Plácido Domingo adds a new role to his extensive recorded repertory with an all-new opera recording available from Deutsche Grammophon on June 8, 2010. That recording of Leoncavallo’s I Medici will be the only complete recording available.
Premiered just a year after the wildly successful Pagliacci, I Medici was Leoncavallo’s most ambitious work and included historical characters and settings, a tragic love triangle, and numerous cross-references with the works of Wagner and other composers. The 1893 premiere of I Medici featured world-class artists such as Francesco Tamagno, Verdi’s first Otello, in the demanding role of Giuliano. The exhausting and lengthy role for the tenor is one of many reasons why the opera is not more frequently performed. Plácido Domingo, himself a celebrated Otello, has brought the role of Giuliano back to life.
Taking his lead from Wagner and the Ring cycle, Leoncavallo set out to write a trilogy of operas (to be titled Crepusculum) to celebrate Italian culture and history. I Medici is the first and only completed installment of the proposed trilogy. While drawing inspiration from the most Italian of subjects, namely the Renaissance and the Medici family, Leoncavallo simultaneously owed a great debt to Wagner with references to The Ring, Tristan und Isolde and the Siegfried Idyll. In another tribute to Wagner, Leoncavallo composed not only the score but also wrote his own libretto.
Deutsche Grammophon recorded the entire opera in Florence, Italy.