Rossini: Music for Colbran, Pisaroni, David, Nozzari and Galli

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We all know that classical music composers frequently wrote their operas for the talents of certain singers or even specific casts. Even more often, some singers were used more than in one opera. To cite the most obvious example, Donizetti used many male singers more than in one opera: Duprez (6 operas), Lablanche (11), Rubini (7), Tamburini (12) are among them.

Rossini isn't an exception of this tradition. Moreover, most of his Naples operas basically feature a reuse of the same cast of singers over and over again; though this is perfectly explainable by the fact that Rossini was working then under the direction Barbaja whose company was a home for most of these singers. Incidentally, the reuse of the same singers in Rossini's operas isn't limited to his Naples years. Most of his French operas and French rewrites use the same principle; the same can be said about his earlier works. For the sake of simplicity, I decided to create several separate compilations with each one focusing on either a certain cast of singers ("the French Quartet") or a certain period of Rossini's life ("Viva la commedia!").

The present collection is given fully to five singers who are closely connected in the public eye with Rossini's operas and who have created many of his most famous characters: the soprano Isabella Colbran (who also became Rossini's first wife; 10 operas); the contralto Rosmunda Pesaroni (3; another contralto who proved even more important in Rossini's creative journey, Marcolini, will be included in another collection); the tenors Giovanni David (6) and Andrea Nozzari (9); and, finally, the bass Fillippo Galli (8; the bass, because of his connection with Rossini's comic operas, will also play an important part in "Viva la commedia").

Though I am focusing on star singers, most of the presented pieces include star comprimario singers who have also been a part of the Barbaja company and whose talents were also frequently used: the bass Michele Benedetti (7), the tenors Gaetano Chizzola (9) and Giuseppe Ciccimarra (6), the soprano Maria Manzi (7). Sadly, their parts are often rather unrewarding as to make it difficult to give them more prominence. Though there is potential in "Mose in Egitto" where all four are given more interesting parts, perhaps I'll go in that direction.

I will try to do my best to give ensembles the most prominence but an aria or even two for each of the singers is bound to find a place in the collection. Enjoy :)!