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DONIZETTI Francesca di Foix

The King Pietro Spagnoli (bass-bar)
The Count, Alfonso Antoniozzi (bass)
The Countess, Francesca di Foix, Annick Massis (sop)
The Duke, Bruce Ford (ten)
Edmondo the page, Jennifer Larmore (mezzo)
Geoffrey Mitchell Choir/ London Philharmonic Orchestra/Antonello Allemandi

Recorded at Henry Wood Hall, London, March 2004 [76.42]


This pleasing one act comedy (Donizetti's 33rd opera; Naples, 1831) is based on a thin story of the come-uppance served upon a jealous Count, who keeps his wife away from the Court by pretending that she is ugly. It was recorded during Opera Rara's Elvida sessions, and with some of the same singers.

There is a charming sequence of ariettas, duets and ensembles, few major arias. Bruce Ford, Annick Massis enjoy the florid style, she deliciously flirtatious teasing her husband. Pietro Spagnoli and Alfonso Antoniozzi sing well in bel canto style and Jennifer Larmore is stylish in her travesti part. The protagonists are well supported by the chorus and Antonello Allemandi.

As always with Opera Rara the production is scholarly and the thick booklet, complete with texts and photos, attractive to handle. Not a major Donizetti, but well worth collecting.

© Peter Grahame Woolf