La Cambiale di Matrimonio was Rossini's first opera to be performed... an earlier effort that had been written in piecemeal fashion during his student days had to wait a couple of more years to reach the stage. The piece is a one act farsa and immediately proves that the fledgling 18 year old composer had a gift for the stage, and especially where comedy is concerned. In this ebullient yet elegant score one can hear a Mozartean classicism combined with a more modern and almost proto-romantic idiom. The orchestration is transparent and the vocal writing is always comfortably and aptly written... a harbinger of the orchestral and vocal glories that were to be the hallmark of the composer's style as it was soon to develop.
The buoyant live performance at hand is more than adequate and makes a fine impression. There were no major stars in the première of the piece and that probably will pan out for the cast members of this recording as well. Still, all acquit themselves admirably even though a few minor and mostly unnoticeable liberties are taken. The most noteworthy number in the score is Fanny's recitative and aria "Come tacer... Vorrei spiegarvi giubilo" and it receives a quite spirited performance. No, it won't erase memories of Joan Sutherland's legendary and spectacular rendition of the piece, but I would bet that the performance at hand is actually closer to what that original audience experienced back in 1810!
In summary, this is a well-recorded and respectable performance of a delightful early gem from the Rossini canon. It is as fine as or finer than any of the recent competition and especially so given its budget price. Of course there is the (currently unavailable) classic and slightly cut recording featuring some greats of the recent past... Renata Scotto, Nicola Monti, and Rolando Panerai under Renato Fasano with I Virtuosi di Roma. The singers on this set don't project with the unique, individual, and inimitable sounds of those artists... and each of those artists indeed had the sunshine of Italy ingrained in their voices. However, the artists on this recording are not only capable of providing much pleasure, but they approach the score in a more appropriate manner regarding embellishments and stylistic niceties as befits the newer generation of Rossini singing.