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Mike Parr
MusicWeb International, January 2020

MERCADANTE, S.: Didone abbandonata [Opera] (Innsbruck Festival of Early Music, 2018) (NTSC) 2.110630
MERCADANTE, S.: Didone abbandonata [Opera] (Innsbruck Festival of Early Music, 2018) (Blu-ray, HD) NBD0095V

The orchestra play their music with a beautiful sheen to their sound and feeling for the bel canto style…

The Festival has assembled a very impressive cast of mostly young singers with excellent technique and solid, well produced voices. That makes this first encounter a distinct pleasure.

Lithuanian singer Viktorija Miškūnaitė as the title character is a fantastic lyric coloratura soprano, who should be better known. She looks stunning, and she gets deeply involved in her role. Her voice is very fleet at coping with the coloratura demands, and her vocal quality expands excitingly in the upper register. 

The villainous Iarba is the generally excellent Carlo Vincenzo Allemano. He has a robust tenor with attractive and solidly produced tone. © 2020 MusicWeb International Read complete review



David Cutler
Fanfare, January 2020

MERCADANTE, S.: Didone abbandonata [Opera] (Innsbruck Festival of Early Music, 2018) (NTSC) 2.110630
MERCADANTE, S.: Didone abbandonata [Opera] (Innsbruck Festival of Early Music, 2018) (Blu-ray, HD) NBD0095V

Both tenor and soprano enter into the spirit and sing their hearts out in a surprisingly violent end! The second singers are fine, with the lighter tenor triumphing, just, over a particularly difficult aria.

The two main singers are most convincing, whereas the production completely distracts. The orchestra is superb, led by De Marchi with what seems like ideal pacing. …This must still be recommended, as it is a rare work indeed by Mercadante, who bestrode the early to middle years of the 19th century and is not often heard. © 2020 Fanfare Read complete review



Ken Meltzer
Fanfare, January 2020

MERCADANTE, S.: Didone abbandonata [Opera] (Innsbruck Festival of Early Music, 2018) (NTSC) 2.110630
MERCADANTE, S.: Didone abbandonata [Opera] (Innsbruck Festival of Early Music, 2018) (Blu-ray, HD) NBD0095V

Soprano Viktorija Miškūnaitė, a gorgeous and riveting stage presence, combines a silvery, beautifully produced soprano voice with pinpoint agility and secure high notes. She is entirely convincing as the Queen Didone, a beautiful, proud, seductive, and courageous woman who meets a tragic end. Mezzo-soprano Katrin Wundsam’s performance in the trouser role of Enea is equally convincing in every respect.

Conductor Alessandro De Marchi leads a taut and compelling performance, with fine playing by the period instrument Accademia Montis Regalis and admirable singing from the men of the Coro Maghini. The production, staged at the Tiroler Landestheater, Innsbruck Austria, is set in the early 20th century. A rotating stage allows for relatively spare sets to serve a multitude of functions. … On balance, this Didone abbandonata is worthwhile, both as an opportunity to explore one of Saverio Mercadante’s lesser-known works, and to enjoy some first-rate singers at the composer’s service. Recommended. © 2020 Fanfare Read complete review



Fred Cohn
Opera News, December 2019

MERCADANTE, S.: Didone abbandonata [Opera] (Innsbruck Festival of Early Music, 2018) (NTSC) 2.110630
MERCADANTE, S.: Didone abbandonata [Opera] (Innsbruck Festival of Early Music, 2018) (Blu-ray, HD) NBD0095V

The performance, from the 2018 Innsbruck Festival of Early Music, uses a Piedmontese period-instrument orchestra, the Academia Montis Regalis, led by its music director, Alessandro De Marchi. The singers no doubt benefit from the transparent textures that the conductor draws from his players, as well as from the lowered (A=430) pitch.

The work of Austrian mezzo-soprano Katrin Wundsam, as Enea, exhibits both precision and flair. A trace of flint in her tone makes her well suited to the trouser role, as does her physical presence. The Lithuanian soprano Viktorija Miškūnaitė sings with sweet, pleasing tone… © 2019 Opera News Read complete review



David Reynolds
American Record Guide, November 2019

Miskunaite has a lovely soprano voice and sings Dido with authority if without the real star power a Shirley Verrett or a Montserrat Caballé would have brought to the part. She is very attractive… Katrin Wundsam sings with great verve and style, ornamenting her music with aplomb. She plays the hero with just the right amount of passion and arrogance. Carlo Vicenzo Allemano brings a strong, burly bari-tenor to the role of the insufferable Jarba. This is one of those roles that is required to sing high, low, and fast, sometimes all at once. Allemano brings it off with energy and color. … Maestro De Marchi and his forces are enjoying themselves tremendously. © 2019 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide




Record Geijutsu, September 2019

MERCADANTE, S.: Didone abbandonata [Opera] (Innsbruck Festival of Early Music, 2018) (NTSC) 2.110630
MERCADANTE, S.: Didone abbandonata [Opera] (Innsbruck Festival of Early Music, 2018) (Blu-ray, HD) NBD0095V

The style of music will draw in Rossini fans without hesitation. Ample long arias and singing parts will be irresistible to anyone who loves to sing. © 2019 Record Geijutsu



Richard Wigmore
Gramophone, August 2019

MERCADANTE, S.: Didone abbandonata [Opera] (Innsbruck Festival of Early Music, 2018) (NTSC) 2.110630
MERCADANTE, S.: Didone abbandonata [Opera] (Innsbruck Festival of Early Music, 2018) (Blu-ray, HD) NBD0095V

Mezzo Katrin Wundsam cuts a convincingly upright, ‘masculine’ figure as Aeneas, reluctant to besmirch his honour by killing Jarbas. Singing evenly across a wide range, she embellishes tastefully and excels both in subtly inflected lyricism and swashbuckling coloratura.

