ROSSINI: William Tell – In the original French.
Gerald Finley, John Osborn, Malin Bystrom, Marie-Nicole Lemieux, Orchestra e Coro Dell’Accademia Nationazle die Santa Cecilia, Antonio Pappano.
Warner 0288262 3-CD set @ £15*
“What a combination of conductor, orchestra and chorus!…Pappano balances his forces well, the a cappella Tyrolean chorus in Act 3 being especially fine…[Finley] presents a younger, fresher-voiced Guillaume Tell than we’re used to hearing, which, dramatically, makes a lot of sense. His Tell is believable as the hero…Osborn uses his tenor intelligently, given the almost impossible tessitura.” International Record Review
“Collectors may want to hear this set for Gerald Finley’s quietly authoritative Tell and for John Osborn’s eloquent and affecting Arnold, small-scale by post-1830 standards but beautifully tailored and expertly sung. There is also an exceptional Jemmy from Elena Xanthoudakis.”Rossini’s complete final French Grand Opera William Tell in its definitive critical edition brough vividly to life by Antonio Pappano, Orchestra e coro dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia under his musical directorship and a stellar international cast.” Gramophone
Recorded live in concerts in October and December 2010 at the Accademia’s home Auditorium Parco della Musica led by Canadian baritone Gerald Finley in the title role and American tenor John Osborn, discovered by Antonio Pappano for this recording, in the notoriously challenging high role of Arnold of which he is a rare exponent.
Rossini’s opera established the structure of Grand Opera in separate scenes which was used by Bellini, Donizetti and Verdi. The music Rossini wrote for Arnold took operatic tenor singing style out of “chest” and “falsetto” (for the high notes), as was the norm until then, creating the powerful extended full vocal range we know today and which continues to make Italianate operatic tenor singing so thrilling.
The work had a huge influence on music history and is a fitting one for Pappano to champion in his active role as presenter of the history of opera by Italian composers from the beginning to the 20th century.
“The orchestra is fleet and wonderfully together, with crunch, buoyancy, a keen sense of collective phrasing and its own very distinctive sound…An excellent cast, led by Gerald Finley, on magnificent form…[Pappano’s] singers brought meaning to every phrase, giving us driven motivated vocal lines”. The Financial Times