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

  • Zdenek Fibich overtures delight

    Zdenek Fibich was almost an exact contemporary of Antonin Dovrak. And like his fellow Czech, Fibish’s music in infused with the energy of his country’s folk music. Volume Four of Naxos’ ongoing traversal of Fibich’s orchestral music is perhaps the most exciting installment so far. The disc collects several of Fibich’s overtures, as well as […]

  • jazz adds january 27, 2015

    billy bang.  da bang.  tum.  Posthumous release from jazz violinist/ Vietnam vet billy bang ( 1947-2011), working with quintet:   dick griffin (trom), andrew bemkey on piano; hilliard greene, double-bass;  newman taylor-baker@drums.  gorgeous lyricism, and innovation from legend of the 1970’s NYC jazz “loft” scene;  a reluctant violinist, bang took a turbulent path (drugs, PTSD, […]

  • New Blues News – 1/27/2015

    New Blues News New Blues Adds: Mike Henderson Band – If You Think It’s Hot Here…. (EllerSoul): If you like straight-forward, no frills, it-will-knock-you-flat-on-your-rusty-dusty electric blues, then all you need to know is that Mike Henderson has a new blues disc out.  He plays a ’59 Fender Bassman, great slide, and has a blues shout […]

  • WTJU Sponsors Corsair “One Eyed Horse” Album Release Concert

    Two years after their first album, Corsair have returned with a new album, “One Eyed Horse,” set to release on February 24. The self-described early metal, heavy rock group will celebrate their new release with a concert on February 20th at the Main Street Annex in Charlottesville, Va. You can preview a track off the album and […]

  • Koppel marimba concertos welcome additions to repertoire

    The marimba can easily be an instrument of cliche, primarily because of it’s close association with Latino music (think: Baja Marimba Band). Danish composer Anders Koppel approaches the instrument from a slightly different direction. Some if it may be due to The marimba is often an instrument of cliché, primarily because of its close association […]

  • Jan 31 Gather ‘Round: Martha Scanlan, Dirk Powell, & The Stuart Brothers (2007)

    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 2007 […]