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Opera Rara offers another morsel for our jaded taste buds, this time Bellini’s first opera, Adelson e Salvini, in a new critical edition providing three acts. Composed in 1825 as a student piece in Naples, it offers some fun Rossinian rough and tumble contrasted with the first sounds of Bellini’s distinctive musical voice. Comic arias and bouncy finales balance against the languorous and arching phrases more typical of the composer, and with which he went on to conquer the operatic world before his untimely death just 10 years later. The plot is essentially twaddle, but need not detain anyone from enjoying the music, which is conducted with insight and brio by Daniele Rustioni. The cast is strong, with Daniela Barcellona singing Nelly with smooth tone and characteristically secure fiorature, and has a gorgeous entrance aria, better known when recycled as ‘O! quante volte’ in I Capuleti e i Montecchi. Simone Alberghinei is a solid Adelson and Enea Scala copes well with the high-lying role of Salvini, though his tone thins and becomes shrieky in extremis. Maurizio Muraro has fun in Bellini’s only comic role, the servant Bonifacio.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica

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