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Gioachino Rossini: L’inganno felice
Silvia Dalla Benetta (Isabella), Artavazd Sargsyan (Bertrando), Lorenzo Regazzo (Tarabotto), Tiziano Bracci (Batone), Baurzhan Anderzhanov (Ormondo), Tommaso Dionis (A Soldier/Solo Flute), Virtuosi Brunenses, Antonino Fogliani (Conductor), Jochen Schönleber (Stage Director), Robert Schrag (Set Designer), Nicole Berry (Lighting Designer), Claudia Möbius (Costume Designer), Philippe Ohl (Video Director)
Original DVD Recording: Königliches Kurtheater, Bad Wildbad, Germany (July 23-25, 2015) – 94’
Dynamic # 37760 – PCM 2.0 – Format 16:9 – Region 0 – Booklet in Italian and English – Subtitles in Italian, English, French and German (Distributed by Naxos of America)

The relatively obscure opera, L’inganno felice (The Fortunate Deception), came early on in Gioachino Rossini’s career, his second farsa created for the Teatro San Moisè. In this Dynamic recording the diminutive Königliches Kurtheater is a splendid venue for staging the compact one act. Antonino Fogliano, who has served as Rossini in Wildbad’s music director since 2011, leads the vibrant Virtuosi Brunenses along with a relatively simplistic backdrop designed by Robert Schrag.

What’s particularly interesting is Rossini’s even blending of comic and serious elements (semiseria) as represented by specific characters. The heavy weights in this L’inganno felice rest predominately on Silvia Dalla Benetta’s Isabella and the highly articulated buffo qualities expressed by Lorenzo Regazzo as Tarabotto. We’re fortunate to witness these two singers early on in the opera.

Silvia Dalla Benetta sings her role in the finest of fashion, expressing her solemnity with a wholesome approach: the voice is earthy, and she possesses great breath control that ultimately allows her to reach gyrating notes with exceptional ease. A bit brassy on the top, Dalla Benetta stylizes her crescendos and decrescendos with great acuity which is very prominent in her aria, “Al più dolce e caro oggetto.” This contrasts nicely to the Leporello-like shenanigans emanating from Lorenzo Regazzo with the duo helping to frame a good part of the opera. The one-two punch of hilarity climaxes when we find Tiziano Bracci (Batone) encountering Regazzo in a feigned display of friendship in their duet, “Va taluno mormorando.”

In contrast to the aforementioned, the evil faction comes to us through Baurzhan Anderzhanov in the role of Ormando. His bass register is definitive, rich and penetrating. Ironically, his voice is more reminiscent of what we’d expect in Don Giovanni’s Leporello. Crowned with his own aria, Anderzhanov’s physical presence is a bit scary which adds sinister dimension.

Where the opera get foiled is in Artavazd Sargsyan as the Duke. Claudia Möbius dresses L’inganno felice in World War I, and Sargsyan is beautifully suited in a white uniform when first arriving onto the stage in a Jeep while accompanied by Tommaso Dionis’ melodically crafted flute obbligato. Granted the Duke is casted on the serious scale, he seems somewhat removed from the character and the opera itself. Passion lacks and expectant Rossini runs are very sloppy and mushy. His feebleness is luckily offset by the abilities tendered through Dalla Benetta and Regazzo. Unfortunately, the opera’s famed Terzet, “Quel sembiante, quello sguardo” wizens.

Despite a petite stage, Philippe Ohl sparingly utilizes camera shots and fades to make the overall production an enjoyable event. Audio is uneven, at times getting too flooded with occasionally touchy acoustical echoing.

Those who relish Rossini and his smaller works will likely find L’inganno felice sufficient but not satisfying the appetite.

Christie Grimstad




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