The third opera on the programme of the XXXV Rossini Opera Festival is Aureliano in Palmira, which will be the world première of the critical edition of the opera. The full score (of which the Overture and other famous numbers would subsequently be incorporated into Il barbiere di Siviglia) has been edited and will also be conducted by Will Crutchfield, with the chorus of the Teatro Comunale, Bologna, and the Orchestra Sinfonica Rossini. Performances will be given at the Teatro Rossini on the 12, 15, 18 and 22 of August at 8.00 p.m.; the opera is produced by Mario Martone, one of the leading names in the opera world, who has already produced for the Rof Matilde di Shabran and Torvaldo e Dorliska. Tackling a serious opera of Rossini’s for the first time, and as before assisted by his faithful team (Sergio Tramonti, scenery, and Ursula Patzak, costumes), Martone has invented a production that is carefully detailed, scene by scene, rejecting any banal reference to contemporary events to give free rein to a story that, whilst firmly placed in its epoch, has a lot to say, almost prophetically, about the dramatic confrontation between East and West in the XXI century. Only in the final scene, details of which we will not reveal, does Martone allow himself a reference to contemporary matters that adds a new key of reading: but all this without in any way changing the nature of what is happening on stage.
The music written for the castrato Giovanni Battista Velluti (who was the Arsace of the first performance in 1813 at La Scala) is, in order to maintain the original tessitura, entrusted to the mezzo-soprano Lena Belkina; Jessica Pratt is Zenobia, Queen of Palmira, who defends her people from the overbearing power of the Roman legions led by the Emperor Aurelian (Michael Spyres). The cast is completed by Raffaella Lupinacci, Dempsey Rivera, Sergio Vitale, Dimitri Pkhaladze and Raffaele Costantini.