The XXXIII edition of the Rossini Opera Festival will be launched on Friday the 10th August. The repertoire includes two new productions, Ciro in Babilonia and Il signor Bruschino, besides the revival of Matilde di Shabran, which earned a rousing triumph at the Teatro Rossini in 2004. To these main operatic productions will be added: La bottega fantastica, an homage to Rossini inaugurating the Festival at 11 o’clock on Friday morning, the 10th August, at the Auditorium Pedrotti; Il viaggio a Reims, sung by the promising young pupils of the Accademia Rossiniana; two bel canto concerts, featuring Sonia Prina and Jessica Pratt; Mariella Devia in a recital entitled Voce che tenera, accompanied by the Orchestra Rossini; the fourth session in our performance of the complete Péchés de vieillesse, in collaboration with the Enti Concerti di Pesaro, the Accademia Musicale Napoletana and the Fondazione Rossini; a new episode of Rossinimania, with Izhar Elias, who will perform guitar transcriptions of Semiramide, and Stefano Bollani, who will perform a witty invasion of the Rossinian firmament; a concert performance of Tancredi, which will be the closing event and will be projected onto a screen in Piazza del Popolo; the traditional talks – Incontri – by musicologists from the Fondazione Rossini.
Ciro in Babilonia (performances on the 10th, 13th, 16th, 19th and 22nd August at 8.00 p.m. at the Teatro Rossini) is being performed at the Festival for the first time, in a co-production with the Caramoor International Music Festival and the Museo Nazionale del Cinema, Turin. For Ciro, one of the last musicological operations conducted in collaboration with the Fondazione Rossini to complete the restitution to the theatre of the whole extraordinary catalogue of Rossini’s operas, Davide Livermore has set the action in scenery typical of the birth of the cinema, happily coinciding with the success of films like The Artist or Hugo Cabret, set in that same period. Use will be made of sections of films of that period (among them the whole Babilonian sequence from David. W. Griffith’s famous Intolerance), the projection of which forming a background to the intricate biblical story, which will take on aspects of the historical colossal.
The American Will Crutchfield, besides his experience as an authentically Rossinian conductor, is famous for his profound musicological studies which will help him to bring back to life this difficult and practically unknown score. Crutchfield can count on an extraordinary protagonist, Ewa Podles, whose very rare vocal classification as an authentic Rossini contralto is complemented by a magnificent personality, enlivened by an overwhelming temperament. She will be surrounded by first-class colleagues (Pratt, Spyres, McPherson, Palazzi, Romeu, Costantini); the costumes are by Gianluca Falaschi, the settings and lighting by Nicolas Bovey.
Matilde di Shabran (performances on 11th, 14th, 17th and 20th August at 8.00 p.m. at the Adriatic Arena) is the revival of a production that, in 2004, amazed everyone by the splendid performance of Juan Diego Flórez, doing his magnificent best in a rôle of unequalled difficulty, the very rôle that had launched him on his spectacular career, at Pesaro, in 1996. After his successful performances of Sigismondo in 2010, Michele Mariotti once more tackles the job of transforming a problematic opera, considered by many a ‘minor’ work, into an incontrovertibile success. He will be assisted by a group of highly qualified artists (Peretyatko, Flórez, Alaimo, Goryachova, Bordogna, Orfila, Chialli, and also Romano, Misseri, Rosati and Visani). The production is by Mario Martone (Abbiati Prize, 2005) with Sergio Tramonti (scenery) and Ursula Patzak (costumes).
The staging of Il Signor Bruschino (performances on the 12th, 15th, 18th and 21st August at 8.00 p.m. at the Teatro Rossini), a one-act comic opera belonging to the least imposing category of opera, has aroused the interest of the Teatro Sottereaneo company, one of the most rigorous and representative of Italian theatre groups, who will undertake the production with the collaboration of the Accademia di Belle Arti of Urbino for the costumes and scenery. Another young artist on his way up, Daniele Rustioni, will conduct this new production with a company partly made up of recent acquisitions to the Rossini repertory (Aleida, Alegret, Amarù, Bonsignore, Brito) flanked by distinguished veterans (De Candia, Lepore).
The Orchestra and Chorus of the Teatro Comunale, Bologna will play for Matilde di Shabran, Ciro in Babiloniaand Tancredi; the Orchestra Sinfonica G. Rossini will bring all their youthful exuberance to Il Signor Bruschino, Il viaggio a Reims and Mariella Devia’s concert, conducted by Antonino Fogliani; the Orchestra Filarmonia Marchigiana, making their first appearance at the Festival, will have the honour of inaugurating the proceedings of the XXXIII Festival with La bottega fantastica.