Renée Fleming, et al
Bologna Teatro Comunale Chorus & Orchestra
Daniele Gatti, conductor
Rossini’s 1817 opera Armida is avocal showpiece: more than two octaves,from
pianissimo to fortissimo,are required, as well as phenomenalagility and great
ease withcoloratura. The opera has anotherissue that makes it difficult to
cast:six roles are written for tenor andat least three of them need to beof the
first rank, on par with thesoprano. Two basses complete theadmixture that makes
this opera’s texture so special.
Rénee Fleming, who will reprise the title role in the Metropolitan Opera’s new April
2010 production (shown here), made this recording near the start of her international
career. She sails through the role with virtuosity and luscious sound, and pays
attention to the text, exhibiting none of the scooping and other mannerisms
that have since become irritating. Brava! She is surrounded by top-flight
tenors, particularly Gregory Kunde as her lover, Rinaldo. Armida has three glorious love duets, adazzling showpiece aria for the title character near the close of the second act, and a splendid -tenor trio that boils the blood. A very exciting performance of an enchanting rarity.
- Robert Levine