Opera Rara zum 50.


On Friday 15 January 2021, Opera Rara’s latest recording of Donizetti’s Il Paria will be released internationally by Warner Classics. Conducted by former Artistic Director Sir Mark Elder, Il Paria was recorded in the studio prior to a performance at London’s Barbican Centre in June 2019. Singing the role of Neala, Albina Shagimuratova, the star of Opera Rara’s award-winning recording of Rossini’s Semiramide, leads an outstanding cast accompanied by Britten Sinfonia

Set in sixteenth-century India, Il Paria was commissioned for a royal gala in Naples where I was first performed in January 1829. Whilst not an overwhelming success at its première, Il Paria was an opera to which Donizetti gave considerable attention and of which he was particularly proud,

Building on Opera Rara’s acclaimed and extensive catalogue of rediscovered Donizetti operas, the release of Il Paria marks Opera Rara’s 26th complete opera by Donizetti, the opera’s first studio recording and only the second recording in existence – the first was released in 2001. Shagimuratova, who was described by Classical Source at the time of the live performance as “absolutely brilliant from the very start”, is joined by René Barbera as Idamore – one of the most demanding tenor roles to be written by Donizetti – and  Misha Kiria as Zarete, a role described by Opera Rara’s Artistic Dramaturg Roger Parker as one of Donizetti’s greatest baritone creations.

On Thursday 8 July 2021, Opera Rara returns to Donizetti when it presents another rarity, Il furioso all’isola di San Domingo, in an entirely new performing edition. Carlo Rizzi, the company’s newly appointed Artistic Director, conducts Britten Sinfonia in their second collaboration with Opera Rara; Albina Shagimuratova once again takes the lead soprano role. The week before the Barbican concert, Opera Rara will record Il furioso, with the album scheduled for release in 2022.

Opera Rara was founded by Patric Schmid and Don White in 1970 with a huge ambition: to document all Donizetti’s operas through recordings and, where necessary, new performing editions. Under Sir Mark Elder’s eight-year tenure, Opera Rara expanded its repertoire to include French grand opera, French operetta and Italian verismo works.

Whilst the impact of the global pandemic meant postponing the release of Il Paria by  nine months and the recording and concert of Il furioso all’isola di San Domingo by a  year, the company celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2020 with another of its close collaborators: Ermonela Jaho. Following her debut Wigmore Hall recital presented by Opera Rara in February, in September 2020, the company released Jaho’s debut recital disc – Anima Rara – exploring music championed by the Italian soprano Rosina Storchio, the creator of Cio-Cio San in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly. As The New Yorker noted, “Jaho’s gentle timbre, nuanced inflections, and, above all, tonal clarity are enchanting, revealing a compelling portrait of Storchio’s art—and her own.”


Opera Rara at  50: DONIZETTI: IL PARIA; Albina Shagimuratova (Neala); René Barbera (Idamore); Misha Kiria (Zarete); Marko Mimica (Akebare); Thomas Atkins (Empsaele); Kathryn Rudge (Zaide); Opera Rara Chorus Britten Sinfonia; Mark Elder, conductor; ORC60 – RELEASE DATE: FRIDAY 15 JANUARY 2021


For further information: Ginny Macbeth/Moë Faulkner: 020 7251 9448 moe@macbethmediarelations.co.uk