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With these three operas, C Major’s Tutto Verdi series is firmly ensconced in the composer’s middle period, or ‘galley years’ as he called them. Il corsaro is infrequently performed, so this is a good chance to view it. The Teatro Regio di Parma production, by Lamberto Pugelli, is traditional; fine in theory, but a bit dull in reality. There’s not much sense of Byronic passion and madness about this supposed maelstrom of piratical emotions; cling on to some rigging, wave a sword, swish a cloak and keep singing. Bruno Ribeiro is a fine young tenor and suits the size of the theatre – his Corrado at least provides some brooding Romanticism. Luca Salsi is a rather stolid Seid, and Irina Lungu a very dull Medora, her unlovely tone missing the vocal elegance of the role. It remains to her soprano rival, Silvia Dalla Benetta, to provide some drama as well as the most exciting singing. Carlo Montanaro accompanies in the pit.

La battaglia di Legnano fares no better in Ruggero Cappuccio’s production for the Teatro Verdi, Trieste. There’s an interesting concept of the opera being a museum come to life, but once it hits the main story it’s business as usual. The cast is generally inert and even such a committed performer as Andrew Richards looks hangdog and seems to run out of vocal steam. Dimitra Theodossiou’s Lida, a stolid assumption, is further undone by her squally tone and pitch problems. Enrico Giuseppe Iori’s Barbarossa has a good top but little else to excite. Boris Brott’s conducting is straightforward.

Luisa Miller gets a more compelling treatment in Denis Krief ’s production for Parma. The staging is simple, semi-abstract and the singers display personality and attack the drama with some gusto. Fiorenza Cedolin’s soprano is unalluring of tone and often pitchy, but her intentions are good and she has the measure of the role, as does Marcelo Álvarez’s ardent Rodolfo who is at his not inconsiderable best. Leo Nucci, as ever, provides baritonal heft and Verdian scale despite some patchy tone. Donato Renzetti’s conducting is idiomatic and singer-friendly, and the performance takes flight after a slow start.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica

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Opera Now, 2013 - ©Rhinegold Publishing