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Aurelilano in Palmira

Aureliano in Palmira

Gioachino Rossini

3 disc set

CD £37.50

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PDF booklet included free (full album only)

- £16.99


MP3 file at maximum MP3 quality i.e. 320 kbps per second. Will play in nearly all media players in Windows and Apple.

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FLAC 16 bit

Open-source format, here at 16 bit i.e. lossless CD quality. Will play in VLC player (free to download from Can be converted to MP3.

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ALAC 16 bit

Apple format, here at 16 bit i.e. lossless CD quality; this is better than MP3 320 kbps. Will play in iTunes. Can be converted to MP3.

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FLAC 24 bit

Open-source format, here at 24 bit i.e. lossless studio master quality; this is better than a CD and is only available on this website. Will play in VLC player (free to download from Can be converted to MP3.

- £19.99

ALAC 24 bit

Apple format, here at 24 bit i.e. lossless studio master quality; this is better than a CD and is only available on this website. Will play in iTunes. Can be converted to MP3.

The dramma serio was written during Rossini’s miraculous 21st year (1813), when he produced in total an incredible four operas. The other three (the comedies, Il signor Bruschino and L’italiana... read more

Song title Time Format Price
playstop01 Aureliano in Palmira: Sinfonia06:45
playstop02 Aureliano in Palmira: ‘Sposa del grande Osiride’04:53
playstop03 Aureliano in Palmira: ‘Ahi! L’ara si scuote’02:04
playstop04 Aureliano in Palmira: ‘Corragio o figli’00:34
playstop05 Aureliano in Palmira: ‘Se tu m’ami, o mia Regina’05:22
playstop06 Aureliano in Palmira: ‘Senti... ahime!’03:00
playstop07 Aureliano in Palmira: ‘Secondino gli Dei’03:44
playstop08 Aureliano in Palmira: ‘Stava, dirà la terra’01:13
playstop09 Aureliano in Palmira: Marcia01:06
playstop10 Aureliano in Palmira: ‘Vivi eterno, o grande Augusto’00:48
playstop11 Aureliano in Palmira: ‘Romani, a voi soltanto debbo i trionfi miei’02:23
playstop12 Aureliano in Palmira: ‘Cara patria! il mondo trema’02:57
playstop13 Aureliano in Palmira: ‘Sì, la terra, in pace e in guerra’02:08
playstop14 Aureliano in Palmira: ‘Olà: venga e si ascolti il prence prigionier’02:08
playstop15 Aureliano in Palmira: ‘Pensa che festi a Roma’03:51
playstop16 Aureliano in Palmira: ‘Torna, o Prence, al sen di Roma’02:41
playstop17 Aureliano in Palmira: ‘Te saprò’02:33
playstop18 Aureliano in Palmira: ‘Giorno di gloria è questo’02:17
playstop19 Aureliano in Palmira: ‘Venga Zenobia, o Cesare’01:35
playstop20 Aureliano in Palmira: ‘Cesare, a te mi guida gratitudine e amor’02:06
playstop21 Aureliano in Palmira: ‘Cedi, cedi: a lui t’arrendi’01:16
playstop22 Aureliano in Palmira: ‘Ah! no: voi lo sperate invano’01:25
playstop23 Aureliano in Palmira: ‘Là pugnai; la sorte arrise’07:25
playstop24 Aureliano in Palmira: ‘Chi mai creduto avria’02:14
playstop25 Aureliano in Palmira: ‘Eccomi, ingiusti Numi, oppresso e prigionier!’03:43
playstop26 Aureliano in Palmira: ‘Chi sa dirmi, o mia speranza’03:27
playstop27 Aureliano in Palmira: ‘Arsace... Arsace mio’02:00
playstop28 Aureliano in Palmira: ‘Va’: m’abbandona, e serba i tuoi bei giorni, o cara’03:38
playstop29 Aureliano in Palmira: ‘Che barbara stella mirò la mia cuna!’02:22
playstop30 Aureliano in Palmira: ‘Eseguite. Arsace, ascolta, sento ancor di te pietà’02:57
playstop31 Aureliano in Palmira: ‘Serena i bei rai, morire mi fai.’04:34
playstop32 Aureliano in Palmira: ‘Vieni all’armi: i tuoi guerrieri’02:31
playstop33 Aureliano in Palmira: ‘Del Cielo, ahi! miseri!’02:49
playstop34 Aureliano in Palmira: ‘Tutto è perduto. Per Augusto e Roma’00:36
playstop35 Aureliano in Palmira: ‘Se udir volessi, ingrata’06:12
playstop36 Aureliano in Palmira: ‘Se libertà t’è cara, se brami regno e pace’03:21
playstop37 Aureliano in Palmira: ‘Corri, Augusto... Arsace è sciolto’03:21
playstop38 Aureliano in Palmira: ‘L’Asia in faville è volta’06:36
playstop39 Aureliano in Palmira: ‘Dolci silvestri orrori, amiche sponde!’07:11
playstop40 Aureliano in Palmira: ‘Perchè mai le luci aprimmo’03:56
playstop41 Aureliano in Palmira: ‘Qual lieto suono!’00:51
playstop42 Aureliano in Palmira: ‘Ah! son pastori...’00:36
playstop43 Aureliano in Palmira: ‘Ah! non posso: al mio tesoro’01:25
playstop44 Aureliano in Palmira: ‘Vieni, o prence: è gia compita’03:26
playstop45 Aureliano in Palmira: ‘La sicurezza tua, perdona Augusto, esser potria fatale’00:37
playstop46 Aureliano in Palmira: ‘Corrasi... Io fremo. A me rapirti ei crede?’02:19
playstop47 Aureliano in Palmira: ‘Più non vedrà quel perfido’01:28
playstop48 Aureliano in Palmira: ‘Ma tu piangi! Ah! sì, lo vedo’01:57
playstop49 Aureliano in Palmira: ‘Arrestate... olà... vendetta...’00:26
playstop50 Aureliano in Palmira: ‘Vedesti? Oh, come irato parte Aureliano da noi’00:59
playstop51 Aureliano in Palmira: ‘Suono guerrier s’ascolta’00:37
playstop52 Aureliano in Palmira: ‘Fuggi, vien via con me’00:37
playstop53 Aureliano in Palmira: ‘Inutil ferro! ...che fai meco?’03:43
playstop54 Aureliano in Palmira: ‘Mille sospiri e lagrime’04:40
playstop55 Aureliano in Palmira: ‘Giunge Augusto...’02:15
playstop56 Aureliano in Palmira: ‘Vivi: saran nostr’anime’03:20
playstop57 Aureliano in Palmira: ‘Entro carcere distinto’04:35
playstop58 Aureliano in Palmira: ‘È deciso il destino di Zenobia’00:40
playstop59 Aureliano in Palmira: ‘Non mi lagno che il mio bene’02:46
playstop60 Aureliano in Palmira: ‘Scacciarmi è forza alfine questo malnato amor’01:40
playstop61 Aureliano in Palmira: ‘Nel tuo core unita sia’00:50
playstop62 Aureliano in Palmira: ‘I prigionieri a me’01:04
playstop63 Aureliano in Palmira: ‘Copra un eterno oblio’02:51

