Donizetti - Il Paria
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Label: Opera Rara
Cat No: ORC60
Number of Discs: 2
Release Date: 15th January 2021
Opera Rara Chorus
Set in 16th-century India, Il Paria is a powerful and moving story of impossible love, social barriers and religious intolerance. Donizetti was particularly proud of his work, reusing many of its melodies in future compositions. Returning to Opera Rara following our multi-award-winning recording of Rossini’s Semiramide, Albina Shagimuratova leads a stellar cast including René Barbera, singing one of the most demanding roles ever written for tenor, and the talented Georgian baritone Misha Kiria in the title character.
Il Paria was Donizetti's 13th opera and his first in his new position as Director of the Royal Theatre San Carlo in Naples. It was clearly an important moment in Donizetti’s career and an opera to which he gave special attention as Donizetti premiered it during a royal gala night at San Carlo. However gala nights had their own problems (no one was allowed to applaud until the King did so), and the opera was not a success. In subsequent years, Donizetti stole bits of the opera to furnish ideas (but never whole numbers) for others: Torquato Tasso, Anna Bolena, L’elisir d’amore, Le Duc d’Albe, etc., and he went on record as saying that he was especially proud of the piece. Based on Casimir Delavigne's French play Le Paria (1821) and with a libretto by Domenico Giardoni, Donizetti's opera about religious intolerance (the clash between Brahmins and lowest caste of undesirables, known as Pariahs) is eerily prescient for our own times.
Building on Opera Rara’s acclaimed and extensive catalogue of rediscovered Donizetti operas, the release of Il Paria marks Opera Rara's 26th complete opera by Donizetti. Shagimuratova, who was described by Classical Source at the time of the live performance as “absolutely brilliant from the very start”, is joined by René Barbera as Idamore – one of the most demanding tenor roles to be written by Donizetti – and Misha Kiria as Zarete, a role described by Opera Rara’s Artistic Dramaturg Roger Parker as one of Donizetti's greatest baritone creations.
Opera Rara’s mission is to rediscover, restore, record and perform the lost operatic heritage of the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Opera Rara is a unique combination of opera company, recording label and live operatic archaeologist. We search for neglected operatic masterpieces and restore them to life for contemporary audiences to enjoy. Working with the best singers, conductors, orchestras and musicologists, we are at the cutting edge of the opera world, leading the expansion of the repertoire and encouraging other opera companies to explore new and unknown operatic jewels.
2020 will be Opera Rara’s 50th anniversary and marks half-a-century of ground-breaking work. Our artistic success has been publicly recognised through major awards, notably at the International Opera Awards (Best Opera Recording) for Rossini’s Semiramide (2019), Donizetti’s Les Martyrs (2016) and Offenbach’s Fantasio (2015), Classical Music Award (Best Opera) for Semiramide, Opus Klassik (Best Recording) for Semiramide (2019) and at the OPER! Awards (Best Recording) for Donizetti’s L’Ange de Nisida.
The Opera Rara catalogue comprises over 100 titles, including 60 complete opera recordings. Our work has led to a fundamental revaluation of the reputation of Donizetti, Pacini, Offenbach and Mercadante, changing the way in which these composers are perceived internationally. Following our world premiere concerts in July 2018, Donizetti’s L’Ange de Nisida received its first professional staging in Bergamo in November 2019 and Offenbach’s Fantasio has received several stagings throughout Europe since our recording in 2015, including at this summer’s Garsington Festival.
“Elder brought this all vividly to life. Albina Shagimuratova was the radiantly toned Neala, encompassing effortlessly her first Act trepidation […] and her ardent love duet with René Barbera's ldamore. […] No less impressive were the two lower-pitched roles: bass-baritone Marko Mimica's Akebare was firm and resolute, while baritone Misha Kiria (another replacement) movingly filled out the role of the titular itinerant. […] So, a winning evening: another Donizetti restored to the repertoire, on the forthcoming recording. Job done!” – Nick Breckensfield, Classical Source
“Most intriguing is the shift in balance between the four protagonists: Zarete, sung here by the young Georgian Misha Kiria with a mightily impressive, well-modulated column of sound and occasional abruptness of phrasing, is revealed as the most interesting character. Akebare, by contrast, evokes no sympathy, but he benefited here from the advocacy of Marko Mimica, who made cultivated use of his graphite-shaded basso can/ante. […] Rene Barbera, who has an aria encompassing 13 high Cs and C sharps, endeared himself to the audience with his sweet tone, accuracy and grace.” – Yehuda Shapiro, Opera
“Albina Shagimuratova, one of the world's best bel canto singers, had given the evening a brilliant start with a noble timbre and great virtuosity.” – J. Bartels, Das Opernglas
- Neala: Albina Shagimuratova
- Idamore: René Barbera
- Zarete: Misha Kiria
- Akebare: Marko Mimica
- Empsaele: Thomas Atkins
- Zaide: Kathryn Rudge
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