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Nicola De Giosa, recorded live at Martina Franca last year. Never heard of it? If you like Donizetti you’ll like this, as De Giosa was a pupil of his: he also rubbed shoulders with Mercadante and Verdi, and settled for many years in Naples, where Don Checco was premiered to great success in 1850. It’s a frivolous piece involving thwarted young love resolved by the titular trickster, a debtor on the run who is mistaken for an aristocrat. When all is revealed the true Count steps forward, and everything is resolved happily. It’s packed with tunes, the dialogue whizzes past and gets good laughs from the audience, and Matteo Beltrami’s conducting is sprightly. The cast works harmoniously. To single one particular singer out, I would draw attention to soprano Carolina Lippo, whose fresh and lively lyric soprano is reminiscent of a young Mirella Freni – not just a pretty voice, but a sense of buoyancy and charm.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica

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