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Infodad.com, May 2013

Because a number of these works are little-known and infrequently performed today, the musical mixture is an enjoyable one in and of itself; the enjoyment increases when the works are heard in the context of the story of Barbaja’s life and times. © 2013 Infodad.com Read complete review




Mary Kunz Goldman
The Buffalo News, April 2013

Fascinating in several ways, this disc is, in effect, a promotion for a book published this month by Haus Publishing in Britain. The book is a biography of Domenico Barbaja, a charming but power-hungry man who shaped bel canto opera in the early 1800s. It is fun to see opera through Barbaja’s eyes, to confront the composers from a business angle. He shaped Bellini’s career, signing him up right out of the Naples Conservatory. He commissioned 26 operas from Donizetti. Rossini was apparently late fulfilling his commissions; once, Barbaja had to lock him in his apartment until he finished the now-forgotten “Otello.”

The music on the CD gives you some unusual clips from operas Barbaja helped birth—including Rossini’s “Otello,” Bellini’s early effort “Il pirata” and Donizetti’s Tudor opera “Roberto Devereux.” © 2013 The Buffalo News Read complete review





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