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Bellini’s first opera is a belter! Long neglected, the work displays the clear influence of Rossini, and is perhaps not so consistently inspired as the composer’s more mature works. Yet the manner in which he juggles a complex bittersweet comedy-drama is masterly, so a recording of this quality is much to be welcomed. Of the cast, Barcellona’s heroine Nelly and Scala’s dashing Salvini stand out: the former dignified yet melting, the latter stratospheric; while the electricity Rustioni generates from the podium is striking. Excellent sound and presentation.

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