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CHAN 3097M
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Opera In English Logo
CHAN 3097
(multiple CD Set)
Opera - The Thieving Magpie

Rossini: The Thieving Magpie

The Classical Shop
release date: June 2003

Originally recorded in 2002


Philharmonia Orchestra

David Parry

Daniel Slater

- Clerk

Prunella Scales

- Magpie

Russell Smythe

baritone - Fernando Villabella

Toby Stafford-Allen

baritone - Giorgio

Christopher Purves

baritone - Gottardo

Darren Jeffery

baritone - Judge

Nicholas Garrett

bass - Ernesto

Jeremy White

bass - Fabrizio Vingradito

Philip Tebb

bass - Judge

Susan Bickley

mezzo-soprano - Lucia

Nerys Jones

mezzo-soprano - Pippo

Majella Cullagh

soprano - Ninetta

Stuart Kale

tenor - Antonio

Barry Banks

tenor - Giannetto

John Graham-Hall

tenor - Isacco

Geoffrey Mitchell Choir


Blackheath Halls, London


Brian Couzens


Ralph Couzens

Matthew Walker


Record Label
Opera In English


Vocal & Song

Opera in English

Total Time - 150:55
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Opera - The Thieving Magpie



Select Complete Single Disc for

The Thieving Magpie

  Melodramma in two acts  
  Libretto by Giovanni Gherardini after La Pie vouleuse, by J.M.T. Badouin and Louis-Charles Caigniez  
  English translation by Jeremy Sams  
  Overture (8:58)      
1 Maestoso marziale - 2:23
2 Allegro 6:35
  Act I (70:56)      
  Scene 1  
3 'What a day of celebration' 2:39
  Servants, Pippo, Magpie  
4 'Get moving - do something' 4:07
  Lucia, Pippo, Servants, Fabrizio, Magpie  
5 'I can see my beloved Giannetto' 2:12
  Fabrizio, Lucia, Pippo, Servants  
6 'Oh, my heart is full of joy!' 3:05
7 'Spring is returning' 3:15
8 'Dearest Ninetta, today's a special day!' 0:59
  Fabrizio, Ninetta, Lucia  
9 'Penknives and needles, leather patches' 1:09
10 'I thought so, it's old Isacco' 0:29
  Pippo, Isacco  
11 'What's that shouting?' 1:21
  Ninetta, Servants, Villagers, Pippo  
12 'Darling! Darling, let me embrace you' 2:24
  Giannetto, Villagers, Servants  
13 'Yes, even in the battle' 2:35
  Giannetto, Villagers  
14 'Goodbye for now, my darling' 1:08
  Giannetto, Ninetta, Lucia, Fernando  
15 'Yesterday, just as the sun was setting' 1:51
  Fernando, Ninetta  
16 'I can be strong no longer' 2:39
  Ninetta, Fernando  
17 'Oh, daughter, let me embrace you' 5:31
  Fernando, Ninetta  
18 'Good morning, my pretty lady' 2:01
  Mayor, Ninetta, Giorgio, Fernando  
20 'Thank heavens!' 3:21
  Ninetta, Mayor, Fernando  
21 'We're alone here' 5:08
  Mayor, Ninetta, Fernando  
22 'Such madness and confusion' 2:14
  Fernando, Ninetta, Mayor  
  Scene 2  
23 'Penknives and needles, leather patches' 3:20
  Isacco, Ninetta, Pippo, Lucia, Mayor, Giannetto, Fabrizio, Magpie  
24 'This morning in the house of Fabrizio Vingradito' 6:08
  Mayor, Giannetto, Ninetta, Fabrizio, Lucia, Pippo  
25 'Did somebody want me?' 2:04
  Isacco, Mayor, Giannetto, Lucia, Pippo, Fabrizio, Ninetta  
26 'Grief and calamity tumble around me' 5:14
  Ninetta, Lucia, Pippo, Mayor, Giannetto, Fabrizio  
27 'Someone is coming' 0:29
  Giannetto, Ninetta, Lucia, Pippo, Fabrizio  
28 'Take this girl away and throw her into prison!' 3:06
  Mayor, Giannetto, Ninetta, Lucia, Pippo, Fabrizio, Servants, Villagers, Isacco  
  Act II (71:04)      
  Scene 1  
29 'She's shut up in that dark and dismal dungeon' 2:15
  Antonio, Ninetta, Giannetto  
30 'Maybe one day you'll forgive me' 5:34
  Ninetta, Giannetto  
31 'You'd better go, and quickly' 1:21
  Antonio, Giannetto, Ninetta, Mayor  
32 'You're so lovely, your eyes are sparkling' 3:44
  Mayor, Ninetta, Villagers  
33 'When you hear the sentence' 3:21
  Mayor, Villagers, Ninetta, Court  
34 'Mr Mayor, Mr Mayor - what are you up to?' 0:59
  Antonio, Pippo, Ninetta  
35 'Just think that tomorrow, even today' 0:37
36 'No, no, I beg you to take it' 5:43
37 'Lest my darling should forget me' 3:24
  Ninetta, Pippo  
38 'By unanimous verdict - we find her guilty' 3:06
  Judge, Giannetto, Fabrizio  
39 'The wheels of justice will crush the guilty' 4:40
40 'Most unhappy of women, your fate is in the balance' 0:39
  Judge, Ninetta  
41 'God protect her!' 3:19
  Giannetto, Fabrizio, Mayor, Ninetta  
42 'But, your Honours, you're mistaken' 1:24
  Giannetto, Fabrizio, Mayor, Court, Ninetta, Judge, Fernando  
43 'Release her!' 3:14
  Fernando, Ninetta, Giannetto, Fabrizio, Mayor, Court  
44 'A chasm of sorrow is yawning before me' 3:46
  Ninetta, Giannetto, Fabrizio, Mayor, Fernando, Court  
45 'If I cried, I would weep forever' 3:42
  Ninetta, Giannetto, Fernando, Fabrizio, Mayor, Court  
  Scene 2  
46 'What a dump of a village!' 1:37
  Ernesto, Pippo, Giorgio, Antonio  
47 'Bitter torment burns within you' 2:06
48 'God in heaven, Oh, God of justice' 5:26
  Ninetta, Villagers  
49 'Giorgio! Giorgio! Ah, we're so happy!' 2:36
  Pippo, Antonio, Giorgio, Giannetto, Lucia, Fabrizio, Villagers, Mayor  
50 'Oh, God preserve us' 1:06
  Lucia, Mayor  
51 'We can see her, she is coming!' 1:14
  Pippo, Antonio, Villagers, Mayor, Giorgio, Lucia, Giannetto, Fabrizio  
52 'Though I hear your cries of gladness' 3:29
  Ninetta, Lucia, Giannetto, Fabrizio, Fernando, Pippo, Villagers, Mayor, Antonio  
53 'Now that the storm is over' 2:39
  Ninetta, Lucia, Antonio, Fabrizio, Villagers, Mayor, Pippo, Giannetto, Fernando  
 Jeremy White bass - Fabrizio Vingradito
 Susan Bickley mezzo-soprano - Lucia
 Barry Banks tenor - Giannetto
 Majella Cullagh soprano - Ninetta
 Russell Smythe baritone - Fernando Villabella
 Christopher Purves baritone - Gottardo
 Nerys Jones mezzo-soprano - Pippo
 John Graham-Hall tenor - Isacco
 Stuart Kale tenor - Antonio
 Toby Stafford-Allen baritone - Giorgio
 Nicholas Garrett bass - Ernesto
 Darren Jeffery baritone - Judge
 Philip Tebb bass - Judge
 Daniel Slater - Clerk
 Prunella Scales - Magpie
 David Parry
  21-23 & 27-28 September 2002  

