I must admit that I am a bit more positive than the earlier reviewer of Rossi's CLEPOPATRA. In fact, when I saw the announcement that it would be released, I was excited. Perhaps that was based on having a fine, very well sung, copy of his earlier opera, IL DOMINO NERO, which was written more in the style of late Donizetti (it was issued by Bongiovanni). I was curious to see how, if at all, this late bel canto composer had evolved. The answer, revealed in CLEOPATRA, is: quite a lot.
CLEOPATRA may not be an opera of the first rank, certainly it's no AIDA; but...but...it stands alone well enough, offers fascinating comparisons to how the OTHER Italians were doing during the Verdi decades. Indeed, CDs of Marchetti's RUY BLAS and ROMEO E GIULIETTA, of several Gomes works (e.g., SALVATOR ROSA and I GUARANI), and operas by the Ricci brothers, Errico Petrella, early Ponchielli, and even late Pacini and Mercadante, offer broad hints and ideas. It's all grand for the dedicated opera fan..and operatic sleuth.
As for CLEOPATRA, the production is modern and a bit Spartan, but without the "Eurotrash" veneer that seems to affect so many modern European productions these days. The singing is competent throughout, with our heroine Dimitra Theodossiou doing well, if with a bit of acid in the voice. Nevetheless, she captures the expressiveness and spirit of Cleopatra nicely.
CLEOPATRA, as the earlier reviewer states, contains no show-stopping "Celeste Aida," no Grand March, no "Tomb Scene" to grab you by the throat, so to speak. No, it's not AIDA...but it does have its share of joys and pleasures.
Now, as we are searching the 19th century Italian archives, will someone please stage (and record) a modern presentation of Franco Faccio's AMLETO? In recent months I've heard several excerpts from it (one on Melba Records)and seen a delightful You Tube view of Ophelia's funeral march, apparently used during Lent in Corfu! It's all wonderful, and frankly, the opera NEEDS A RECORDING!