Orchetrs e Coro del Teatro Massimo Bellini di Catania, Niksa BAREZA, nov. 2016.
Silvia Dalla BENETTA, Sakuntala
Enrique FERRER, il Rey
To understand La leggenda di Sakuntala means remembering that it is more of a mysterium than an ordinary opera, which is why, after seeing a performance in Bologna, Fritz Reiner pronounced it “the Italian Parsifal”. Of course, the religious atmosphere pervading Sakuntala is pagan – which is hardly surprising, given its setting – and its subject is not redemption but the power of love. Alfano used the poem by Kalidasa (5th century BC), also admired by Goethe and Wagner. Those musicologists who claim it is only of modest quality cannot even begin to appreciate the genius it required to combine conciseness with first-rate words and music in a score for orchestra and choir that is a model of its kind. The most impressive aspect of this masterpiece is the way it employs motifs and themes with the same profundity and refinement found in Wagner's own approach and in its development by Strauss. The melodies which the characters sing are almost always slow, somewhere between the ecstatic and the dreamlike, while the atmosphere varies from the solemnly oriental to the ethereal. This release is the first official recording of the work.T