The second LP I owned (this was back in 1959) was the 1953 Glyndebourne La Cenerentola in an Italian pressing from Cetra. It was three thick vinyl records, a two page leaflet in badly translated English and the old Riccordi pocket Italian libretto that they still sell today. It has since been replaced in my collection by the CD reissue and at least two other versions of Rossini’s Cinderella opera. My taste in music has grown since then to include pretty much everything from Monteverdi to Berg but Rossini still remains one of my favorite composers. And next week I’ll be going into Rossini overload: two of his more serious works Guillaume Tell and Mosè in Egitto are on the boards here and, of course, we have tickets for both.
Saturday coming the Accademia Santa Ceceila is presenting a concert version of Tell, his final stage work written for the Paris Opéra in 1829. This will be the first time that it has been performed in French in Rome. Antonio Pappano is scheduled to conduct which is pretty damned exciting and I can only hope that he’s recovered from his recent problem– apparently baton waving can result in workplace injuries. It’s going to be a long evening as this is French Grand Opéra at its grandest – the performance starts at 1700 so I think I’ll pack us a picnic lunch and a decent bottle of something red and wet.
I’m familiar with Michele Pertusi who will be singing the Tell and Pharaoh in the Mosè, but the rest of the singers are, to me at least, only names. I’ve heard some good things about American tenor John Osborn who’ll be singing the killer part of Arnold. Its a role associated with some of the great tenors of the past so there will be a few ghosts hanging around this Saturday including the remarkable French tenor Georges Thill. Here he is singing Arnold’s big aria Asile héréditaire.
And next week the Teatro dell’Opera starts a series of the Mosè – the Italian version from 1819 – plagues, parting of the Red Sea and a love story to boot. Its not often produced outside Italy so this is an opportunity to see another relatively rare work. In 1829 Rossini rewrote it extensively for Paris under the name Moise et Pharaon. Though he cut some of the numbers that had been big in Naples he wisely kept the most famous number the Preghiera or prayer of the Hebrews as they stand on the banks of the Red Sea. Here it is in the French version from La Scala back in 2003. Muti takes it a little slow (sorry Opera Chic) for my taste but its still an beautiful piece of music.
For the 2008 season everybody seems to be doing Barber of Seville but there’s always the Rossini Festival in Pesaro next August for my Rossini fix.
21 novembre – Presentazione di B. V.