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Opera Rara is a Britishmarker record label, founded by Patric Schmid and Don White. It was originally created to promote concerts of rare and/or forgotten operas by Giacomo Meyerbeer and Donizetti as well as such other "bel canto" composers as Giovanni Pacini and Saverio Mercadante. Their activities were expanded more recently to include the BBC's original versions of Giuseppe Verdi operas that are better known in later versions.

Their first "complete" opera, Meyerbeer's Il crociato in Egitto, was given as a concert in 1972 and featured soprano Janet Price. It was the work's first revival in over 100 years, and was of such great interest to record collectors that it was almost immediately issued by several "pirates". Donizetti's Maria Padilla, again with Price, followed soon afterwards. Other early concerts included Maria de Rudenz, Torquato Tasso, and Rosmonda d'Inghilterra (Donizetti), L'Etoile du Nord (Meyerbeer)), as well as two Mercadante operas:Orazi e Curiazi and Virginiamarker. All of these represented the first performances of these works in years.

In 1977, it issued its first recording of Donizetti's Ugo, conte di Parigi, with a cast including Janet Price, Yvonne Kenny,Della Jones, and Christian du Plessis. Other singers who have participated in Opera Rara's recordings include Renée Fleming, Jennifer Larmore, Nelly Miricioiu, Vesselina Kasarova, Chris Merritt, Marco Lazzara, James Westman , Bruce Ford, and Anthony Michaels-Moore.

World premiere recordings

Their biggest contribution to classical recordings is the large number of "world premiere recordings" in their catalogue. Listed by composer, these include:


Ugo, conte di Parigi ORC1

Gabriella di Vergy ORC3

Ne m'oubliez pas ORC4

Maria Padilla** ORC6

Emilia di Liverpool ORC8

L'assedio di Calais ORC9

Rosmonda d'Inghilterra** ORC13

Zoraida di Granata ORC17

La romanzesca e l'uomo nero ORC19

Francesca di Foix ORC28Mayr

Ginevra di Scozia ORC23Mercadante

Emma d'Antiochia ORC26

Maria Stuarda* ORR241

Orazi e Curiazi** ORC12


Zaira* ORR224


Il crociato in Egitto ORC10

Dinorah ORC5

L'esule di Granata* ORR234

Margherita d'Anjou ORC25Offenbach

Christopher Columbus ORC2

Robinson Crusoe ORC7Pacini

Alessandro nell'Indie ORC35

Carlo di Borgogna ORC21

Maria, regina d'Inghilterra ORC15Paer

Sofonisba* ORR237 Ricci

La prigione di Edimburgo* ORR228 Rossini

Ricciardo e Zoraide ORC14Thomas

La Cour de Célimène ORC37

The recordings indicated by one asterisk (*) are excerpts.

The recordings indicated by two asterisks (**) are technically not world premiere recordings, since they had been performed earlier by Opera Rara, and these earlier performances were issued by pirates. However, they are included in this list since the world premiere recording is still an Opera Rara performance.

Opera Rara is sponsored by the Peter Moores Foundation.

See also

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