University of Hartford "H" Magazine - Winter 2019

University of Hartford

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Sunday Afternoon at the Opera - Cimarosa: Gli Orazii e I Curiazii

02/16/2020 1:00 pm
02/16/2020 4:30 pm


Sunday Afternoon at the Opera host Keith Brown writes:

Domenico Cimarosa (1749-1801) was a prolific composer of opera in the classical style of the later eighteenth century. He wrote at least sixty operas--mostly comic works, the most famous of them being Il Matrimonio Segreto (1792). I have broadcast a couple of recordings of 'The Secret Marriage." The old 1977 Deutsche Grammophon LP recording with Daniel Barenboim conducting went over the air on Sunday, April 21, 1985. Long thereafter came a new recording made in Florence, Italy in 2017. That latter one was my pre-New Year's Eve presentation for Sunday, December 30, 2018.

Cimarosa also wrote Italian opera seria. A specimen of his serious operatic output is Gli Orazii e I Curiazii (1796). The title really doesn't accurately translate as 'The Capulets and The Montagues" or 'The Hatfields and The McCoys," but that kind of storied family conflict is very familiar in this opera. For the story of this feud we reach back into ancient times, to the early days of the Roman Republic during the city-state's war with neighboring Alba Longa.

Cimarosa's obscure azione tragica received both its first modern staged revival and world premiere recording in 1983. Gli Orazii e I Curiazii was performed at the Teatro Chiabrera in Savona, Italy. Massimo de Bernart leads the Orchestra Sinfonica di Sanremo and the Coro del Teatro dell' Opera Giocosa, with the late and much esteemed mezzo Daniela Dessi in the breeches role of the Alban leader Curiazio. The Italian label Bongiovanni released Gli Orazii e I Curiazii on two compact discs in 1984.