Clementina (Boccherini)

María Hinojosa, Sonia de Munck, Marta Rodrigo, Elena Rivero, David Alegret, Toni Marsol. La Compañia del Principe, Aranjuez, c. Pablo Heras-Casado
Música Antigua Aranjuez MAA 008

Elena Rizzieri, Karla Schean, Maria Grazia Ferracini, Luciana Ticinelli, Ugo Benelli, Fernando Corena, Coro e Orchestra della Radiotelevisione della Svizzera Italiana, c. Angelo Ephrikian
Nuova Era 1181

Luigi Boccherini's 1786 collaboration with the great poet Ramón de la Cruz produced this famous and much-discussed zarzuela. The music (like the romantic comedy plot) is Italianate, witty, sophisticated and eminently stageworthy. At last we have a complete recording in Spanish, and the good news is that Heras-Casado and his Aranjuez team have done a fine job in conveying the quality of this major bridge between zarzuela barroca and the romantic zarzuela of the 19th century. Alegret, Hinojosa and most of the other singers stand up well against famous rivals on the old Swiss-Italian set (see below), and with sensual period instrument detail and spruce direction this is the set to have.

In the long absence of any recording at all in the original Spanish, this decent transfer of an off-air Swiss-Italian radio performance from 1965, almost complete (and like the modern Spanish set, minus the spoken dialogue) made a recommendable stop-gap. The famous names of Benelli and Corena produce, respectively, the lyric and comedic goods; and though the sopranos may not be so well known, their singing is no less satisfying. Ephrikian directs with zest, but his Swiss chamber orchestra sounds heavy in comparison with the period instruments on the Aranjuez set.