(featuring the Canadian National Arts Centre Orchestra, conducted by Franco Mannino)
The first side of the cassette, consists of three Gioachino Rossini (1792-1868) opera overtures. Rossini’s name is associated with the most splendid period of Italian opera, simply because the composer wrote wonderful tunes, which were graceful and memorable.
Side One : Rossini Opera Overtures :-
1) The Barber of Seville 2) The Italian Girl in Algiers 3) William Tell.
Brilliant as Rossini’s music was, that of Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901) is generally more substantial, and especially so in dramatic situations, like that portrayed in this Prelude to the Act III of “La Traviata”
Side Two :-
1) La Traviata – Prelude to Act III, by Verdi.
Gaetano Donizetti (1797-1848), like Rossini, was feted in his lifetime, and until relatively recent times, there were more of his operas in the repertory. However, “Don Pasquale” is arguably Donizetti’s masterpiece.
2) Don Pasquale – Overture, by Donizetti.
As if his name was not enough of a clue, the half-German-half-Italian composer Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari (1876-1948) did indeed combine both Italian melodiousness, with the thoroughness of musical construction of German composers. One of his greatest successes was the opera “The Four Rustics”.
3) The Four Rustics – Intermezzo, by Wolf-Ferrari.
The cassette concludes with an overture from the opera “Norma”, by Vincenzo Bellini (1801-35). Unlike his Early 19C contemporaries, Rossini and Donizetti, Bellini concentrated on tragic operas. His remarkable talent, for writing tunes which could express strong passions, makes his dramas particularly effective.
4) Norma – Overture, by Bellini.