Opera Rara



Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

Sir Mark Elder, conductor


Joyce El-Khoury; David Junghoon Kim; Laurent Naouri; Vito Priante; Evgeny Stavinsky; Royal Opera Chorus

Opera Rara today release the world première recording of Donizetti’s L’Ange de Nisida. Taken from two concert performances of the work in July 2018 at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Opera Rara’s Artistic Director Sir Mark Elder leads the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House in his ninth Donizetti title for the company. He is joined by Joyce El-Khoury as Sylvia, David Junghoon Kim as Leone de Casaldi, Vito Priante as King Fernand of Naples, Laurent Naouri as Don Gaspar and Evgeny Stavinsky as the Monk.

L’Ange de Nisida was planned as one of Donizetti’s operas to be premièred in Paris after the composer’s move to the French capital in 1838. The project had to be abandoned, however, when the commissioning theatre, the Théâtre de la Renaissance, went bankrupt. Donizetti would later use portions of its score in La Favorite, which premièred at the Opéra in Paris, and L’Ange de Nisida was long deemed too fragmentary to be capable of reconstruction. However, opinions were changed in 2009 thanks to extensive research in the Paris archives by the Italian scholar Candida Mantica and, over the last 10 years, the 800-page score has been restored.

Opera Rara’s world première performance of L’Ange de Nisida in July 2018, which marked their fourth collaboration with the Royal Opera, was described by the London Evening Standard as “an angelic première worth waiting for” and by The Guardian as “a major rediscovery... Sir Mark Elder and an outstanding cast proved that this once abandoned opera is more than a curiosity”. Opera Rara’s revival was recently nominated by the International Opera Awards in the “Rediscovered Work” category, garnering a second nomination this year to add to their recording of Rossini’s Semiramide which was nominated in the “Recording (Complete Opera)” category.

When Patric Schmid and Don White conceived Opera Rara in the late 1960s, their dream was to establish a Donizetti collection that would document all his operas through recordings. With nearly 70 operas to his name, this was no small ambition, particularly as at that time only a handful were widely known. L’Ange de Nisida marks Opera Rara’s 25th complete opera recording by Donizetti and will be followed by Il Paria, to be performed on 8 June at the Barbican with Sir Mark Elder conducting the Britten Sinfonia and Albina Shagimuratova, the star of Opera Rara’s recording of Semiramide. In between L’Ange de Nisida and the studio recording release of Il Paria in spring 2020, Opera Rara release the original version of Puccini’s first stage work, Le Willis, in September featuring Ermonela Jaho – who sang the title role of their revival of Leoncavallo’s Zazà in 2015 – together with the London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Sir Mark Elder.


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