Rai Cultura will televise, on Rai5 on Thursday 14th August at 9.15 p.m., Rossini’s Armida staged by Luca Ronconi for the Rossini Opera Festival of Pesaro, one of the main cultural events in Italy this summer. The leading singers are Carmen Romeu in the title rôle, Antonino Siragusa as Rinaldo, Carlo Lepore in the double rôle of Idraote and Astarotte, Dmitry Korchak as both Gernando and Carlo, Randall Bills as Goffredo and Ubaldo, and Vassilis Kavayas as Eustazio. The chorus and orchestra of the Teatro Comunale, Bologna, are conducted by Carlo Rizzi.
“I am coming back to Rossini’s Armida after 21 years, and once more at the Rossini Opera Festival of Pesaro” – says Luca Ronconi – “The story of the opera is well known and is drawn, to tell the truth in a very vague way, from certain passages in the Gerusalemme liberata. One of the main problems in the score concerns the dances in the second act, rather long drawn out, which are also based on Torquato Tasso’s epic poem. I have tried to insert them into the plot by imagining, slightly ironically, two characters from the Gerusalemme liberata watching dances interpreted by other characters in the same poem.”
“Where the leading lady, Armida, is concerned” - Ronconi continues – “a cynical and calculating enchantress who turns into a woman passionately in love, she is an unusual figure to find in Rossini, who prefers the abstract to the pathetic. The production does not aim at theatrical splendour: the scenic layout is rather simple, and leaves room for the music and the singers’ virtuosity. The story is told with a certain detachment, typically “Rossinian” if you like: this is a deliberate choice, to avoid verismo and anything approaching contemporary settings.”
Ronconi has been assisted by Margherita Palli for the scenery, Giovanna Buzzi for the costumes, while Michele Abbondanza has choreographed the dances and the lighting is by A.J. Weissbard.