On Saturday 10th August the thirty-fourth edition of the Rossini Opera Festival will open its activities. The programme includes two new productions: L’Italiana in Algeri and, after an interval of 18 years, Guillaume Tell, together with a revival of L’Occasione fa il ladro, a historic production by Jean-Pierre Ponnelle that has become a classic among Rossini productions. Besides these three main opera productions, Il viaggio a Reims will be sung by talented young artists from the Accademia Rossiniana, an institution that has celebrated its 25thanniversary this year; there will be Concerti di Belcanto by Michael Spyres, Celso Albelo, Yijie Shi and, in a tribute to Verdi, Marina Rebeka; the latest episode in the Rossinimania series ‘Rossini aujourd’hui’, with the guitarist Eugenio Della Chiara; the fifth concert in the series featuring the complete performance of the Péchés de vieillesse, in collaboration with the Ente Concerti di Pesaro, the Accademia Musicale Napoletana and the Fondazione Rossini, with Bruno Canino as solo pianist; a concert performance of La donna del lago, which will bring the Festival to a close with the additional attraction of a live video-projection of the opera in Piazza del Popolo; the opera game for children Il viaggetto a Reims; the traditional Incontri [lecture-meetings] organized by the musicologists of the Fondazione Rossini.
L’Italiana in Algeri (on the 10, 13, 16, 19 and 22 August at 8.00 p.m. at the Teatro Rossini) returns to the Festival in a new production by Davide Livermore, assisted by his usual team of collaborators (Nicolas Bovey, scenery and lighting; Gianluca Falaschi, costumes) who worked with him on Ciro in Babilonia at the Rof in 2012 (a show that won the Abbiati prize for the best costumist of the year).
Anna Goryachova, as Isabella, will be wooed by the Bey Mustafà (Alex Esposito) and her beloved Lindoro (Yijie Shi). Mario Cassi will be the scorned Taddeo and Davide Luciano the Haly; Mariangela Sicilia will be Elvira, the Bey’s wife, and Raffaella Lupinacci will be her maid, Zulma; these last three were students who distinguished themselves at the Accademia Rossiniana in 2012. The Chorus and Orchestra of the Teatro Comunale, Bologna, will be conducted by José Ramón Encinar, making his Rof début. The chorus master is Andrea Faidutti.
The production is characterized by a frantic pace, full of gags and comic situations that restore the air of ‘folie organisée et complète’ [organized and total madness] that Stendhal mentioned at the time. The story is enlivened by all sorts of ideas, thanks also to the comic gifts of a cast made up of young people who are credible not only vocally but also visually. A nineteen-fifties/sixties atmosphere, highly coloured costumes in a triumph of pastel shades and psychedelic lighting perfectly match the hyper-realism of the musical score.
Guillaume Tell (on the 11, 14, 17 and 20 August at 6.00 p.m. at the Adriatic Arena) marks the return to Pesaro of Gioachino Rossini’s definitive opera; his last, and the one in which the great man from Pesaro delivered his spiritual and artistic testament to the world of opera. Graham Vick has been given the responsibility of staging Tell anew, assisted by Paul Brown for the scenery and costumes. The singers are Nicola Alaimo in the title role, then Juan Diego Flórez, Simon Orfila, Simone Alberghini, Amanda Forsythe, Luca Tittoto, Alessandro Luciano, Celso Albelo, Wojtek Gierlach, Marina Rebeka and Veronica Simeoni. The Chorus and Orchestra of the Teatro Comunale, Bologna, will be conducted by that theatre’s principal conductor, Michele Mariotti.
The third opera on the bill is L’Occasione fa il ladro, rehearsed by Sonja Frisell. The show will go on at the Teatro Rossini on the 12, 15, 18 and 21 August at 8.00 p.m. The very young Chinese lady Yi-chen Lin will conduct the Orchestra Sinfonica G. Rossini with a brilliant cast of Rossini specialists: Elena Tsallagova, Roberto De Candia, Paolo Bordogna, Giorgio Misseri, Enea Scala, Viktoria Yarovaya.