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 Obituary, Claudio Scimone (1934-2018)

Claudio ScimoneThe Italian conductor Claudio Scimone, who did much to bring Rossini’s opera seria and the symphonies of Muzio Clementi back into the public eye, has died aged 83.

Born in Padua on 23rd December 1934, Scimone trained with Dmitri Mitropoulous and Franco Ferrara, and founded the chamber ensemble I Solisti Veneti in 1959; together, they recorded an astonishing amount of Italian baroque music (including Vivaldi, Tartini and Albinoni), and won a Grammy for their 1980 recording of Rossini’s L’Italiana in Algeri (with Marilyn Horne as the eponymous heroine and Samuel Ramey as the ‘Bey of Algiers’ around whom she runs rings). Scimone also championed Rossini’s lesser-known grand operas, presiding over the modern premieres of Ermione, Armida, Mosé in Egitto and Maometto II (he recorded the latter two works for Philips), as well as giving the first modern performance of Vivaldi’s Orlando Furioso in Verona in 1978; the opera was subsequently recorded by Erato (again with Horne in the title-role), and provided much of the impetus for the late twentieth-century resurgence of interest in Vivaldi's stage-works.

Scimone’s other landmark projects included first recordings of Clementi’s symphonies with the Philharmonia of London (sadly no longer available ), and the modern premiere of Salieri’s sacred cantata Le jugement dernier (The Last Judgement). In later years, he was awarded the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, and at the time of his death was Honorary Conductor of the Gulbenkian Orchestra.

Claudio Scimone - a selected discography

Jean-Pierre Rampal (flute), I Solisti Veneti, Claudio Scimone

Available Formats: MP3, CD Quality FLAC

Marilyn Horne (Isabella), Samuel Ramey (Mustafà), Kathleen Battle (Elvira), Clara Foti (Zulma), Nicola Zaccaria (Haly), Ernesto Palacio (Lindoro), Domenico Trimarchi (Taddeo)

Prague Philharmonic Choir & I Solisti Veneti, Claudio Scimone

Available Format: 2 CDs

Katia Ricciarelli, Margarita Zimmermann, Jose Carreras, Samuel Ramey, Craig Sheppard; Philharmonia Orchestra, Ambrosian Singers, Claudio Scimone

Available Format: 2 Presto CDs

Ruggero Raimondi (Mosè), June Anderson (Elcìa), Zehava Gal (Amaltea), Sandra Browne (Amenosi), Ernesto Palacio (Osiride), Salvatore Fisichella (Aronne), Keith Lewis (Mambre), Siegmund Nimsgern (Faraone)

Philharmonia Orchestra, Ambrosian Opera Chorus, Claudio Scimone

Available Formats: MP3, CD Quality FLAC

June Anderson (Anna Erisso), Ernesto Palacio (Paolo Erisso), Margarita Zimmermann (Calbo), Laurence Dale (Condulmiero), Samuel Ramey (Maometto II)

Philharmonia Orchestra, Ambrosian Opera Chorus, Claudio Scimone

Available Formats: MP3, CD Quality FLAC

José Carreras (tenor), Hermann Prey (baritone), Philharmonia Orchestra, Ambrosian Singers, Claudio Scimone

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC