by Antonello Allemandi.

David Denton
David's Review Corner, January 2009

Taken from the stage of the Teatro Rossini, Pesaro, during the 2007 ‘Rossini Opera Festival’, this is a superb presentation of the highly amusing comedy, Il Turco in Italia, sung by a young Italian cast. That has the immediate advantage of the singers looking much like the characters they are portraying, while their diction is immaculate. The production must be much as Rossini imagined it, with a real boat coming on stage to deliver the Turk on his visit to Italy. For the twenty-two year old, Alessandra Marianelli, in the role of the flirtatious, Fiorilla, it is an unqualified success. A natural actress, I can only hope she treats her voice with care, as she is surely one of the finest soubrette to emerge for decades. Dancing around the required vocal gymnastics, her striptease scene when she seduces her husband, Geronio, is both tasteful and very funny. Andrea Concetti does take time settling into the part, but becomes a highly plausible old man hanging on to his young wife. Marco Vinco is the Turk, Selim, never trying to make the role funnier than it is, while Bruno Taddia, as the poet looking for a story, is ideal for the balancing part of the person who manipulates the comedy. I was also much taken by the young and typically Italian tenor of Filippo Adami as Fiorilla’s admirer, Narcisco. With lovely sets, highly colourful costumes, Guido De Monticelli’s direction is a masterpiece. The film crew and director, Tiziano Mancini, are equally to be thanked for the perfect balance between close-up and whole-stage shots, while the pure quality of the colour is a massive cut above the average. Finally add the inspired conducting of the much experienced, Antonello Allemandi, this urgent pacing of the score never allows his singers to dawdle, yet gives sufficient time to mould the lyric arias. The Orchestra Haydn di Bolzano e Trento, is compact, and under Allemandi they produce a wonderfully detailed accompaniment, By the top studio standards, the theatre acoustic is just a trifle boxy but very clear. There are the usual translated subtitles. A DVD I would hate to be without.

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