CASTA DIVA / DECCA CLASSICS NEW ALBUM
13 November 2020
Decca Classics | 4855290
Recollections of operas by Rossini,Bellini, Verdi, Puccini, Donizetti, andBusoni transcribed by Liszt, Chopin,Ginzburg, Thalberg, Carignani andWittgenstein
Vanessa Benelli Mosell, piano
Italian pianist Vanessa Benelli Mosell turns from Stockhausen to the drama of Italian opera for her new album Casta Diva, to be released on Decca Classics on Friday 13 November 2020.
Benelli Mosell has assembled a collection of popular arias, overtures and themes fromNorma, La Bohème, Barbiere di Siviglia, Guillaume Tell, Madama Butterfly and more in virtuosic arrangements by some of great pianists of the 19th and 20th centuries. From lyrical variations by Chopin and Wittgenstein to pyrotechnics from Liszt, Thalburg and Ginzburg, these piano renditions unleash the instrument’s full capabilities, taking on the might of the orchestra. Often unapologetically flashy, these transcriptions provided not just a demonstration of technical prowess but also served as a haunting memory of opera in the days before recordings.
Vanessa Benelli Mosell said:
“I went to see my first opera Boris Godunov at the age of 3 in Florence and was transfixed by the children’s choir of the Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino. At five, I joined thementering the world of the theatre, performing, rehearsing and living with a pantheon of opera stars and conductors such as Semyon Bychkov, Riccardo Chailly and Zubin Mehta. It was inspirational and it is utterly wonderful to return to this world of opera through the prism of the piano. It is my dream one way to be able to conduct these great operas aswell.”
Encompassing a century of Italian opera from Rossini to Puccini, the album takes its namefrom Bellini’s iconic aria Casta Diva from Norma, contrasting the “diabolic” 15-minute paraphrase of Liszt’s Réminiscences de Norma, with a transcription by the famous virtuoso Sigismond Thalberg, a pupil of Moscheles and Hummell.
Following Bellini’s death in 1835, these two great piano rivals of the day found themselves guests at a soirée in Paris organised by Princess Cristina Trivulzio di Belgiojoso, a friend of the late composer. For the evening’s entertainment, a set of variations was proposed in homage of Bellini. Liszt eventually gathered these variations by some most important pianists of the day in a collection entitled Hexaméron, including Chopin’s haunting variation on the ‘March’ from I Puritani, which Benelli Mosell includes in Casta Diva.
Puccini appears in the simple arrangements of his devoted friend Carlo Carignani: ‘Che gelida manina’ and ‘Quando me n’ vò’ from La Bohème. Vanessa Benelli Mosell also includes Wittgenstein’s idiosyncratic left-handed arrangement of the famous humming chorus from Madame Butterfly, written after the pianist lost his right arm in the First World War.
Russian pianist Grigory Ginzburg created an amusing piano rendition of Rossini’s ‘Largo al factotum’ from Barbiere di Siviglia which captures the cunning antics of that famous barber. Following Liszt’s Rigoletto paraphrase and Reminiscences de Lucia di Lammermoor, Casta Diva culminates in Liszt’s spirited transcription of the finale toRossini’s Guglielmo Tell.
With six previous releases on Decca Classics, rising star Vanessa Benelli Mosell has garnered acclaim both for repertory classics and her championing of the newest composers. She received universal praise for her recordings of Stockhausen and recently recorded Ravel’s Concerto in G with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra for the label.
Full release details:
Friday 13 November 2020
Decca Classics | 4855290
Rossini ‘Largo al factotum’ from Barbiere di Siviglia (transcr. Ginzburg)Bellini Casta Diva from Norma (transcr. Thalberg)
Liszt Paraphrase sur Rigoletto (Verdi)
Chopin Hexaméron: Variation No. 6 (‘March’ from Bellini’s I Puritani)Liszt Réminiscences de Norma (Bellini)Puccini ‘Che gelida manina’ from La Bohème (transcr. Carignani)
Busoni ‘Turandots Frauengemach’ from Zwei Klavierstücke aus den Elegien
Bellini Quatuor de I Puritani (transcr. Thalberg)
Liszt Réminiscences de Lucia di Lammermoor (Donizetti)
Puccini ‘Quando me n’ vò’ from La Bohème (transcr. Carignani)
Wittgenstein ‘Sailors’ Chorus from Madame Butterfly’ from School for the left hand, III. Transcriptions (Puccini)
Rossini ‘Ouverture: Finale’ from Guglielmo Tell (transcr. Liszt)