Mercandati anticipates Verdi with “I Briganti”

Saverio Mercandante has been characterized as the bridge between Rossini and Verdi — and I Briganti demonstrates why. Completed in 1836, “I Briganti” was written partially in response to Bellini’s “I Puritani.”

This bel canto opera eschews self-contained arias for music that is more fully integrated into the drama. At the same time, it provides plenty of opportunities for singers to show what they’re made of — as is the case in this performance.

This world premier recordings captures the 2012 Rossini in Wildsad Festival production, with all pros and cons of live recording. The pros include the singing of the three principals, tenor Maxim Mironov (Ermano), baritone Vittorio Prato (Corrado), and soprano Petya Ivanova (Amelia). All three sing with confidence and energy, producing warm, rounded tones.

The cons include some occasional pitch problems in the chorus, and the overall recorded sound. The sound stage seems a little cramped, and the music sounded to my ears somewhat soft around the edges.

Nevertheless, Mercandante’s music works its magic and I soon forgot my quibbles with the recording. Highly recommended for lovers of Italian opera. And if you can, listen to I Briganti and then Verdi’s “I Masnadieri,” a setting of the same story. Mercandante’s opera compares quite favorably, particularly in dramatic structure and pacing.

Saverio Mercandante: I Briganti
Maxim Mironov; Petya Ivanova; Vittorio Prato; Bruno Pratico; Camerata Bach Choir, Poznan; Virtuosi Brunensis; Antonio Fogliani, conductor
Naxos

More Recent Posts

  • new jazz adds, october 15, 2014

    charlie haden/jim hall.  eponymous.  impulse.  Best of the week is from the past:  1990, july 2 @ the Montreal Jazz Festival, duets between elegant guitarist jim hall, and musical omnivore, bassist charlie haden.  nothing i can say can convey more insight than the crisp liner notes of pianist ethan iverson.  a recording both romantic and […]

  • new jazz adds october 21, 2014

    jazz connie evingson.  all the cats join in.  minnehaha.  Minneapolis-based jazz singer evingson teams up with gypsy jazz guitar master john jorgenson + quintet for a django-esque recording where the standouts are eclectic– john williams’ moonlight, mccartney x 2;  bonfa’s black orpheus, and trad’s jardin d’hiver.   evingson, recording since 1995, wears many stylistic hats to […]

  • WTJU sponsoring a screening of “Finding Fela” at the Paramount, Nov 2

    On Saturday evening, November 2, WTJU is proud to sponsor a screening of a new documentary on the life and legacy of Fela Kuti, “Finding Fela,” which premiered earlier this year at the Sundance Film. Finding Fela” tells the story of Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s life, his music, his social and political importance. He created a […]

  • Boris Papandopulo – Croatian Master

    Boris Papandopulo was one of most prolific composers in Croatia, with over 440 works in his catalog. And thanks to a new release from CPO, his music might gain the wider audience they deserve. Papandopulo (1906-1999) eschewed the atonal revolution of the 20th century, and instead developed his own form of tonal composition. To my […]

  • Your Friday Breakfast Buffet: Enchanting Music!

    Nino Rota and Christoph Weyse We have a superb buffet of Friday morning music for you on this week’s Vivace.  We begin with music of Italian composer Nino Rota, his Symphony of Love Songs, followed by the delightful Morning Songs by Danish composer Christoph Weyse.At 7 am, we’ll hear one of those splendid rondos by […]

  • WTJX DJs of the Week: Jim Clarke and Andrew Kovalenko (Jim and Andrew in the Morning)

    Jim and Andrew’s Saturday morning radio show has become impressively popular. Why is this? Perhaps it is because they read Jaden Smith tweets on air. Perhaps it is because they play pirate songs (no joke). Perhaps it is because they spread the false hope that they will play your requests. Perhaps it is because their […]