Mascagni's Rarely Encountered Lyric Opera is given New Life by Alagna dn Gheorghiu with Alberto Veronesi Conducting
November 5, 2009 (New York, NY) – The most talked about soprano-tenor pairing in opera stars in Deutsche Grammophon’s all-new recording of Mascagni’s L’Amico Fritz, available November 17, 2009. Pietro Mascagni’s charming though seldom performed romantic comedy is presented in an all-new recording with a “phenomenal” (klassik.com) cast: Roberto Alagna is Fritz, the confirmed bachelor who succumbs in the course of this delightful opera to the irresistibly lovely Suzel, sung by Angela Gheorghiu. The recording was made in 2008 during acclaimed live performances at Berlin 's Deutsche Oper which elicited superlatives from the critics.
1891 was a good year for Mascagni. His first opera (and ultimately his most famous), Cavalleria Rusticana, had premiered in 1890 and made him an overnight sensation. After the premiere of Cavalleria Rusticana in Rome , cities around the world quickly clamored to present the young composer’s opera. In 1891 Mascagni followed-up his sensational debut with a very different second opera: L’Amico Fritz, a gentle, lyric opera about love with a happy ending.
Mascagni worried that the success of Cavalleria Rusticana was attributed to the libretto more than his music, so he consciously sought a light-hearted libretto with little action for his next opera. The resulting work, an operatic idyll, allows the music to take pride-of-place and demonstrates Mascagni’s remarkable skill with melody, harmony and color.
For this recording, Deutsche Grammophon is proud to have Angela Gheorghiu and Roberto Alagna lead a strong cast which also includes Laura Polverelli (as Beppe the gypsy boy – a rare trouser role from this time period), George Petean (as David), Yosep Kang (as Federico), Hyung-Wook Lee (as Hanezò) and Andión Fernández (as Caterina).
The opera is conducted by Alberto Veronesi. Mr. Veronesi has done extensive research on the verismo operatic repertoire by composers such as Pietro Mascagni, Ruggiero Leoncavallo and Giacomo Puccini, among others, and has programmed and recorded the composers’ lesser known works on Deutsche Grammophon in an effort to give this underexposed repertoire a wider audience. Mr. Veronesi is Artistic Director of the Filarmonica del Teatro Comunale di Bologna and Artistic and Music Director of the Orchestra Sinfonica Siciliana in Palermo . He is also Music Director of the Puccini Festival at Torre del Lago, where he has conducted all of Puccini's operas and in 2003 received the Italian Music Critics Association’s Premio Abbiati for his production of La Bohème.