Cimarosa&Perugini: a new CD release of Cimarosa's "Il Matrimonio Segreto"

Top Quote Interview to the Italian conductor Simone Perugini in occasion of Cimarosa's "Il Matrimonio Segreto" recording session. End Quote
  • (1888PressRelease) September 15, 2017 - During a brief pause of a recording session of "Il Matrimonio Segreto", comic italian opera in two acts by Domenico Cimarosa, released starting from 1st November 2017 for RC Record Classic Label, I meet and interview Maestro Simone Perugini, Italian conductor of the release, considered one of the greatest composer's scholar.

    Mr. Perugini, probably with this new production, crowned his dream of interpreting the most famous work of the composer you love so much. It's right?

    Even though I have been dedicating a large part of my career to Cimarosa, since 1993, I have never been involved, either as a musicologist, or as an interpreter, of "Il Matrimonio Segreto". I have always believed that such a famous work, which already has a critical review by Francesco Degrada published a lot of years ago by Ricordi (and other critical editions, realized with the most recent scientific criteria, prepared just in recent years), a series of recordings and still being represented with some regularity in all the theaters of the world, “Il Matrimonio Segreto” could continue his fortune even without any my contribution. My interpretation would not have added or removed anything from what I had been told by colleagues far more illustrious than me.

    Moreover, paradoxically, knowing the other works of Cimarosa nowadays, I have never considered “Il Matrimonio Segreto” his masterpiece; certainly not because it is not an extraordinary work, anything else; but simply because so many other titles, unpublished today, would deserve for writing happiness and extraordinary theatrical intuition to stay at the side of "Il Matrimonio Segreto" as masterpieces of XVIIIth Century.

    So what was the main stimulus that convinced you to have a new version?

    Of course, the idea to record a new cd, always a source of great satisfaction for a conductor. Secondly, the pleasure and the honor of collaborating again with Rc Record Classic Label and all the co-stars and adventure companions who participated in the recording. Then, of course, there is also an exquisitely artistic personality reason: my love for theater art is at least equal to that of music; while acknowledging the quality, sometimes high quality of the a lot of “Il Matrimonio Segreto” recording already available, none of these seemed to be a major criterion on the most exquisite theatrical aspects of Cimarosa's libretto and music (composed, in more than a moment, almost as a suggestion for the staging). Numerous musical pieces of the work and author's accurate notes (repetition of engravings and themes, time changes, cadences, accompaniments of the orchestra) seem to almost allude to a modern stage direction that can not be separated from their intrinsic, and often very high, musical quality. So the idea, like the one that nourished my interpretation of the engravings of "The Barber of Seville" and "La padrona" by Paisiello, was to realize, in a studio recording, the feel and color of a theatrical representation, drawing its inspiration, so to speak, from the elements in the libretto by Giovanni Bertati and, more so, in the score.

    How does it explain why "Il Matrimonio Segreto" is the only Cimarosa's work that remained in the repertoire of theaters all over the world, with a breakthrough success at the expense of the rest of composer's production (about seventy melodrams) dropped in most of cases in oblivion?

    Chronicle (understood as the story of short and medium reception at an event), including the one of music and theater, makes its own choices and drops many heads, sometimes too adventurously. They then think about cultural sedimentation and history to do justice. As far as the question is concerned, "Il Matrimonio Segreto" was, at least until 30 years ago, practically the only Cimarosa's work to remain in the repertoire, I'm sure of a fact: the reason is certainly not due the poor quality of the other Cimarosa works. All Cimarosa productions (both comic operas and dramatic ones) have a theatricality and a freshness of very high invention; the production then dedicated to the court of Caterina II of Russia (and almost entirely made up of series works) is packed with very innovative scores with respect to the Italian tradition of the time (massive use of choirs, brilliant orchestrations and the use of timbres unusual for the Italian audience). Cimarosa was an extremely intelligent man, as well as a great artist: he always managed to update his own style and expertise whenever he came into contact with manners of different compositions than those that went to the major in theaters of the Italian peninsula.

    Surely on "Il Matrimonio Segreto" was built, naturally and artfully, of course, a kind of legendary aura since its inception. The early composer's biographers, at the beginning of the XIXth Century, wrote that the work obtained the demand for encore by the Emperor Leopold II who assisted the first; the news is not confirmed by any source, and with almost no certainty the news is false. Surely the news increased and amplified an incontrovertible fact, namely that the work still had a great public success.

    During the XIXth Century, also thanks to novelist such as Stendhal, "Il Matrimonio Segreto", became the emblem of an entire era and of a paradigmatic compositional and dramatic style; It was for this reason that probably the work remained in the repertoire, beating all the new fashione in the XIXth Century at the expense of other Cimarosa productions. Another possible reason is due to the fact that many composer works, written for Neapolitan scenes, are in Neapolitan dialect, and therefore for this reason are hardly exportable in theaters of other cities where Neapolitan could not be easily understood.

    How are you doing with your work colleagues during this record production?

    Very well. Extraordinary singers, not only technically prepared but also endowed with extraordinary imagination and creativity; with the Harmoniae Templum Chamber Orchestra orchestra the relationship with me is already consolidated. Working with such an extraordinary orchestra provokes to an orchestra conductor who deals with the baroque and classic times like me, the pleasure of a delightful child entering a sweets shop: a paradise!

    To conclude: why is Cimarosa in his life?

    The beautiful feeling of love (even the artistic one) is that one can not and should not be explained. We met by chance in 1993, I fell in love with her music, I declared and I did not leave her anymore. That's all, folks!

    Interview by Marina Leoffredi - © 2017 - ClassicNewReviews
    English translation by Laurie Farrel Smith

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