Nello della Pietra - Roberto Servile, Pia de’ Tolomei - Majella Cullagh, Rodrigo de’ Tolomei - Manuela Custer, Ghino degli Armieri - Bruce Ford, Piero - Mirco Palazzi, Bice - Patrizia Biccire, Lamberto - Marco Vinco, Ubaldo - Mark Wilde, The Keeper of the Tower of Siena - Christopher Turner. Geoffrey Mitchell Choir, London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by David Parry With an all-star cast under the expert direction of David Parry, this studio recording of Donizetti’s Pia de’ Tolomei is an essential purchase for all opera lovers. Composed for Venice in 1836, Pia de’ Tolomei should have had its first performance at the Teatro la Fenice but the famous theatre was destroyed by fire before the end of the year. Eventually the opera was given at the Teatro Apollo on 18 February 1837.
The plot of Pia de’ Tolomei rises to the same melodramatic heights as Donizetti’s well-known Lucia di Lammermoor. The composer, as we have seen many times before, ensures that his heroines suffer to the most sublime music. And, like Lucia, Pia is a woman caught in circumstances that eventually bring her story to a tragic end.
Or do they? When Pia de’ Tolomei was given in Naples the strict rules of censorship forced Donizetti to revise the ending – death was not allowed on the stage. In their customary fashion Opera Rara gives you the opportunity to hear both endings. In fact, all of the music Donizetti wrote for subsequent productions is included in this comprehensive recording.
The 3 CD box set is accompanied by a 248 page booklet with an introduction and notes to the opera a (plot synopsis in four languages) by the eminent 19th century musical scholar Jeremy Commons.