Resurrected for the 1997 Innsbruck Festival by René Jacobs, Gassman’s work has been revived by the countertenor-turned-conductor often since then, but strangely it’s never been released on either CD or DVD by Harmonia Mundi, though many of Jacobs’s other projects have been.

Sparkling African-American soprano Janet Williams (joined for this production by Alex Penda and Miah Persson as the three temperamental divas) was the Porporina at the Innsbruck premiere, as was Curtis Rayam as her mother (!) and the inimitable Dominque Visse as another prima donna’s mother.

Born in Bohemia, Gassmann wrote his first opera for Venice at age 28 where he stayed for a while before settling in Vienna where today’s commedia per musica arrived at the Burgtheater in 1769.

L’Opera Seria is such a delight that I wonder why more of his music hasn’t been revived.

Happy New Year!

Gassmann: L’Opera Seria

La Stonatrilla: Alexandrina Pendatchanska (Alex Penda)
La Smorfiosa: Miah Persson
La Porporina: Janet Williams
Befana, madre de Smorfiosa: Dominique Visse
Caverna , madre de la Stonatrilla: Stephen Wallace
Bragherona, madre de Porporina: Curtis Rayam
Fallito: Pietro Spagnoli
Sospiro: Jeremy Ovenden
Passaglio: Riccardo Novaro
Delirio: Klaus Häger
Ritornello: Mario Zeffiri

Concerto Köln
Conductor: René Jacobs
Théâtre des Champs-Élysées
30 March 2003

L’Opera Seria 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.

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