Carlo Rizzi Releases Two New Recordings Showcasing Puccini And Donizetti

6 Feb 2024

The coming weeks sees distinguished Italian Maestro Carlo Rizzi releasing two new studio recordings, showcasing his unrivalled expertise in the operatic repertoire and his deep relationships with the two institutions where he holds positions.

On 09 February, Signum Records releases his album of Puccini symphonic suites as Conductor Laureate of Welsh National Opera.

In Puccini’s anniversary year, Carlo Rizzi has created new, purely orchestral versions of some of his most well-known and beloved works. Staying faithful to Puccini’s original orchestration without anything added to ‘cover’ any perceivable lack of vocal line the brilliance of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, Tosca and other works shine through in this album of world premiere recordings.

The recording has already been reviewed very positively by BBC Radio 3’s flagship ‘Record Review’:

“Very ingenious and tremendously well played by an orchestra that of course has this music in its bloodstream […] Rizzi’s in his element here, the orchestra likewise […] Puccini was forever being nagged to produce things like this himself, and what we get here is a terribly well-thought-out equivalent of that more than a century on; they’re very effective and as you’d expect incredibly stylishly played..” Andrew MacGregor, BBC Radio 3 Record Review

In last year’s celebration of the 225th anniversary of Gaetano Donizetti’s birth, Opera Rara restored L’esule di Roma (1828), an opera which is considered a milestone in the composer’s illustrious career. Set in Imperial Rome, L’esule di Roma is filled with political conspiracy, romantic intrigue and great sacrifice. Vocal fireworks fly, punctuating remarkable ensembles and touching arias. The new in-studio recording will be available from 01 March!

Carlo Rizzi, Opera Rara’s Artistic Director, leads a star cast with Nicola Alaimo in one of Donizetti’s finest roles for bass-baritone, soprano Albina Shagimuratova – The Times’ “new queen of bel canto”, and tenor Sergey Romanovsky in the title role. Listen to the first pre-release track here!

Maestro Rizzi will be appearing on BBC Radio 3’s In Tune on Wednesday 07 February, discussing the recordings and his other projects, live on air from approximately 17:40.

“Carlo Rizzi knows exactly what Puccini needs and he draws wonderful colours from Welsh National Opera’s orchestra. The pacing is precise, the playing supple and gripping. I could listen many times over to the hot-blooded brass, muscular strings and the despairing regret of the clarinet…”
Rebecca Franks, The Times

“The orchestra performed to its full extent. At its head was Carlo Rizzi, steeped in Italianità but also with the Grand Opéra style. With gestures as precise as they are elegant, tinged with lightness and sprezzatura, he achieved an ideal balance, and flawless dramatic tension.” – Bénédicte Palaux-Simonnet, Crescendo Magazine

Carlo Rizzi holds a long-standing reputation as one of the world’s foremost operatic conductors, in demand as a guest artist at the world’s most prestigious venues and festivals. Equally at home in the opera house and the concert hall, his vast repertoire spans everything from the foundation works of the operatic and symphonic canon to rarities by Bellini, Cimarosa and Donizetti to Giordano, Pizzetti and Montemezzi. Combining a deep expertise in the vocal art with theatrical flair and the practical collaborative skills honed over decades of experience in the world’s finest theatres, he is acclaimed by singers and audiences alike as a master of the operatic craft.

Since 2019, Rizzi is Music Director of Opera Rara, the UK-based company devoted to resurrecting and returning to the repertoire undiscovered and undervalued works from opera’s celebrated and neglected composers. Since 2015, he has been Conductor Laureate of the Welsh National Opera, following his tenure as Music Director (1992-2001 and 2004-8) during which he was widely credited with overseeing  a dramatic increase in the company’s artistic standards and international profile.

The 2023/24 season will also see the release of the first of a projected complete edition of Donizetti’s songs, with Rizzi at the piano, accompanying a starry array of singers including Lawrence Brownlee, Michael Spyres and Ermonela Jaho. He conducts revivals of La Boheme and Un Ballo in Maschera at the Metropolitan Opera, I Vespri Siciliani at the Wiener Staatsoper, Otello at the Seoul Arts Centre, and a new production of Il Trittico for Welsh National Opera.

Artwork Credit: Opera Rara