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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I am just using the contest format to have fun with you guys with this aria. These are the two recordings that exist, LOL !
My lectures covered it among operas based on Victor Hugo's dramas. The queen Maria Tudor has just told the council she will not marry the Spanish prince. Her (public) secret reason is, she loves the adventurer Riccardo Fenimoore, a charming but unworthy guy, but she doesn't know that about him yet. This situation, and the whole plot are completely made up :D. The text of the aria will be posted below.
Giovanni Pacini was quite popular as an opera composer in the bel canto era, but got overshadowed by Rossini and Bellini.

Edit: In the second video, the aria is time - tagged, but start at 45:30 if it doesn't work.

Nelly Miricioiu:
Maria, regina d'Inghilterra, Act 2: "La corona che cinge il mio crine" (Maria, Peers)

Penelope Walker (45:30 – 48:33):
Giovanni Pacini, “Maria, regina d’Inghilterra” (1843), Opera completa. David Parry (Live, 1983)
Aria timing: (45:30 – 48:33)

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(The libretto)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I enjoyed the music. The second number just showed up as the whole opera so I went with the first singer.
Thank you for participating !

I posted the second video as time - tagged, but if it does not work for you, the timing of the second aria is 45:30 – 48:33. The second singer is maybe a little smoother.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
I am surprised that Nelly Miricioiu is winning so far, because it sounded to me, like the singing is easier for Penelope Walker. But, in fact, I like Miriciou better as well. The conducting is not so rushed as it is for Walker, and the singing feels more expressive. And she may as well have tiny imperfection in the voice, because she is the deceived and probably older of the two female characters here, although she is the primadonna.
 

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Sometimes I have spikes of interest to some composers and styles, so once I discovered Pacini as a contemporary and a rival of three great masters of belcanto. I realized that I knew his name before, but didn't relate it to certain operas or music in general.
He was a friend and a protegee of comtess Julia Samoilova. She was extremely rich, lived in Italy for a long time and took part in artistic life. Rumor has it she arranged the fail of Norma, paying the claqueurs.
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This is her portrait by her perennial friend and lover Karl Brullov, another Russian in Italy. The girl is Amazilia Pacini, younger daughter of the composer, whom she took care of when his wife died, maybe even adopted. (There were two daughters, both are depicted in another Brullov's painting, The rider). As I know, Pacini died young enough, she kept looking after the girls till they grew up. When she finally had run through her enormous fortune, they still tried to get some money from her. Evidently she brought them up badly.
I found some Pacini's operas in the net. They are rarely performed and were digged out no earlier than in 1980s. I listened to at least one, Il ultimo giorno di Pompei, typically romantic. Nevertheless, I'm not an expert. Here we have another example of pseudohistoric belcanto opera. If I didn't know the author, I would suspect it were something from Donizetti's quantitative manufacturing.
Both ladies sounded hysterical, and had much in common. Miricioiu has a timbre that I liked better. By the way, she also sang Norma.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
He was a friend and a protegee of comtess Julia Samoilova. She was extremely rich, lived in Italy for a long time and took part in artistic life. Rumor has it she arranged the fail of Norma, paying the claqueurs.
This is exactly how I heard about Pacini for the first time ! It was in the book on Norma by Kimbell, the same book where the finale of Norma is described as "ritual communal ecstasy".

By the philosophy of Occam's razor, the theory of the bribed claquers is redundant. Considering what a difficult opera Norma is and that they were performing it for the first time ever, possibly with some last minute adjustments - I believe it just might have been objectively horrible.

But Pacini had some reasons to be upset . Chronologically before Norma, he composed an opera La Sacerdotessa d'Irminsul, by the same librettist, Felice Romani. The plot was a little similar but ending good. There is, for instance, the expression "Qual cor tradisti" present.

This is her portrait by her perennial friend and lover Karl Brullov, another Russian in Italy.
She was beautiful.

I found some Pacini's operas in the net. They are rarely performed and were digged out no earlier than in 1980s.
I have noticed Pacini's Saffo on youtube, sung by Leyla Gencer or Caballe. Maybe I will look into it later.

Here we have another example of pseudohistoric belcanto opera.
We were told, this trend of made up history in romantic drama was started, or at least affirmed by Friedrich Schiller. He believed, the history should not be presented as it happened, but as it should have, in order to teach people about morality. Victor Hugo followed this, with his own tweaks of contrasts. We have an attractive, but unworthy man, somewhat like the Duke in Rigoletto. Also the contrasting feature of nobility being immoral, while rural people are presented as moral as pure.

If I didn't know the author, I would suspect it were something from Donizetti's quantitative manufacturing.
To me, some situations resemble Norma. E.g. the two rival ladies mutually singing "Abbraccia mi" somewhere in the opera. Also the opposing sentiments between the queen and the chorus in the contest aria resembles Bello a me ritorna.

This 7 minutes long overview gives some idea about the opera.

Miricioiu has a timbre that I liked better. By the way, she also sang Norma.
I will look her up, thanks. There is never enough Normas for me.
 

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By the philosophy of Occam's razor, the theory of the bribed claquers is redundant. Considering what a difficult opera Norma is and that they were performing it for the first time ever, possibly with some last minute adjustments - I believe it just might have been objectively horrible.
I have noticed Pacini's Saffo on youtube, sung by Leyla Gencer or Caballe.
Popular version is also that Giuditta Pasta caught cold before the opening night.

I thought about Gencer too in connection with this music.
 
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