Among the bel canto and verismo operatic repertoire Richard Bonynge recorded for Decca, he also found time to unearth much hitherto forgotten ballet scores, as well as forgotten music from the Baroque and Classical eras. Music by J.C. Bach and Salieri were recorded, rare Baroque overtures were explored and he also recorded three largely forgotten Baroque operas – Graun’s Montezuma and Bononcini’s Griselda (both in highlight form) and Shield’s Rosina (complete). All three recordings emanated from the 1960s and many included Australians in the casts, among them Lauris Elms, Joan Sutherland, Monica Sinclair, Margreta Elkins and Kenneth MacDonald.
Giovanni Bononcini was born in 1670, in Modena, into a family of musicians and composers. He was taught first by his father, and then by G.P. Colonna in Bologna. In 1719 the Royal Academy of Music was founded in London with the purpose of setting up a fund to support Italian opera; Handel was its chief composer and musical director, but Bononcini also contracted as one of the composers. Griselda was first performed in London on 22 February 1722 with a libretto by Paolo Antonio Rolli; the story was adapted from a version by Apostolo Zeno first heard in Venice 1701, set to Pollarolo’s music. The plot deals with court intrigue and true love across social barriers, of kings mingling with shepherdesses.
“Monica Sinclair rattles through three octaves with enough masculinity for the whole cast. In the title role Lauris Elms sings with charm, and makes much of her opportunities.” Gramophone
“with Lauris Elms moving in the title-role, this highlights version registers impressively.” BBC Music Magazine