Matilde di Shabran







Rossini:  Matilde di Shabran

Annick Massis, Juan Diego Flórez, Prague Chamber Choir, Orquesta Sinfónica de Galica, conducted by Riccardo Frizza


"Matilde di Shabran . . . is one of Rossini's finest scores, and a comedy of almost Shakespearean depth. The plot is similar to The Taming of the Shrew, though the sexes of the protagonists are reversed. Matilde, a soldier's daughter, takes it upon herself to break down the prejudices of the misogynist bully Corradino Cuor di Ferro ("Corradino Ironheart") in order to get him to propose marriage, though at one point she nearly loses her life in the process. The ending is ambivalent: Matilde celebrates her triumph to music that suggests a military victory; Corradino, shorn of his coloratura bravado, is suddenly relegated to a supporting role in the accompanying ensemble.

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"Matilde di Shabran . . . was recorded in Pesaro in 2004, and pits Annick Massis's Matilde against Juan Diego Florez's Corradino, the pair of them flinging coloratura at each other like weaponry, and singing like gods. Massis superbly captures Matilde's manipulative hauteur. Florez becomes increasingly touching as Corradino's macho certainties are gradually toppled. Riccardo Frizza's electrifying conducting adds immeasurably to the excitement of it all. Jaw-droppingly good, it's one of the finest operatic recordings of recent years."--Tim Ashley, The Guardian, September 8, 2006.