Rossini lovers are elated to hear that Teatro Nuovo’s twice-postponed Maometto Secondo will finally taken place next week.

Previewing this long-awaited event, Chris’s Cache offers Le Siège de Corinthe, Maometto’s later French version, with Katia Ricciarelli, Martine Dupuy, Curtis Rayam and Ferruccio Furlanetto. In addition, please also discover excerpts of Rita Shane’s only Pamira in L’Assedio di Corinto; more Rossini by Dupuy; plus Mosè in Egitto, another serious work the composer also eventually transformed for Paris, with Nicolai Ghiaurov, Rita Orlandi-Malaspina and Rusa Baldani.

The history of Maometto Secondo/Le Siège de Corinthe/L’Assedio di Corinto is far too complicated to go into here. Perhaps the pre-concert lecture before next week’s performance delve into some of the details. Suffice it to say, Rossini loved to repurpose his compositions. Like Maometto, Mosè in Egitto too would eventually get turned into Moïse et Pharaon, ou Le passage de la Mer Rouge.

Those who know any of today’s Siège music likely have Beverly Sills to thank. She performed L’Assedio in a now-discredited edition for both her La Scala and Met debuts. The Met performed what it called The Siege of Corinth 19 times between April 1975 and January 1976 and Sills performed in eighteen of them, as did Shirley Verrett as Neocle.

For a single performance Sills and Verrett were replaced by Shane and Joann Grillo. The former proved to be a regular Sills replacement/cover as she also filled in for Sills at the Met in La Traviata and Lucia di Lammermoor. Today, I’m offering a good portion of Shane’s performance as Pamira; I find it quite exciting and wouldn’t have been at all disappointed to have encountered her rather than Sills who by the mid-70s was not always singing as well as she had.

Dupuy’s Met career which consisted of just four roles (in Offenbach, Massenet and Handel) doesn’t reflect her standing as a Rossini specialist. She not only performed Néoclès in today’s Siège, but also Neocle in Assedio.

In addition to Siège and the three works I’ve excerpted, she also sang roles in La Cenerentola, L’Italiana in Algeri, La Donna del Lago, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Le Comte Ory, Aureliano in Palmira Tancredi, and La Pietra del Paragone. Lella Cuberli, Dupuy’s mom in today’s Semiramide excepts was a frequent collaborator: they also sang together in I Capuleti e I Montecchi, Bianca e Falliero, and Donna del Lago

On Trove Thursday I embarked on a project to assemble a chronology of the American Opera Society. The company opened its 1966-67 season with Mosè in Egitto, a work it had previously presented eight years earlier with Boris Christoff making his New York debut in the title role. I don’t believe a recording exists of the Christoff performance but happily someone captured the later one with primetime Ghiaurov as Mosè.


Rossini: Le Siège de Corinthe

Pamira: Katia Ricciarelli
Ismène: Eva Saurova
Néoclès: Martine Dupuy
Cléomène: Curtis Rayam
Mahomet II: Ferruccio Furlanetto
Hiéros: Jean-Philippe Courtis
Omar: Harry Peters

Conductor: Arnold Östman

Palais Garnier, Paris
15 November 1985

In-house recording

Rossini: L’Assedio di Corinto—exc.

Pamira: Rita Shane
Neocle: Joann Grillo
Maometto: Justino Díaz
Cleomene: Enrico Di Giuseppe

Conductor: Richard Woitach

Metropolitan Opera
5 January 1976

In-house recording

Rossini: Arias and duets from Adelaide di Borgogna, Bianca e Falliero & Semiramide

Martine Dupuy w. Lella Cuberli (Semiramide)

Assorted in-house recordings and broadcasts

Rossini: Mosè in Egitto

Anaìde: Rita Orlandi-Malaspina
Sinaìde: Ruza Baldani
Maria: Beverly Evans
Mosè: Nicolai Ghiaurov
Faraone: Amin Feres
Aménofi: Luigi Ottolini
Elisero: Aldo Bertocci
Aufide: Salvadore Novoa
Osiride: Chester Watson

Conductor: Lamberto Gardelli

American Opera Society at Carnegie Hall
28 October 1966

In-house recording

Each track can be downloaded by clicking on the icon of a cloud with an arrow pointing downward on the audio player above and the resulting mp3 file will appear in your download directory.

Watch for more Chris’s Cache in November!