CD: Rossini: Zelmira: Futral/ Ford/ Siragusa/ Custer/ Scottish Chamber Orchestra/ Benini

(Opera Rara, three CDs)

This recording of Rossini's 1822 opera was taken from a performance at last year's Edinburgh festival, where it was much admired. The plot is desperately contrived: Zelmira, daughter of the king of Lesbos, is falsely accused of murdering her father, though in fact he is alive, and at the end of the opera is restored to his throne.

Whatever its dramatic shortcomings, the score is striking, much of it in minor keys and often darkly chromatic. Conductor Marco Benini certainly makes the most of its expressive opportunities and the cast is very good indeed; Elisabeth Futral is wonderfully edgy and precise in the title role, Bruce Ford as the scheming Antenore still copes with Rossini's fearsome tenor writing better than anyone else, and neither tenor Antonino Siragusa nor mezzo Manuela Custer is any slouch either.

Contributor

Andrew Clements

The GuardianTramp

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