The dramma serio was written during Rossini’s miraculous 21st year (1813), when he produced in total an incredible four operas. The other three (the comedies, Il signor Bruschino and L’italiana in Algeri plus the tragedy Tancredi) indicate not only the fertility of his inventive powers but also the staggering quality of his youthful composition. Rossini fans will recognise the overture to Aureliano, recycled in three other scores, most notably Il barbiere di Siviglia!

The opera is set in 272 AD in the ancient city of Palmyra (modern Syria), where the queen, Zenobia (Catriona Smith), and her lover, the Persian general, Arsace (Silvia Tro Santafé), are defeated in battle by the Roman Emperor Aureliano (Kenneth Tarver). Aureliano agrees to free Arsace if Zenobia will give herself to him but she refuses, Eventually, he is won over by the lovers’ devotion, freeing them when they pledge loyalty to Rome. On the way to this happy ending, there is plenty of extreme emotion to fire-up some of Rossini’s most exciting vocal writing.

This studio recording, on 3 CDs, comes with Opera Rara’s usual lavishly illustrated book, including a complete libretto with an English translation by Jeremy Commons and an article and synopsis by Richard Osborne.

A great success in its day, Aureliano promises to thrill another generation of listeners in this new studio recording under Maurizio Benini!

Booklet includes libretto in Italian with English translation. 

'The star turn came from Silvia Tro Santfe as Arsace, technically impeccable and generous of tone. Aureliano, however, gets the best music: Kenneth Tarver captured his mix of dignity, waspishness and deprecating self-awareness to perfection' - Tim Ashley, The Guardian

Kenneth Tarver (Aureliano), Catriona Smith (Zenobia), Silvia Tro Santafe (Arsace), Ezgi Kutlu (Publia), Julian Alexander Smith (Oraspe), Vuyani Mlinde (Licino), Andrew Foster-Williams (The High Priest), Geoffrey Mitchell Choir, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Maurizio Benini - conductor

The scene is set in the Syrian city of Palmyra in the year 273 AD.

The Roman Emperor Aurelian has seized Antioch but freed a number of hostages, including the Persian Prince Arsace, loyal to the Romans in the past, Publia, daughter of the Emperor Valeriano, and, Zenobia, Queen of Palmyra, whose expansionist sallies into surrounding territories have long angered the Roman leadership.


