Following his triumphant visit to Vienna in 1822, when several of his operas were extremely well-received, international success beckoned for Rossini. First performed at La Fenice, Venice in 1823, Semiramide was Rossini’s last Italian opera, written at the height of his creative powers. Its subject is Greek tragedy for which librettist Gaetano Rossi drew on an adaptation by Voltaire. Instrumentally sophisticated and classically structured, the opera remains one of the most remarkable examples of Rossini’s cultivation of bel canto. “This new Semiramide rivals Pesaro standards thanks to Fogliani’s ever-alert and lively conducting. His cast includes singers who challenge this long and wonderful opera’s most famous interpreters on disc…this is an unmissable bargain.” - Sunday Times
The great writer Stendhal wrote of Il viaggio a Reims that “this opera is a feast”. The plot is a contemporary farce tailor-made for a particular occasion—the coronation festivities of Charles X—though Rossini valued the music so highly that he reused at great part of the score three years later in the opera Le Comte Ory. With a cast of ten principal and eight smaller rôles, this sparkling work is heard complete for the first time and in accordance with the critical edition prepared by the Fondazione Rossini and Casa Ricordi.
“The first of Scotto's two studio recordings of Traviata finds her in fresher voice than her later attempt under Muti, though her colleagues here are less distinguished.”
In July 1835 Donizetti was to have staged the first of the three new operas for which he had signed a contract with the management of the San Carlo theatre; but things, as so often happens in the world of opera, did not work out as the composer had intended. The subject - Walter Scott’s The Bride of Lammermoor - had long since been chosen but the direction had not provided for having the libretto written so that it could be read and approved by the censor by the beginning of March, four months before the scheduled date of the première, as the contract stipulated. At the end of May, at the composer’s urgent bidding, the writing of the libretto was entrusted to Salvatore Cammarano, destined to become one of the composer’s favourite working partners: yet the date of the première, inevitably, had to be postponed…