…Alessandro De Marchi directs his lean period forces (thinnish strings, pleasantly tangy woodwind) with energy and sensitive understanding of the idiom. © 2019 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone




Uwe Krusch
Pizzicato, July 2019

MERCADANTE, S.: Didone abbandonata [Opera] (Innsbruck Festival of Early Music, 2018) (NTSC) 2.110630
MERCADANTE, S.: Didone abbandonata [Opera] (Innsbruck Festival of Early Music, 2018) (Blu-ray, HD) NBD0095V

Alessandro de Marchi revival of Mercadante’s Didone Abbandonata benefits from a very good cast… © 2019 Pizzicato Read complete review



Lark Reviews, July 2019

MERCADANTE, S.: Didone abbandonata [Opera] (Innsbruck Festival of Early Music, 2018) (NTSC) 2.110630
MERCADANTE, S.: Didone abbandonata [Opera] (Innsbruck Festival of Early Music, 2018) (Blu-ray, HD) NBD0095V

Mercadante is almost forgotten today but was an important opera composer alongside Donizetti and an influence on Verdi. The work as here presented is a meticulous reconstruction of early music styles which allows us to get a feel for the way it may have sounded to its original audience. A highly enjoyable recording of a rare work and worth seeking out. © 2019 Lark Reviews



Keris Nine
OperaJournal, June 2019

MERCADANTE, S.: Didone abbandonata [Opera] (Innsbruck Festival of Early Music, 2018) (NTSC) 2.110630
MERCADANTE, S.: Didone abbandonata [Opera] (Innsbruck Festival of Early Music, 2018) (Blu-ray, HD) NBD0095V

…Alessandro De Marchi’s conducting of the Academia Montis Regalis is authoritative and attuned to the situations and overall pace and rhythm. His interview in the enclosed booklet is highly informative on how a complete edition of the score was assembled and how the authentic early 19th century sound contributes to the character of the work. The singing is also impressive throughout, with a superb performance in particular from mezzo-soprano Katrin Wundsam in the trouser role of Aeneas, demonstrating impeccable control over the complete range with dramatic swoops from high to low. Her Act II rondò is just stunning. © 2019 OperaJournal Read complete review



David Denton
David's Review Corner, June 2019

MERCADANTE, S.: Didone abbandonata [Opera] (Innsbruck Festival of Early Music, 2018) (NTSC) 2.110630
MERCADANTE, S.: Didone abbandonata [Opera] (Innsbruck Festival of Early Music, 2018) (Blu-ray, HD) NBD0095V

Deeply embedded in that vary long list of ‘rarely, if ever’ performed early Nineteenth century operas, Innsbruck staged Mercadante’s Didone Abbandonata in 2018. It uses the basic story had appeared many times before in opera, going back to the Seventeenth century masterpiece, Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, though for this Italian opera they become Didone and Enea. The plot is, to say the last, complex, but centres around the love of Didone, the Queen of Carthage, for Enea, who in turn relates that he has been ordered by the Gods to leave Carthage and to go forth to find the land where Troy may rise once more. The story then adds the arrival of Jarba, the powerful King of the Moors, who demands Didone’s hand in marriage and Enea’s head. With many more twists and turns as events unfold before she pledges her complete faithfulness to Enea, only to find that he and his Trojan fleet of ships have already departed for Italy. Rejected by Didone, Jarba orders his army to set fire to Carthage and destroy it. Didone stabs him and dies with him in the flames. Cuts have been made here to some of the original recitatives, but the arias and scenes remain as the composer intended, the opera lasting not far short of two and a half hours. This new production, staged at the Tiroler Landestheatre, Innsbruck, was directed by Jurgen Flimm, who has updated the action to something close to our present day. The arrival of the marching army in the opening scene is here so unintentionally funny, we could be in the world of Gilbert & Sullivan, the large cement mixer that then takes centre stage adding its own perplexing presence. Hugely demanding on the cast, particularly on Didone who, after much in the soprano’s outer stratospheres, is called upon to sing an exacting final scene lasting ten minutes. Tireless in this vocal marathon, the young Lithuanian, Viktorija Miskunaite, merits our gratitude for accepting the challenge, and equally I admired the Chilean tenor, Diego Godoy, hitting impossibly high notes in the supporting role of Araspe. In the original Turin staging of the opera, the composer used a female to sing the part of Didone, and here we have the outstanding German mezzo, Katrin Wundsam, giving a powerful portrayal. Returning us briefly to a G & S comedy with a silly dance in the second act, Carlo Vincenzo Allemano, is a very full voiced Jarba. Then we ask the question, why employ a period instrument orchestra, the Academia Montis Regalis, when everything else is in a modern setting? The score is then very taxing for the valveless horns, though elsewhere the Academia do not add much ‘period’ to the tonal quality of the score. Conductor, Alessandro De Marchi, keeps the action moving forward admirably, the video quality is admirable. Musically it is a very powerful score very well worth discovering, and we must be grateful to Innsbruck for bringing it to our attention. There is also a Blu-ray version on NBD 0095V. © 2019 David’s Review Corner





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