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See latest reviews of other albums..., April 2020

Filled with beautiful music, though rarely performed, Gioachino Rossini’s Sigismondo dates from the early decades of the 1800s, when Rossini was among the most popular composers in Europe. … This live recording comes from the 2016 Rossini in Wildbad Festival stars mezzo Margarita Gritskova as mad King Sigismondo and soprano Maria Aleida in a fiery performance as Aldimira, the king’s unjustly accused wife. Antonino Fogliani conducts the Camerata Bach Choir Pozna and Virtuosi Brunensis. © 2020 Read complete review

David Cutler
Fanfare, January 2018

The main protagonist Aldimira, Sigismondo’s wife, is probably the best on this disc. Maria Aleida is a Cuban-born soprano who has sung Rossini before. Making her professional debut at the Rossini Opera Festival as Sofia in Il signor Bruschino, she has a good-quality lyric soprano. …The Hungarian bass, Marcell Bakonyi, has a wobble-free voice and is fine without making much of an impression. The last voice is the husband, Sigismondo himself. This is a trouser role and is played by Russian mezzo Margarita Gritskova, who is impressive from middle to top, with a real penetrating delivery. …she is impressive and has much power; her act II duet “tomba di morte” with Aleida is a tour de force piece of singing from both of them. Gritskova also shows off some splendid coloratura in her finale. © 2018 Fanfare Read complete review

Göran Forsling
MusicWeb International, December 2017

The singing is on the whole very good. Margarita Gritskova is a worthy Sigismondo and Maria Aleida as Aldimira sings well and has no problem with the coloratura. Kenneth Tarver sounds a bit worn a couple of times but is up to the mark. Anagilda’s virtuoso rondo is excellently sung by Paula Sánchez-Valverde and Hungarian born Marcell Bakonyi, doubling as Zenovito and Ulderico, has a wett-defined bass-voice.

Antonino Fogliani conducts with style and vitality and the live-recording is worthy of the occasion. © 2017 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Patrick Dillon
Opera News, December 2017

ROSSINI, G.: Sigismondo [Opera] (Gritskova, Aleida, Tarver, Bakonyi, Poznan Camerata Bach Choir, Virtuosi Brunensis, Fogliani) 8.660403-04
ROSSINI, G.: Adelaide di Borgogna [Opera] (Sadovnikova, Gritskova, Poznan Camerata Bach Choir, Virtuosi Brunensis, Acocella) 8.660401-02

The soprano leads, tailored for the talents of Rossini favorite Elisabetta Manfredini, are here split between Maria Aleida (the presumed-dead Aldimira) and Ekaterina Sadovnikova (Adelaide); the former’s airy top notes are charming, as is the latter’s lovely silvery timbre in midrange. In Sigismondo, Kenneth Tarver sings sturdily as the nasty Ladislao, though he’s taxed by the climax of his Act I aria; the lighter-toned Gheorghe Vlad, as Adelaide’s spurned Adelberto, sings with impressive neatness but less panache. The supporting roles are well taken in both operas, and the performances are stylishly led by Antonino Fogliani (Sigismondo) and Luciano Acocella (Adelaide) from the latest critical editions. © 2017 Opera News Read complete review

Ralph P Locke
American Record Guide, November 2017

My favorite number is the Act 2 duet for Sigismondo and the disguised Aldimira, where they express astonishment and a number of other sudden emotions through quick spurts of coloratura. The performance uses the critical edition prepared by the Fondazione Rossini in Pesaro and seems more consistently excellent than the Adelaide of two years earlier from the same Wildbad Festival. This time the singers are uniformly accomplished. There is not an Italian among them—they come from places as varied as Cuba, Hungary, Russia, Spain, the USA, and Venezuela—but they all sing in perfect Rossinian style, with a command of coloratura that ranges from capable to supernatural. The veteran Kenneth Tarver is a tenore di grazia well known from many recordings. His voice has gained depth and thrust but can still manage coloratura with some ease. The Sigismondo is Margarita Gritskova, here showing her dramatic range, not just her fabulous singing skills.

