The priest Giuseppe Cavallo was Maestro di Canto of the Conservatorio de Santa Maria de Loreto from 1672 until his death in 1684. Otherwise, virtually nothing is known about the composer, and it is only due to the musical archive of the Oratorio di Napoli, a treasure trove of rare scores, that a handful of Cavallo's works survive, including Il Giudizio Universale. This sacred oratorio presents Christ and Saint Michael, a pair of angels, two mortals, and four souls–two damned, two blessed–and begins with Christ commanding the angels to bring on the Last Judgment. What follows is a finely crafted musical drama, except for the confusion caused when the otherwise immaculately presented album fails to reveal which of the seven singers (two sopranos, three tenors, and one bass) is singing which parts. All you can be sure of is that Christ is the excellent bass, Giuseppe Naviglio… –Gary S. Dalkin
The work is an extraordinary curiosity; a child of the heady days just before the French Revolution, Tarare is the famous French writer's only opera and one of the Italian composer's rare French scores. First and most strikingly a work of social and political commentary, Tarare is also an entertaining work of theatre. Salieri's music supports these aims admirably and offers a few memorable moments of its own. As an opera form, Tarare defies easy categorization; it may be best described as a comedic satire dressed in the clothes of a sprawling 5 act lyric tragedy, complete with Prologue and a grand divertissement with dance.
Antonio Salieri set Shakespeare’s comedy The Merry Wives of Windsor to music in 1799, and his work was successfully premiered in Vienna the same year. Michael Hampe staged Salieris’s Falstaff at the Schwetzingen SWR Festival in 1995 with similar success – wonderfully supported by the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra and conductor Arnold Östman. The libretto by Carlo Prospero Defranceschi reduces Shakespeare’s original play to a few main characters and drastically simplifies the plot. This gives John Del Carlo, Teresa Ringholz, Richard Croft and Delores Ziegler a lot of space for their artistic interpretation and brilliant singing. The work lives from the wealth of the Italian opera buffa and absorbed influences from the German Singspiel (song-play), and delights with a number of great arias.