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Marianne Cornetti's Cuniza, châtelaine of the castle, is the very incarnation of a godly matron, though her marriage will certainly not take place during this opera. She is as sympathetic as she should be to the tale of Leonora's seduction, and more than understands her own staid good sense is up against the ferocity of a virago. Her offer to withdraw from a now problematic wedding is announced with becoming dignity, but operatic good sense rarely carries the day [watch and listen -- Act 1 chapter 14, 64:55-66:02]. There is also the virago's vengeful father to contend with.

Marianne Cornetti as Cuniza and Carlo Ventre as Riccardo. Screenshot © 2007 Opus Arte/ABAO
Marianne Cornetti as Cuniza and Carlo Ventre as Riccardo. Screenshot © 2007 Opus Arte/ABAO

As Riccardo, the seducer-bridegroom, Carlo Ventre has the sort of ringing tenor voice that could grace any Olympic Games, and he is goaded into challenging Oberto to a duel before the end of Act 1. Cuniza, the only level-headed character in the work, does her best to prevent a fight that will presage inevitable disaster [watch and listen -- Act 2 chapter 7, 24:24-25:32]. But the Middle Ages must have their way, and the wronged father has to die before Riccardo is aware of the full horror his behaviour has wrought [watch and listen -- Act 2 chapter 9, 38:19-39:50].

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Copyright © 28 November 2007 Robert Anderson, London UK

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