The put-upon soprano is here Maria Aleida, radiating goodness in every note and singing some extremely high notes without strain. Marcell Bakonyi takes two roles very effectively—Zenovito and the King of Bohemia (Ulderico)—though his low notes are weak. Paula Sanchez-Valverde and Cesar Arrieta are a delight to the ear in the smaller roles of Ladislao’s sister Anagilda and his confidant Radoski. © 2017 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Janos Gardonyi
The WholeNote, September 2017

…soprano Maria Aleida gives an extraordinary vocal display that’s quite a match for Gritskova. Rossini excelled in writing for female voices; their duets are simply heavenly and rival Bellini. Tenor Kenneth Tarver, familiar to us in this series, is the villain who planned the murder of the Queen and is so severely tested in the high-flying tessitura that I felt Rossini planned to murder him instead. Antonino Fogliani can hardly be bettered in his magisterial handling of the score. Most enjoyable, highly recommended. © 2017 The WholeNote Read complete review

Richard Osborne
Gramophone, September 2017

The Cuban-born American soprano Maria Aleida, who sings the role of the exiled queen, seems well versed in the bel canto style. Too often, though, what we have here is the rough-and-ready feel of performers making what they can of the work’s eccentric charms. © 2017 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

David Denton
David's Review Corner, July 2017

Roughly translated, the Venetian critic wrote after the premiere of Sigismondo that the libretto was a ‘confused mass of indigestible words pretending to be poetry’. Certainly by starting the opera some way into the original story of the wife, Aldimira, being wrongly accused of infidelity, the person charged with her execution secretly allowing her to escape. And that is where Rossini’s libretto begins within Aldimira having lived in a wooded area for many years, and it is there, in a hunting party, her half-crazed husband, Sigismondo, sees her and once again falls in love with this ‘apparition’. And so the opera proceeds with the added complication that Aldimira’s father says the person Sigismondo has met is an imposter. Finally husband and wife are united, with Ladislao, the man who wrongly accused her, sent to prison for the rest of his life. The librettist, Giuseppe Foppa, thought it best to move the story from Italy to a mythic Poland where Sigismondo is the King and Aldimira his Queen. If the quality of the far-fetched libretto was called into question, Rossini’s need to compose quickly led him to plunder previous operas for material, though he later thought so highly of this score that he borrowed from it for his later works. Following that first performance in 1814, Sigismondo’s fate was to quickly disappear into obscurity, though today’s interest in everything the composer ever wrote has seen two productions, the first, some seven years ago in the Rossini Festival in Pessaro, now followed by this one from Bad Wildbad last year, both updating the action to the present day. The name role is an ideal gift to the young Russian mezzo, Margarita Gritskova, whose ‘fruity’ quality is perfect, while she also deals admirable with the vocal acrobatics. Her second act duet with the silvery voice of the Cuban soprano, Maria Aleida, as Aldimira, is the undoubted highlight of the performance. Ironically, Rossini changed this duet for something more conventional after the opera’s premiere. The engaging music Rossini gave to the high tenor as Ladislao did not create the usual villain, and with the American, Kenneth Tarver, coping well with the highly challenging writing, you would happily warm to the character. Marcell Bakonyi does his best with his musically uninspiring father of Aldimira, the remaining characters given cameo roles. The Virtuosi Brunensis, drawn from the two main orchestras in Brno, is excellent, the conductor, Antonio Fogliani keeping a degree of urgency throughout. Stage noises are much in evidence, and while the recording and balance of the singers is mostly admirable, the chorus sound is congested. Whatever minor reservations, this is an inexpensive way of discovering on of the byways of Rossini’s massive operatic output. © 2017 David’s Review Corner

Records International, July 2017

Customers who like their operas heard and not seen can now have a different performance of Sigismondo than the DVD-only one we offered back in 2012 (10O038). Here’s the description: Premiered at the end of 1814, this was Rossini’s biggest flop (and its predecessor was Il turco in Italia, making the contrast even more stark) which he ended up cannibalizing for Elizabetta, regina d’Inghilterra, Torvaldo e Dorliska, Il barbiere di Siviglia, La Cenerentola and Adina. A mad Polish king banishes his queen on the lies of his smitten minister and friend; the music is vintage early Rossini. © 2017 Records International

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