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On Friday 3 March, Opera Rara releases Bellini’s first opera Adelson e Salvini, written in 1825 while the composer was still a student at the Naples Conservatory. Marking the company’s third complete opera recording by Bellini, following La straniera and Il Pirata, up and coming bel canto specialist Daniele Rustioni leads the BBC Symphony Orchestra in their fourth collaboration with Opera Rara. Daniela Barcellona sings the role of Nelly and is joined by Enea Scala as Salvini and Simone Alberghini as Lord Adelson.
Inspired by Baculard d’Arnaud’s 1772 series of novellas, Les Épreuves du sentiment, Adelson e Salvini was so popular that the students of the Naples Conservatory performed it every Sunday for a year and its impact was such that the intendant of the Teatro di San Carlo immediately commissioned Bellini’s first professional opera. While the influence of the older composer Rossini is evident, Adelson e Salvini exhibits a young Bellini already in the midst of developing his very own original style. Several revisions were made to this student work in the years followings its first performances but it was not until 1985 when Adelson e Salvini was staged by the Teatro Metropolitan in the composer’s hometown of Catania that the work received its first professional performance.
Opera Rara’s revival of Adelson e Salvini is based on a new critical edition using Bellini’s original score. The opera was recorded in the studio a week prior to a concert performance given at the Barbican last May. As The Observer commented, “Opera Rara, busy since the 1970s unearthing forgotten operas, chose Adelson e Salvini for a second, fruitful collaboration this season with the BBC Symphony Orchestra… Energy exploded from [Daniele Rustioni’s] every limb, eliciting spry, lively playing from the BBCSO even in rumpty-tum longueurs…”