La campana sommersa

Respighi’s La campana sommersa is interesting in that it’s one of comparatively few post-Puccini Italian operas to get some sort of traction.  It premiered in Hamburg in 1927 and saw quite a few productions between then and 1939 including one at the Met in 1929.  Then it pretty much descended into obscurity before being revived in 2016 by a co-pro between Teatro Lirico di Cagliari (where the recording reviewed here was made) and the revived (more or less) NYCO (which used the Cagliari orchestra and chorus but American soloists).  It’s based on a symbolist poem by German poet Gerhart Hauptmann and concerns a bell; which has been hoofed into a lake by fauns, a master bell maker who thinks he is the pagan god Balder, a water sprite, Rautendelein, and assorted mortals, elves, witches, fauns and so on.  As with all these works no-one lives happily ever after.

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