[Bonynge’s] delving into out-of-the-way opera continues. Aside from Chenier and Adriana, the operas excerpted here are rare indeed. Some of the selections are immediately captivating: the gorgeous aria from Gounod’s Queen of Sheba; the lush, expansive ‘Amare! Amar!’ from Cilea’s Gloria; the melodramatic ‘Venne una Vecchierella’ from Mascagni’s Isabeau, and the frothy operetta-like ‘Sortita’ from the same composer’s Si … who could object to casting some light on such dark corners of the repertory?
Tasmanian soprano Elizabeth Whitehouse deserves praise… [she] is passionate, eloquent, and tonally rich. Her intense, floaty account of Adriana’s ‘Io son l’Umile Ancella’ can bear comparison with many from better-known sopranos. Bonynge conducts confidently and effectively; as always, he’s at the service of his singer every moment. Texts and translations are supplied, and the notes… put the arias in context and tell us something about the music.