Viozzi: Il Sasso pagano - Taddei, De Taranto, Gardino; Scaglia. Trieste, 1962
Listen to a Sample:
I have to admit I was expecting very little when I got this recording. I had never heard on Giulio Viozzi and when I saw that the premiere was in 1962 that only made me further suspicious. After Puccini's death many composers tried but none were able to define the direction that Italian opera would take. Viozzi's effort here should not be discounted. As opposed to a pastiche of Strauss, Debussy and Bartok which many of Puccini's predecessors like Alfano produced, Viozzi's tonal world is unique and very compelling. There is not much information available on this opera but from what I was able to extrapolate, it centers around a priest who lives in a town that has a "pagan stone" to which people travel in order to pray. The priest is appalled that such a blasphemous idol attracts the attention that it does, and vows to destroy it. The opera ends with the priest finally confronting the source of his obsession only to collapse and die. The music conveys the mystery extremely well and without the aid of a libretto one can sense the the drama is well-paced and Viozzi's sense of formal structure is keen. The cast is led by Giuseppe Taddei who relished the acting and vocal challenges. I highly recommend this opera and hope that anyone who has any information will leave it below. The sound is good.