The Zurich Opera is known for staging works that star singers have always wanted to sing and Giovanni Paisiello's "Nina" was evidently a role coveted by Cecilia Bartoli, one of today's most sought-after performers. There are many operas where the heroine goes mad at the climax of the action, but this opera buffa (with sung and spoken text) has to be the only one where she is mad from the start. It requires a singer of immense vocal and dramatic talent to pull off such a role but Bartoli is phenomenal in this Cesare Lievi production.
"Her sudden changes of emotional gear are constantly surprising, her eyes reflecting the glittering array of tones emanating from her throat. The colour-range of her voice is truly stupendous... and there are those sensual, almost voluptuous overtones, which lend her every utterance an unmistakable personal flavour." - Opera News
The pièce de résistance is her performance of Mozart's concert aria K272, Ah lo previdi..., which augments this revised two act version of Paisiello's original. Lászlo Polgár, Jonas Kaufmann, Juliette Galstian and Angelo Veccia provide an excellent foil for Bartoli's tour de force. Adam Fischer conducts. The rich colours used by Maurizio Balò for his simple, stylised set and eighteenth-century costumes add a visual lustre to this live recording. Adam Fischer conducts the Chorus and the Orchestra of the Zurich Opera.
This opera comes together with the special feature "Giovanni Paisiello - A Forgotten Genius", a portrait of the composer, on DVD.