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

  • Dec 27 Gather ‘Round: Pogues Concert

    Gather ‘Round each Saturday night from 8-9 for WTJU Folk‘s concert series; both archived and live. There will be shows from The Prism Coffeehouse and VA Folklife archives mixed in with some from our announcers’ own libraries. And you never know when a live concert might pop up!  This week’s program comes from The Pogues.

  • Dec 20 Gather ‘Round: Bela Fleck & The Flecktones (2010)

    Gather ‘Round each Saturday night from 8-9 for WTJU Folk‘s concert series; both archived and live. There will be shows from The Prism Coffeehouse and VA Folklife archives mixed in with some from our announcers’ own libraries. And you never know when a live concert might pop up!  This week’s program comes from a 2010 […]

  • Archived “Radio Freedonia” with Bob Nastanovich available till Dec 26

    Indie rock legend Bob Nastanovich stopped by WTJU’s long-running rock show “Radio Freedonia” on Friday December 12th. The charter member of Pavement and Silver Jews is UVa Class of 1989 and was, unsurprisingly, a WTJU DJ. When Bob got to the station he immediately began rifling through the vinyl in the library, spinning some fave […]

  • Sculthorpe: Compete String Quartets with Didjeridu

    Peter Sculthorpe’s music captures the Australian character as completely as Aaron Copland’s does the American. In his compositions for string quartet and didjeridu, Sculthorpe highlights the tensions between the indigenous aborigines of Australia and the encroachment of Western settlers. The string quartet is a distinctively European invention, the didjeridu an Australian. And yet Sculthorpe skillfully […]

  • Deborah Murray’s finale on Classical Sunrise

    This Sunday, please remember to tune in to Classical Sunrise, 6-9 am, here on WTJU-Charlottesville. After 15 years, Deborah Murray is bowing out as host of the program, and this will be her last show. Deborah has been an outstanding station volunteer, not only hosting a program, but also serving as Classical Department Director. She […]

  • The Vivace Christmas Special

    This Friday, we’ll broadcast the Vivace Christmas Show, a mixture of classical and Christmas music. We start with the Czech Christmas Eve Mass by Jan Ryba, a perennial favorite, followed by some piano music by Beethoven. We’ll devote the first part of the 7 o’clock hour to Suites 3 and 4 of The Many Moods […]