Starry premiere on disc for a Leoncavallo rarity
Leoncavallo’s never-before recorded opera I Medici has made its debut on Deutsche Grammophon with a cast led by Plácido Domingo, Carlos Álvarez, Daniela Dessì and Renata Lamanda, with Alberto Veronesi conducting the Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino.
Premiered in 1893 and the notional first part of an aborted historical trilogy, I Medici covers the seven-year period between the election of Sixtus V as pope in 1471 and the appointment, following a failed assassination attempt, of Lorenzo de Medici as signore of Florence in 1478.
I Medici marks Domingo’s quick return to Leoncavallo on disc, following the recent release of La nuit de mai, a collection of songs and arias accompanied by Lang Lang and the Orchestra of Teatro Comunale di Bologna conducted by Alberto Veronesi. Heavily influenced by Wagner and with obvious references to Verdi, the four-act azione storica is considered to be Leoncavallo’s most ambitious opera and is the fifth volume in a series of lesser-known works from the verismo repertoire currently being championed by Veronesi on DG.
In 2011, Veronesi will take up the post of music director of the Opera Orchestra of New York.