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Cat. No. CHAN 10442 Price: £10.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 10442 - Rachmaninov: Francesca da Rimini
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Available From: 01 November 2007
‘If the Chandos recording has captured half as much excitement, it will set new standards for this work – and maybe even force a wholesale reassessment of Rachmaninov’s achievement as an operatic composer’ wrote David Fanning after attending the recent Bridgewater Hall performance by Noseda and the BBC Philharmonic of Francesca da Rimini.

Rachmaninov’s one-act opera uses a libretto by Modest Tchaikovsky, based on a story told by Dante in his Divine Comedy. An underlying theme is that hell is happiness recalled in times of chronic misery. The story concerns the character of Francesca da Rimini, the tragic heroine murdered with her lover by her jealous husband. The Bulgarian soprano Svetla Vassileva and the Ukrainian tenor Misha Didyk take the parts of Francesca and Paolo, the doomed lovers of Dante’s story, and three Russians, led by Sergey Murzaev as Lanceotto, complete the team of soloists.

Gianandrea Noseda has a particular affinity for Russian music, which perhaps grew from his time with Gergiev at the Kirov, and it is clear from his conducting that Rachmaninov’s music is deeply personal to him. Following the concert The Daily Telegraph noted that ‘Noseda conducted like a man possessed, conjuring hair-raising intensity from the BBC Philharmonic in the whirlwinds depicting the outer circles of hell’.<
Reviews

Rachmaninov’s swirling chromaticism and dark palette in the prologue and epilogue, establishing a backcloth to the lovers’ fate, are graphically realised by the BBC Philharmonic and Gianandrea Noseda, and intensified by the BBC Singer’s wordless wailing as the chorus of lost souls.
Telegraph

Noseda sculpts the brooding passions of Rachmaninov’s dramatic score with thrilling intensity, before the BBC Philharmonic’s ‘whirlwind of the damned’ swirls up from the depths with gut-churning power. While the libretto’s flaws will always persist, Noseda’s interpretation is never less than compelling.
The Times

The sighing, swirling music of the opening, depicting the tormented soul of Francesca and her lover in hell, is stunning, and the climactic, peak-and-trough gestures of the central love duet are thrilling. The singing, from a Russian-speaking cast, is loud and exciting if not always seductive, but with such excellent accompanying the overall effect is still passionate.
Classic FM

The recording quality is magnificent, the sound opening up thrillingly at climactic moments and capturing the voices in what seems like a completely natural acoustic. Excellent notes and a complete libretto (in Russian, English, German and French) complete an altogether impressive package. Very Strongly recommended.
International Record Review

Rarely performed, Rachmaninov’s steamy one-acter manages to transcend its clunky libretto (Tchaikovsky’s brother Modest) and achieve moments of angst-ridden rapture. Svetla Vassileva makes an impassioned Francesca, with eloquent support from Misha Didyk’s ardent Paolo and Sergey Murzaev’s simmering Lanceotto. But the stars of this recording are Gianandrea Noseda and the BBC Philharmonic, who evoke all the exquisite agonies of an adulterous couple condemned to Dante’s Hell.
The Observer

…Rachmaninov at his Romantic best and the Chandos production is of the usual high standard.
Liverpool Daily Post

This is an excellent way of coming to know a flawed but interesting piece of Rachmaninov, and it is much helped by excellent presentation from Chandos.
Gramophone

Noseda is completely at home in this passionate outpouring, and the respond to him with brilliance. And the relaxation of the tension after the love-scene’s climax is as meltingly lovely as it was in concert.
Manchester Evening News

Rachmaninov’s romantic one-act opera about the doomed lovers Paolo and Francesca in Dante’s Inferno receives a powerful performance of intense atmosphere and full bloom.
Telegraph ‘CDs of the year’

Noseda draws forth plenty of power and sweep, passion, and a sense of doom from the orchestra. The choral passages are particularly impressive. Nezzubenkov’s black bass is cavernous, terrifying, emerging as if from hell instead of a human singer. Akimov’s pointed tenor has little to do, but he does it well. Most commanding and authoritative is the Lanceotto of Murzaev – solid, but not stolid, menacing in its strength.
American Record Guide

 

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