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Appio - Raul Gimenez, Ottavia - Iano Tamar, Sallustio - Nicolas Rivenq, Publio - Gregory Bonfatti, Clodio - Svetlana Sidorova

Dynamic CDS 729/1-2

We've enjoyed Catalani's Alpine avalanche at Opera Holland Park, so here's Vesuvius erupting on stage at Valle d'Itria, bringing a rather impressive and very enjoyable Pacini opera to a suggen tragic end.

This festival performance (recorded live 1996) well deserves release.

The singing is generally good and the sound fully adequate (chorus a bit shrill).

But I almost gave up upon finding that the booklet carries only a synopsis of these historic happenings, until I spotted a tiny note (top R of my illustration above) that the libretto is available bilingually on line.

It runs to too many pages to print out, so I settled for listening on the computer with headphones, whilst navigating the libretto (which is beautifully set out in parallel columns) on screen.

This may increasingly become a required mode of listening, but it would take me time to become accustomed to it...

I quote some internet reviews below - none from the broadsheets nor, to my surprise, on TheOperaCritic.

Peter Grahame Woolf

See excerpt- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VL2d4bnL9Pg




- - the first clap of thunder from Vesuvius causes everyone great distress. The thunder continues, as Appio and Publio shout accusations at the unsure Sallustio who finally breaks under the pressure and sentences his own wife to death. The scene ends with a large concentrato for the soloists and the chorus which basically is an appeal to the god of the volcano to bring pity on their fates. - - Too many early 19th C operas are revived without much justification, but this one has, to my ears, much more of a claim to be heard occasionally, especially if it is in a performance of this quality. Pacini - - often rivals Donizetti in dramatic expression and occasionally attempts an emotional directness comparable to early Verdi - - the volcano itself obligingly erupts at the end of the opera for no good reason other than to provide expensive spectacle and ensure that theatre impresarios thought twice before contemplating having to provide such a momentous bit of stage business. It's all good fun and while it could never rival truly the great works of Donizetti or Rossini it is not worthy of complete neglect. Ralph Moore [Amazon reader]