For his debut release on Deutsche Grammophon, Franco Fagioli has recorded an all-Rossini album featuring scenes and arias from ‘Tancredi’, ‘Semiramide’, ‘Matilde di Shabran’, ‘Adelaide de Borgogna’ and ‘Eduardo e Cristina’. He has chosen a programme which focuses on the composer’s ‘trouser roles’ and explores the delightful confusion between voice and gender.
Many male roles in Rossini’s rarely performed serious operas were written for women, but Rossini was fascinated by the voices of the castrati, their “purity and wonderful flexibility; their profoundly penetrating accent”. For Franco Fagioli there is a special appeal in restoring to these roles the sound that Rossini had in mind.
The exceptional Belcanto technique that he has developed makes Franco the ideal choice for this repertoire. The Rossini music on this album is virtuosic, deep and thoughtful, including arias whose sonorities remind one of earlier Classicism and whose colours anticipate Verdi’s varied compositional palette. With his large, warm and incredibly agile mezzo-soprano voice, Franco paints a series of fascinating portraits.