Scenes 1-4. Palmyra. The great temple of Isis.

Priests offer sacrifices to the gods Isis and Osiris. A shudder of the altar is taken by the High Priest to be a premonition of disaster. Zenobia and Arsace reassure the people. Arsace expresses his love for Zenobia and vows to defend her throne against the Romans; Zenobia says she will sacrifice both throne and empire to be with him. Military music is heard. The Palmyrene General Oraspe announces that the Romans have reached the banks of the Euphrates. Arsace leaves to confront the invaders. The High Priest praises his courage but reflects that no hero, however great, can prevail if Fate is against him.

Scenes 5-7. Palmyra.

Roman soldiers hail their victorious emperor. Aurelian praises his men but insists that, though the world trembles before Roman might, it honours conquerors who bring peace and liberty in their wake. A defiant Arsace is brought before Aurelian who expresses pity for the young warrior. He remarks that Zenobia’s love has turned Arsace into an enemy of Rome.

Scenes 8-11. The interior of a magnificent pavilion.

A message arrives stating that Zenobia seeks a meeting with the Emperor. Publia is concerned by Arsace’s imprisonment. Entering in state, Zenobia makes a plea for Arsace’s release. Aurelian refuses saying that he will not free Arsace because he betrayed Rome. He appears to be smitten by Zenobia. The queen offers him gifts but Aurelian says that he will not betray his people. The prisoners plead with her but she scorns their approach, demanding instead a meeting with Arsace. Aurelian grants her request but warns that she risks total ruin. Outraged, she recalls the day when fate smiled on her country and her sword. Left alone with Publia, Aurelian concedes that Zenobia’s beauty and courage almost swayed him. Privately, Publia wonders at Aurelian’s infatuation and confesses her own love for Arsace.

Scenes 12-15. A castle prison cell.

Arsace laments his fate and separation from Zenobia. He is surprised by the sound of her voice; his only wish had been to see her once more before his death. He urges her not to risk her life; she counters that she could not live without him. Aurelian orders the removal of Arsace’s shackles but again demands that he forsake Zenobia. The lovers’ recalcitrance reignites his anger. As Zenobia and Arsace bid one other farewell, Aurelian vows to tame the pride of ‘this perfidious pair’.


Scenes 1-4. The queen’s subterranean treasury.

Palmyrene nobles are in a state of agitation. Zenobia announces that the city has fallen but again refuses to yield to Aurelian. She compares herself to Cleopatra and to Hasdrubal’s daughter Sophonisba who took poison rather than be led in triumph through the streets of Rome. Publicly Aurelian remains resolute; privately he is in thrall to Zenobia’s severity. News arrives that Arsace has been freed by Palmyrene soldiers. Zenobia is overjoyed but Aurelian warns that her joy will be short-lived.

Scenes 5-8. A pleasant hill by the River Euphrates.

Shepherds express gratitude for their pastoral refuge in a war-torn world. Arsace reflects that here is a place in which he would willingly dwell if Zenobia was with him. Oraspe bring news of Palmyra’s destruction. The shepherds ask Arsace to stay with them since courage cannot fight Fate. If he goes back to the battlefield he might die and lose any chance of happiness with Zenobia.

Scenes 9-12. A palace atrium.

Publia warns Aurelian that the people are rallying to Arsace’s cause. Aurelian confesses that his love for Zenobia is weakening his ability to resist but fresh news of the insurgency rekindles his spirits. ‘The traitor will not see the light of another dawn,’ he tells a terrified Zenobia. Once again he begs her to abandon Arsace, but Publia and Licinio urge him to hurry to battle, otherwise Arsace might win. As forces muster, Oraspe leads Zenobia to safety.

Scenes 13-14. A secluded spot near the palace. A moonlit night.

Arsace is in hiding, despairing of ever seeing Zenobia again. When Oraspe brings Zenobia to him, a tender reunion ensues. With troops approaching, the lovers contemplate suicide but Arsace is disarmed before he can draw his sword. Aurelian denounces Zenobia and Arsace, threatening them with life-imprisonment in separate cells. The lovers console themselves with the thought that their resistance will be an example to all Asia. Aurelian is again vexed by their resolve.

Scenes 15-17 The palace atrium.

Publia is distraught because Arsace does not love her and because his love for Zenobia is about to cost him his life. She determines to save him by giving him up to Zenobia’s love; as long as Arsace can survive she is prepared to suffer anything. Her plea to Aurelian is interrupted by news that the Palmyrenes are seeking mercy. He hears their plea and summons the prisoners. Reasoning that the merciful overlooking of wrongs is a form of revenge, Aurelian offers to release Zenobia and Arsace if they agree to swear eternal fealty to Rome. They accept his offer. Declaring themselves loyal Romans, they pray that the peace may return to Asia’s troubled lands.

© Richard Osborne, 2012

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