Domenico Cimarosa (1749-1801) wrote over 60 operas during his relatively short life, but his fame rests primarily on just a single work–Il Matrimonio Segreto. This week Trove Thursday endeavors to broaden his exposure with a bubbly performance of another of his delightful buffas: Il Marito Disperato starring Sylvia Geszty.
Like his near-contemporary Paisiello, Cimarosa bounced back and forth between opera seria and opera buffa. In the former genre, he dutifully wrote several works to (revised) libretti by Metastasio including Alessandro nell’Indie, Artaserse and the inevitable L’Olimpiade. The latter features a dizzily florid duet for the lovers Aristea and Megacle, sung here by Patrizia Ciofi and Anna Bonitatibus.
Late in his career he composed a grand azione teatrale (based on a play by Pierre Corneille) Gli Orazi e i Curiazi which has occasionally been revived. Carlo Maria Giulini led a performance featuring Giulietta Siminato for RAI in 1952,
and it was staged by the Rome Opera in 1989 with Anna Caterina Antonacci and Gianna Rolandi.
Born in Naples where many of his works (including Marito Disperato) premiered, Cimarosa followed an itinerant path similar to many other 18th century composers; he held important posts in both St. Petersburg and Vienna where Matrimonio was first performed in 1792. Matrimonio has been recorded and videotaped a number of times but my favorite, despite the lumbering Geronimo of Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, remains the version conducted by Daniel Barenboim from the 1970s featuring the sterling female trio of Arleen Augér and Julias Varady and Hamari.
Although today’s live broadcast from the Schwetzinger Festival is performed in German, Cimarosa’s lively comic invention, particularly in the many superb ensembles, still shines through.
Cimarosa: Il Marito Disperato (in German)
Gismonda: Sylvia Geszty
Eugenia: Edith Kertesz-Gabry
Dorina: Gabriele Fuchs
Valerio: Martin Finke
Don Corbolone: Claudio Nicolai
Count Fanfalucchi: Timothy Nolen
Marchese Castagnacci: Carlos Feller
Conductor : Gabor Otvos
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