Curiosities and Trivia: Le Comte Ory

In 1824 the thirty-two-year-old Gioachino Rossini arrived in Paris after having been appointed Directeur de la musique et de la scène of the Théâtre Italien in Paris. For this theatre he wrote the first opera on the occasion of the coronation of Charles X, a cantata in scenic form Il viaggio a Reims, namely L’albergo del giglio d’oro, which was performed on 19 June 1825 for just three evenings. In the following years, he responded to pressing requests to write music for the city where he had now settled in by devoting himself to the remakes of Maometto II, which became Le Siège de Corinthe (1826) and Mosè in Egitto which became Moïse et Pharaon (1827).
The first opera conceived in French will arrive in 1828, when Eugène Scribe, a very fruitful French writer and librettist presented to Rossini the story of a lost libertine, Count Ory, from which he had drawn, together with his collaborator Delestre-Poirson, a vaudeville in one act Le Comte Ory – anedocte du XI siècle (1816).
Rossini liked the Boccaccio-like and ironic subjet, but modified the libretto with the help of Adolphe Nourrit (the first tenor who sang the part of Ory), to better adapt it to his needs, including the desire to reuse part of the music of Il viaggio a Reims. Scribe did not sign the libretto and on August 20 1828 the opera was staged at the Opéra de Paris with enormous success, preluding the triumph of Guillaume Tell the following year.
In total, for the French theatres, Rossini wrote or reworked five operas, four in French and one in Italian. At the Rossini Opera Festival they were all performed starting from the now iconic staging of Il viaggio a Reims which had never been heard since 1825. In 1984 the ROF called Claudio Abbado as the conductor and Luca Ronconi as the director. And in the same year Pier Luigi Pizzi staged Le Comte Ory with Donato Renzetti on the podium.
The third “French” opera by Rossini to arrive at the Festival was Guillaume Tell  also directed by Pier Luigi Pizzi with Gianluigi Gelmetti on the podium in 1995. Two years later the ROF staged Moïse et Pharaon, directed by Wladimir Jurowski with the historical staging by Graham Vick. in the year 2000 it is the turn of Le Siège de Corinthe, conducted by Maurizio Benini and directed by Massimo Castri.

Published in : 1 June 2022