Plácido Domingo Adds Leoncavallo’s I Medici To His Vast Repertoire

The seemingly tireless and indefatigable tenor, Plácido Domingo, adds a new role to his recorded repertoire with this all-new complete opera recording available from Deutsche Grammophon on June 8, 2010. Premiered just a year after the wildly successful Pagliacci, I Medici was Leoncavallo’s most ambitious work to date including historical characters and settings, a tragic love triangle and numerous cross-references with the works of Wagner and others.

The 1893 premiere of I Medici featured world-class artists such as Francesco Tamagno, Verdi’s first Otello, in the demanding role of Giuliano. The exhausting and lengthy role for the tenor is one of many reasons why the opera is not more frequently performed. Plácido Domingo, himself a celebrated Otello, has brought the role of Giuliano back to life and the public can once again enjoy Leoncavallo’s passionate music.

Taking his lead from Wagner and the Ring cycle, Leoncavallo set out to write a trilogy of operas (to be titled Crepusculum) to celebrate Italian culture and history. I Medici is the first and only completed installment of the proposed trilogy. While drawing inspiration from the most Italian of subjects, namely the Renaissance and the Medici family, Leoncavallo simultaneously owes a great debt to Wagner with references the Ring, Tristan und Isolde and the Siegfried Idyll at various points. In another tribute to Wagner, Leoncavallo composed not only the score but also wrote his own libretto.

Deutsche Grammophon has brought together the remarkable cast with maestro Alberto Veronesi and the Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino and recorded the entire opera in Florence, Italy. This recording is the only complete recording available on the market today and is a welcomed addition to any opera or verismo fan’s library.

While Domingo may be the highest profile star, the project has been lovingly tended to by the conductor Alberto Veronesi. Recently, Veronesi was appointed as the Music Director of The Opera Orchestra of New York beginning with the 2011-12 season. Maestro Veronesi is currently Music Director of the Puccini Festival at Torre del Lago, Artistic Director of the Filarmonica del Teatro Comunale di Bologna, and Music Director of the Orchestra Sinfonica Siciliana, positions which he will continue to hold during his tenure as Music Director of the Opera Orchestra.

With this recording, Alberto Veronesi continues his exploration of the far corners of the verismo repertoire. This series of Deutsche Grammophon recordings began in 2006 with the critically-acclaimed complete recording of Puccini’s early opera Edgar with Plácido Domingo in the title role. The second recording, Puccini Rediscovered released in September 2009, is an album of original editions and alternative versions of famous Puccini arias and ensembles as well as little-known orchestral compositions sung by Domingo and soprano Violeta Urmana with the Vienna Philharmonic, followed by a complete recording of L’Amico Fritz and then a recording of little-known songs by Leoncavallo. Look for a new recording of Giordano’s Fedora in 2011.

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