In a letter to his mother in May 1817, Rossini remarked: I’m writing an opera The Thieving Magpie. The story’s been versified by a newcomer and as a consequence I’m being driven crazy; however, it’s a most beautiful subject…
The ‘beautiful subject’ was taken from an actual occurrence in which a French servant girl was convicted and hung for thefts of silverware later discovered to have been the work of a thieving magpie. The event had stimulated a substantial body of fiction.

Giovanni Gherardini’s libretto marries high-spirited adventure with prison scenes of unusual grimness and provides us with a range of characters, sympathetically, sentimentally and sometimes quirkily drawn. The story centres on a country community, subject to the king but dominated by its bustling, sadistic mayor, a kind of small-time Scarpia. At the heart of the community is the genial wine-bibbing tenant farmer, Fabrizio Vingradito, his wife, Lucia, and their son Gianetto, just returned from the wars. Gianetto plans to marry the demure servant girl, Ninetta, the heroine of the opera and an obvious variant of the Cinderella archetype in which Rossini was clearly interested. The discovery of the magpie’s nest of treasures and Ninetta’s last-minute reprieve make for a jubilant close. It brings to a triumphant conclusion an opera which celebrates the bonds of human affection and the resilience of the human spirit in the face o a disorderly world.

The scale on which Rossini was now building his music dramas allowed him to set Gherardini’s text in a manner grand enough to match the heightened expectations of even La Scala. The house itself reciprocated by sparing no expense for the production and the opera, premiered in Milan in 1817, was rapturously received.

'What was by any standards a well-sung performance at Garsington is here even finer' under Parry the Philharmonia is able to take the performance to new levels of excellence. The Chandos recording is vivid and true.'

Strong casting, strong conducting and marvellous playing make this entry in Chandos Opera in English series a winner
Opera News (USA)

Barry Banks, a superb Rossini tenor… offers crystal-clear diction, impressive agility and a touching characterisation…
Opera News,New York

I have never been a fan of opera in English translation, but this recording might just effect a change of mind! I am familiar with the opera in Italian, so as a test I listened through to this new performance straight through without recourse to the libretto to determine just how intelligible and effective is the English. Much to my surprise it is an almost total delight.
American Record Guide

This is one of the finest releases yet in Chandos Opera in English series - a Rossinian masterpiece brought to life in a manner almost ideal' Recommended with enthusiasm.

What was by any standards a well-sung performance at Garsington is here even finer' under Parry the Philharmonia is able to take the performance to new levels of excellence. The Chandos recording is vivid and true.

Has it ever happened before: a first-rate stage production of an opera making a triumphant re-appearance on record in a different language?

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