ROSSINI: Complete Overtures • 2 [TrackList follows] – Prague Sinfonia Orch./ Christian Benda – Naxos audio-only Blu-ray

ROSSINI: Complete Overtures • 2 [TrackList follows] – Prague Sinfonia Orch./ Christian Benda – Naxos Pure Audio Blu-ray (96K/24-bit stereo & DTS-HD MA 5.1) NBD0035, 1:50:37 (2/24/14) *****:

Here is the second volume of audio-only Blu-ray of 15 more Rossini Overtures. Here’s our review of the first one.  No choruses this time around, just 15 sparkling performances again of the wonderful Rossini music. And look at the nearly two-hour running time—not available on any SACD or CD! Rossini was of the most successful and popular opera composers of his time. Read my review of Volume 1 for most of the details about this. The note booklet has short summaries of the plots of most of the operas covered here, but who needs them? The overtures to The Italian in Algiers, La Cenerentola and The Barber of Seville will probably be the best-known of all 15, but they are all most tuneful and captivating.

In the middle of the collection is the Sinfonia in E flat Major, which seems a bit odd until you read that it was from the composer’s student days and he later used some of it in his overture to La cambia di matrimonio, which is also heard earlier in this collection. Several of these operas are no longer in the current repertory, but that doesn’t stop the overtures from being delightful listening.  The 5.0 96K/24bit surround audio is excellent, as are the performances. (I didn’t have an SACD version to compare, but the two volumes so far are certainly light years ahead of the standard CDs, as well as much longer length.)


1.   La gazza ladra: Overture 00:09:47
2.   Semiramide: Overture 00:12:25
3.   Elisabetta, regina d’Inghilterra, Act I: Sinfonia 00:07:27
4.   Otello, ossia Il moro di Venezia, Act I: Sinfonia 00:08:32
5.   Le siege de Corinthe: Overture 00:09:32
6.   Sinfonia, “al Conventello” 00:04:01
7.   Ermione, Act I: Sinfonia – Troia! qual fosti un di! 00:08:04
8.   Guillaume Tell: Overture 00:11:34
9.   Eduardo e Cristina: Overture 00:09:14
10.   L’inganno felice: Overture 00:06:01
11.   La scala di seta: Overture 00:06:00
12.   Demetrio e Polibio: Overture 00:06:31
13.   Il Signor Bruschino: Sinfonia 00:04:48
14.   Sinfonia in D Major, “Bologna” 00:05:22
15.   Sigismondo: Overture 00:08:28

—John Sunier

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