Cimarosa beyond Il matrimonio segreto
If you mourn the fact that Mozart didn’t get to write more da Ponte comedy goodness you’re almost vindicated. Cimarosa comes to the rescue, albeit in a completely silly way. None of that Mozart implied darkness here – but the music is so consistently tuneful and light-hearted I don’t care. Dude wrote upwards to 80 operas and not all of them are masques. He apparently even wrote a Tito Vespasiano, as was fashionable. His most successful seria seems to have been Gli Orazi e i Curiazi, which reportedly runs low on drama, as is the case with comedic geniuses when they try their hand at tragedy. I’ve heard a couple of arias/duets and I was not particularly impressed with his seria skills.
Tito, tragedy and Il matrimonio aside, so far I’ve heard Il ritorno di Don Calandrino and Il pittor parigino 1 both of which I found smashing good fun. I scoured youtube in desperation for more of this good stuff and found a very old (1959) Le astuzie femminili, which suffers from the same problems that tend to put me off pre-1970 recordings – a sort of vocal shoutiness and overly brisk, almost schematic way with the orchestra. Sorry if I sound lame, but I don’t know how to express this any better. What’s more, I can’t tell if these perceived problems have more to do with the recording equipment or with the style of the day. Hopefully I’ll come about a more recent Astuzie.
To think this chap was Paisiello’s big rival – his stuff kicks Paisiello’s arse hands down.
- plus the short and amusing intermezzo Il maestro di capella. ↩