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Opera Rara Howarth/Custer/Philharmonic Orchestra CD

Judith Howarth; Maneula Custer; Jennifer Larmore; Colin Lee; Puals Putnis; Geoffrey Mitchell Choir; Philharmonia Orchestra; Antonello Allemandi, conductor.

Whereas Schiller’s tragedy and most operas on the story of Mary Queen of Scots concentrate on her condemnation, final confession and execution, the story of Mercadante’s opera deals with an earlier period of her life, when she was struggling to maintain her authority and independence from the overbearing and bullying ambitions of Scottish chieftains and nobles. Quasi-historical figures and a plot in which the hero ultimately rescues the heroine from the villain’s clutches are simply a framework on which to hang this exhilarating music.

This is the fifth opera in the Essential Opera Rara series and, once again, a vivid impression of the work is captured on a single disc.

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