Opera Rara

Maria di Rohan

2CD
18 Nov 2011

Barcode: 0792938004426

Composer: Gaetano Donizetti
Other participants: José Bros, Christopher Purves, Krassimira Stoyanova, Graeme Broadbent, Loïc Félix, Brindley Sherratt, Christopher Turner, Riccardo Simonetti, Enkelejda Skhosa, Sir Mark Elder, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

According to the late Donizetti expert William Ashbrook, Maria di Rohan (1843) is the composer‘s ‘tautest, most melodramatic opera’ and shows him ‘in complete control of his musico-dramatic goals’. The tragic melodrama, composed in 1843, was one of the last operas written by Donizetti (he had notched up an impressive 62 by then). First performed in Vienna, Donizetti revised it for its Paris premiere, changing the tenor role of Armando di Gondì to mezzo-soprano. Working from the new critical edition of the score, Opera Rara has recorded the original Vienna (June 1843) two tenor version as well as some of the appendices from the Paris (November 1843) revision, including those written for the mezzo-soprano, sung here by Enkelejda Shkosa.

Set during the time of Cardinal Richelieu, the opera focuses on Maria (Krassimira Stoyanova), secretly married to Riccardo, Duke of Chevreuse (José Bros), who has wounded the Cardinal’s nephew in a duel. In seeking assistance for his plight from Enrico, Count of Chalais (Christopher Purves), Maria finds her former love for the latter revived. The rest of the opera centres on how this intricate and explosive triangle of relationships plays out. As a handful of recent productions have demonstrated, the result shows Donizetti rightly claiming his position as one of the nineteenth-century’s greatest musical dramatists.

The project marks Opera Rara’s second collaboration with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment; the orchestra, choir and stellar cast are conducted by Opera Rara Artistic Director, Sir Mark Elder, bringing his customary musical intelligence and wealth of experience to this repertoire.