Among the bel canto and verismo operatic repertoire Richard Bonynge recorded for Decca, he also found time to unearth much hitherto forgotten ballet scores, as well as forgotten music from the Baroque and Classical eras. Music by J.C. Bach and Salieri were recorded, rare Baroque overtures were explored and he also recorded three largely forgotten Baroque operas – Graun’s ‘Montezuma’ and Bononcini’s ‘Griselda’ (both in highlight form) and Shield’s ‘Rosina’ (complete). All three recordings emanated from the 1960s and many included Australians in the casts, among them Lauris Elms, Joan Sutherland, Monica Sinclair, Margreta Elkins and Kenneth MacDonald.
Giovanni Bononcini was born in 1670, in Modena, into a family of musicians and composers. He was taught first by his father and then by G.P. Colonna in Bologna. In 1719, the Royal Academy of Music was founded in London with the purpose of setting up a fund to support Italian opera; Handel was its chief composer and musical director but Bononcini was also contracted as one of the composers. Griselda was first performed in London on 22nd February 1722 with a libretto by Paolo Antonio Rolli; the story was adapted from a version by Apostolo Zeno first heard in Venice 1701, set to Pollarolo’s music. The plot deals with court intrigue and true love across social barriers, of kings mingling with shepherdesses.
Griselda: Lauris Elms
Ernesto: Joan Sutherland
Gualtiero: Monica Sinclair
Almirena: Lauris Elkins
Rambaldo: Spiro Malas
The Ambrosian Singers
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Recording Producer: David Harvey
Balance Engineer: Kenneth Wilkinson
Recording Location: Kingsway Hall, London, UK, 21–23, 26, 29, 30 March & 1 April 1966
‘Monica Sinclair rattles through three octaves with enough masculinity for the whole cast. In the title role, Lauris Elms sings with charm, and makes much of her opportunities.’ Gramophone