The return of Il viaggio a Reims with a young cast

11 August 2014

The return of Il viaggio a Reims with a young cast

Wednesday 13th August will mark the return, at 11.00 a.m. at the Teatro Rossini (with a repeat at the same time on Saturday 16th) of Il viaggio a Reims, the scenic cantata which has now become a symbol of the Rossini Opera Festival, and which we are celebrating this year by a video projection in Piazza del Popolo of the historic first modern performance thirty years ago in Pesaro. This memorable revival, produced by Luca Ronconi and conducted by the late Claudio Abbado, to whom the Rof 2014 is dedicated, has now taken a firm place in the history of twentieth-century opera; from that moment the Viaggio has entered the permanent repertory of opera houses all over the world, becoming one of the most frequently performed of Rossini’s operas.

First produced at the Théâtre-Italien, Paris, on the 19th June 1825 to celebrate the coronation of King Charles X,  which took place at Reims, the opera was immediately hailed by critics as one of Rossini’s happiest creations. Its subsequent mysterious disappearance settled its fate: it was thought that Rossini had destroyed the score because he was unsatisfied with its artistic merits, but fate decreed that it should be accidentally re-discovered in Rome, in the Santa Cecilia library.

Beginning in 2001 the Rof, as part of theYouth Festival, has offered performances of Il viaggio by the young singers who have been forming their style in the Accademia Rossiniana. This arduous task has prepared many of them for singing on the stages of important theatres, beginning with the Pesaro Festival, which this year is once more engaging several ex-pupils in its performances.

The production is the well-tried one by Emilio Sagi, rehearsed by Elisabetta Courir, with costumes by Pepa Ojanguren.  The Mexican conductor Iván López Reynoso will conduct the Filarmonica Rossini, a Pesaro ensemble appearing at the Festival for the first time.  The casts for the two performances will feature Hasmik Torosyan and Shahar Laví (Corinna), Aya Wakizono (Marchesa Melibea), Isabel Rodríguez García (Contessa di Folleville), Giulia De Blasis (Madama Cortese), Matteo Macchioni and Nico Darmanin (Cavalier Belfiore), Anton Rositskiy (Conte di Libenskof), Marko Mimica (Lord Sidney), Yunpeng Wang (Don Profondo), Anton Markov (Barone di Trombonok), Iurii Samoilov (Don Alvaro), Claudio Levantino (Don Prudenzio), Christian Collia (Don Luigino), Madison Marie McIntosh and Magdalena Gallo (Delia), Shahar Laví and Hasmik Torosyan (Maddalena), Yuka Maruo (Modestina), Riccardo Fioratti (Antonio), Nico Darmanin and Matteo Macchioni (Zefirino/Gelsomino).

The story, little more than a pretext for inspiring a series of effervescent musical numbers, takes place at Plombières.  In the spa hotel Il Giglio d’Oro [the Golden Lily] various aristocrats from all over Europe have gathered: they are all bound for Reims, where the new King of France, Charles X, will be crowned.  After various vicissitudes (amorous and otherwise) they learn that the long-awaited journey is impossible: in all Plombières there are no longer any horses to be hired or even bought, given the great number of people who are getting ready to go to the ceremony. So the hotel guests decide to return to Paris, where great festivities are being prepared in honour of the new King.