The return of Il viaggio a Reims with a young cast

12 August 2012

Tuesday 14th August will mark the return, at 11.00 a.m. at the Teatro Rossini (with a repeat at the same time on Friday 17th), of Il viaggio a Reims, the scenic cantata which has now become a symbol of the Rossini Opera Festival.  First performed at the Théâtre-Italien, Paris, on the 19th June 1825, to celebrate the coronation of Charles X, which took place at Reims, the opera was immediately hailed by the critics as one of Rossini’s happiest creations.  Its subsequent mysterious disappearance made it famous: it was thought that Rossini had destroyed the score because he was not satisfied with its performance, but fate decided that it should be accidentally re-discovered in Rome, in the Santa Cecilia library.  The Rossini Opera Festival staged it with enormous success in 1984 as a world première in the critical edition of the Fondazione Rossini, edited by Janet Johnson and published by Ricordi.  This memorable revival, produced by Luca Ronconi and conducted by Claudio Abbado, now takes its place in the history of opera in the twentieth century; from that moment the Viaggio has entered the permanent repertory of theatres all over the world, becoming one of the most frequently performed of Rossini’s operas.

Beginning in 2001 the ROF, as part of our Youth 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, which has also been seen at the Teatro Real, Madrid, and at the Florence May Festival.  Appearing for the first time in Pesaro, Piero Lombardi will conduct the Orchestra Sinfonica G. Rossini.  The casts will consist of Ilona Mataradze and Mariangela Sicilia (Corinna), Raffaela Lupinacci and Lilli Jørstad (Marchesa Melibea), Hulkar Sabirova (Contessa di Folleville), Anna Pegova (Madama Cortese), Davide Giusti and Randall Bills (Cavalier Belfiore), Alessandro Luciano and Miloš Bulaji? (Conte di Libenskof), Baurzhan Anderzhanov (Lord Sidney), Davide Luciano (Don Profondo), Filippo Fontana (Barone di Trombonok), Dario Shikhmiri and Lorenzo Nincheri (Don Alvaro), Mattìa Olivieri (Don Prudenzio), Lorenzo Nincheri and Dario Shikhmiri (Don Luigino/Gelsomino), Alize Rozsnyai (Delia), Silviya Angelova (Maddalena), Lilly Jørstad and Raffaella Lupinacci (Modestina), Fumiyuki Kato (Antonio/Zefirino).

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 impossibile: in all Plombières there are no longer any horses to be hired or even bought, given the great numbers of people who are getting ready to go to the ceremony.  So the hotel guests decide to return to Paris, where great festivities in honour of the new King are being prepared.