By Coro Donizetti Opera, Dario Schmunck, Eva Mei, Jessica Pratt, Nicola Ulivieri, Orchestra Donizetti Opera, Raffaella Lupinacci, and Sebastiano Rolli. By Gaetano Donizetti. Classic Films. DVD. Dynamic #DYN-37757. Published by Dynamic (NX.DYN-37757).
Revived after 171 years in oblivion, the staging of Rosmonda d'Inghilterra at Bergamo's Teatro Donizetti proved fascinating for the Italian public. From the excellent cast of singers, Jessica Pratt and Eva Mei gave standout performances. The opera revolves around a tale of love and intrigue surrounding the main protagonists- the famous Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine, her husband Henry II of England, and the fair Rosamund de Clifford. Rosmonda is the quintessential innocent, unaware that the man she loves is the King of England and that she has unwittingly become a rival to the much-feared Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine. Eleanor, having already had her first marriage annulled for reasons of consanguinity, is unwilling to se her second marriage also fail. Only the faithful page Arturo, secretly in love with Rosmonda, knows that the Queen is aware of her husband's betrayal; but he too is embroiled in this game of deceit hoping that he will end up winning the girl. The emotional and dramatic development is very effective. There is not a page in this score without some example of brilliant writing, a captivating theme, a moving passage. It all goes to prove how deeply original Donizetti was and how much there is still to be discovered about this underappreciated composer.