Formula and Method

These institutional developments form the background to more than thirty years of practising the formula "musicology applied to theatrical performance": in effect this is the story of a real-life musical pilgrimage in search of Rossini's lost masterpieces, which we have undertaken together with our enthusiastic audiences.


In fact, the Festival has become noted for its own very special atmosphere, which, besides acting as an incentive to work on the stage and behind the scenes, ends up by involving the operagoers themselves in the sense of solidarity binding together performing artists, musicologists, skilled workers, organisers and technicians, each of whom feels himself to be an important link in a rare and unique cultural adventure.


This climate has favoured the emergence of a method of work based on the parallel activities of musicians, musicologists and theatre technicians: problems of staging are dealt with together with problems arising from the score, whilst the musical experts deal with the solving of musicological problems whilst they take an active part in rehearsals. In all this the contribution of the Accademia Rossiniana has been of fundamental importance; this is a permanent seminar of studies on problems of interpretation designed to help theatrical professionals.


Year by year it has become increasingly clear that as the long-forgotten scores are revived one by one, problems in their musical performance and in their staging for modern audiences become increasingly numerous and complex. For this reason the strategy of the Festival is to accompany the re-discovery of Rossini's little-known operas - and, since 1990, the exploration of all his chamber and salon works - with the systematic study of the problems involved with presenting a contemporary audience, for the first time, with theatrical works based upon expressive formulas that are so out of date and apparently out of touch. All this has allowed us gradually to overcome false impressions stemming from conceptions of a supposed Rossinian orthodoxy, dry and dusty, and to create, instead, a meeting place for discussion and research, for ideas and projects.


Apart from the classic masterpieces of the Rossinian canon (such as L'Italiana in Algeri, Semiramide, Tancredi, Guillaume Tell, La Cenerentola and others), which have here been restored to their authentic form by musicologists of the Fondazione Rossini, the Festival can also boast a long list of unknown titles, revived in important productions, which critics and audiences alike have greeted in each case as authentic cultural events.


Amongst these we might quote Il viaggio a Reims, Maometto II, La donna del lago, Mosè in Egitto, Edipo a Colono, Ermione, Bianca e Falliero, Armida, Ricciardo e Zoraide, Adina, Zelmira, Matilde di Shabran, Sigismondo, Demetrio e Polibio forgotten scores that have gone out from Pesaro to theatres all over the world. The crowning point of this systematic revival of Rossini's "buried" works was the recovery of Il viaggio a Reims, the mythical score that disappeared after its first performances in 1825, and of which not even manuscript copies seemed to have survived. Its accidental re-discovery and its revival in Pesaro in 1984 under Claudio Abbado constitute one of the most important musical events of this century. The fact that Rossini's operas are ever increasingly present in the repertoire of theatres the world over is the best testimony to the decisive contribution made by the Pesaro festival to the Rossini-renaissance.