Vaccaj: La Sposa Di Messina (Naxos: 8.660295-96)
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The operas of Nicola Vaccaj, renowned as a vocal teacher and still known today for his Metodo di Canto, employ a similar bel canto style to that of his rival Bellini. Based on a tragedy by Friedrich Schiller, the powerfully dramatic plot of La sposa di Messina deals with the inescapable and, in this case, destructive nature of destiny. Vaccaj's own 1839 premiere was dogged by bad luck, and the subject proved too controversial for Venetian audiences despite its numerous superb set pieces. After one complete and one partial performance, it was not staged again until the 2009 revival heard on this live recording.
A composer of fifteen operas, Nicola Vaccaj is now virtually forgotten as a composer though La sposa di Messina could have been"from the pen of the young Verdi or Donizetti" according to the Belgian Opera Gazet review of this festival concert performance. This unique revival and premiere recording has a very strong cast and the performance is in the trusted hands of opera specialist Antonino Fogliani, whose Rossini (Mose in Egitto 8.660220-21 and Otello 8.660275-76) and Donizetti (Lucia di Lammermoor 8.660255-56) are among the evergreen staples of our opera catalogue.
Antonino Fogliani's many conducting engagements have taken him to leading international opera houses and concert halls. For Rossini in Wildbad he has directed Ciro in Babilonia, L'occasione fa il ladro, Mose in Egitto, La scala di seta, Il signor Bruschino and Otello, as well as Vaccaj's La sposa di Messina.