On the occasion of our ROF15K exhibition, let us go over the history of the stage directors responsible for the scale models on show in the exhibition being held at the Museo Nazionale Rossini. The first is Graham Vick, the recently deceased English director to whom the ROF 2021 edition was dedicated.
Graham Vick took a particularly significant place in the history of the Rossini Opera Festival. Between 1994 and 2019 he staged five operas for the Festival, the scale models of the scenery for which, carefully assembled by his set designers, are on show in the ROF15K exhibition and at the Museo Nazionale Rossini, Pesaro.
L’inganno felice of 1994 marked Graham Vick’s debut at the ROF. The conductor was Carlo Rizzi, while the scenery and costumes were by Richard Hudson. The production was revived in 2015 with Denis Vlasenko conducting the Orchestra G. Rossini, and then went on tour to the Royal Opera House, Muscat.
In 1997 Vick staged Moïse et Pharaon conducted by Wladimir Jurowski and with scenery by Stefanos Lazaridis. This monumental production, planned for the spaces of the ex-Palasport, won the English director the Abbiati Prize for the best stage direction.
In 2011 Vick returned to Pesaro for Mosè in Egitto in a new production that won the Abbiati Prize for the best stage direction. Vick’s production, with scenery and costumes by Stuart Nunn, reviewed the biblical story in a broader reading, denouncing any form of political totalitarianism. Roberto Abbado conducted.
For the ROF 2013, Vick was responsible for directing Rossini’s last opera, Guillaume Tell. In this case too, the director’s vision was not limited to historical events, but presented the rebellion of the Swiss peasantry against the Austrian government in a timeless ambience, analysing the clash between oppressor and oppressed. Michele Mariotti conducted an exceptional cast including Juan Diego Flórez, Marina Rebeka, Celso Albelo, Amanda Forsythe and Nicola Alaimo. The scenery and costumes were by Paul Brown.
The year 2019 marked Vick’s last production for the Rossini Opera Festival: Semiramide. Thanks to the introduction of symbolic elements within the story of the opera, the characters acquire depth springing from previously unrecognized psychological facets. In this bourgeois re-reading, Semiramide is performed focusing on the character of Arsace, a travesty rôle whose sexual ambiguity is stressed, sung on this occasion by Varduhi Abrahamyan. Michele Mariotti again conducted, while Stuart Nunn again collaborated with Vick on scenery and costumes.