Rossini: Ermione – Carmen Giannattasio (Ermione), Patricia Bardon (Andromaca), Paul Nilon (Pirro), Colin Lee (Oreste), Bulent Bezduz (Pilade), Graeme Broadbent (Fenicio), Rebecca Bottone (Cleone), Victoria Simmonds (Cefisa), Loic Felix (Attalo), Geoffrey Mitchell Choir, London Philharmonic Orchestra, David Parry
During the years 1815 – 22, when his career centred on Naples, Rossini composed a sequence of works for the Teatro San Carlo which at that time boasted an outstanding orchestra and a company of resident singers that was the leading ensemble available anywhere. A string of masterpieces resulted, including such works as Elisabetta, regina d’Inghilterra, Otello, Ricciardo e Zoraide and La donna del lago (all featuring in Opera Rara’s catalogue). Ermione is without doubt one of the greatest operas by Rossini, despite its being perhaps the least immediately successful: Ermione was received with incomprehension at its sole performance in 1819 and never revived in Rossini’s lifetime. The composer was resigned: ‘It is my little Guillaume Tell in Italian’, he said, ‘and will not see the light of day until after my death.’ Since its first stage revival, in Pesaro in 1987, Ermione has been recognised as a recovered masterpiece. Set in the aftermath of the Trojan War, the opera introduces several novelties, beginning with an overture that is interrupted by a choral lament of Trojan prisoners. Tension and staggering originality are maintained right to the very end.
Winner of the Opera category of the Gramophone Awards 2011