My first sweet sorrow

The title of this CD, Il primo dolce affanno (The first sweet sorrow) is taken from Benedetto sia ‘l giorno, one of the sonnets by Francesco Petrarca. With this, already, seventh part of the series Il Salotto (The Salon), Opera Rara presents a delightful selection of songs, tunes and duets from the middle to the end of the nineteenth century repertoire. (ORR230)

Bruce Ford sings ‘I’ vidi in terra angelici costumi’:

The three Petrarca sonnets in Franz Liszt’s irresistibly beautiful setting serve as the guiding principle; for the rest, the CD mainly offers unknown compositions by Giacomo Meyerbeer, Camille Saint-Säens, Prince Józef Poniatowski, Federico Ricci, Antonio Carlos Gomes, Antonio Buzzolla and Giuseppe Verdi. And, something to think about: why are these gems hardly ever performed?

Only Buzzolla’s ‘Barcarola’ for three voices is a little disappointing, which may be because of William Matteuzzi’s uncertain intonation.

For the rest, the singers (Elisabeth Vidal, Laura Claycomb, Manuela Custer, Bruce Ford, Roberto Servile and Alastair Miles) are absolutely excellent. They are also exceptionally well accompanied .

Elisabeth Vidal zingt ‘Theme varie for soprano’ van Camille Saint-Saens :