Lisette Oropesa spoke with Rossini America prior to her ROF debut

Those who have seen Lisette Oropesa perform or have read the many laudatory reviews she has garnered, know she is one of the brightest stars of the opera world. It is very exciting to have her performing at the Rossini Opera Festival this August.

At her Royal Opera House debut, Lisette’s performance of Lucia had the Guardian exclaiming, “[T]he Cuban American soprano is sensationally good. She makes the stratospheric vocal fireworks of her mad scene – accompanied by flute this time, not glass harmonica – sound easy; indeed, her every note is part of a convincing portrayal of a complex character.” Her Violetta at Opera Philadelphia had Philadelphia Magazine saying, “The name on everybody’s lips is gonna be Lisette Oropesa … or, at least, she’s the name on everybody’s lips who sat through Friday night’s opening performance of Opera Philadelphia’s La Traviata.” And then the review gets even more glowing. Read More

Springtime in Washington DC

Rossini comes to Washington DC with an answer to the doctor vacancy, thoughts about a Constitutional Amendment, and of course, the topic of MONEY.

These are all current issues in the capital city of the United States and Rossini might have found it ironic ( or not) that his Il barbiere di Siviglia touches on these issues, each in their own way.

1. A doctor comes to town. Doctor Bartolo is often relegated to the ranks of a secondary character ( after Figaro, Rosina, and Almaviva) but this role affords ample opportunity to present complexity. It will surely happen in this production!

2. How many Americans know the 3rd Amendment to the US Constitution? Very few, most likely. And when they discover that it is ”No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.” the reaction is most likely “what?” This issue was a big deal in the world at the time it was written ( 1789) so it is not a surprise that it figures in the plot of Barbiere,

3. And then there is money! “The secret protagonist of the opera: they all talk about it, they are all looking for it.” In the words of Alberto Zedda.

Il barbiere di Siviglia plays at Washington National Opera through May 19th.

The Intimate Rossini

The intimate Rossini,

The canard that Rossini quit composing after he wrote William Tell should be put to rest, yet again. Indeed, he no longer wrote for the stage, but the output of his “golden age” contains treasures that deserve to be better known.

In fact, Rossini wrote a good deal of non-operatic music, some actually pre-date Tell. Although the pieces on this Naxos recording do not have the scope and grandeur of his operas, listening to them is like savoring an excellent limoncello after a 29 course meal. Rossini’s dynamic rhythms, easily accessible (and sometimes unforgettable) melodies, and most of all his sophisticated wit are present in many of these offerings. We simply need to listen. Read More

Philip Gossett memorial

We are pleased to present this account of the Memorial Service for Professor Philip Gossett held in Chicago this past February. Special thanks to Beth Parker for sharing this with the American Rossini Society and RossiniAmerica.

NB To read the whole tribute be sure to click on the arrow at the bottom of each page!

PGossettMemorialService

 

 

 

Teatro Nuovo: A promising new home for Bel Canto in America

When it was announced that Will Crutchfield was launching Teatro Nuovo as a place for all things Bel Canto in the US, people who were familiar with his work at Caramoor were delighted. Some who have not been to Caramoor are familiar with his work in, among other places, the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro, as well as his many contributions as a music critic for the New York Times.
We were delighted that Maestro Crutchfield agreed to take the time to answer a few questions.

Pictured below is Crutchfield seated between Philip Gossett and Andrew Porter. For more about Teatro Nuovo please be sure to visit the website: teatronuovo.org. Read More

Zedda memorial concert review

We are fortunate that Charles Jernigan who was at the concert agreed to write this short account of a moving tribute held in Antwerp in January.

The picture below is of the curtain call; The flowers with the letters were provided by one of Alberto’s greatest fans, Peter Vandamme. Alberto’s family was in the audience and surely must have felt the love and appreciation of all.

The Rossini Gala, sponsored by Opera Vlaanderen (Flemish Opera) was in honor of the great Rossini conductor, musicologist, teacher and festival director Alberto Zedda, who died last March at age 89. Had he lived, the plan had been for him to conduct this Jan. 6 concert himself; it would have been his birthday present to himself and to his admirers (his 90th birthday would have been on Jan. 2), with many stars associated with him and the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro, all singing extensive arias and scenes from Il barbiere di Siviglia, Tancredi, Il viaggio a Reims, Guillaume Tell and ending with the “Agnus dei” from the Petite Messe Solennelle. Read More

Sam Ramey and Assur

Assur remembers!

Most who heard him will agree that Sam Ramey made Assur “his own”. We asked him to share some memories of his journey with Assur. Pay special attention to the ending if you expect to take on the role and follow in his foot-steps ( check the heels on your boots) as you go on stage.

Many thanks to Sam for taking the time to do this! Viva Assur ( even though he’s a bad guy)

Q. Your historic performances of “Semiramide” at the Met were not your first outing with this role. Many remember your Carnegie Hall performance with Horne and Anderson. Apparently those were based on the not-yet-complete edition which had its debut at the Met. Were there major changes in your role as a result of this?

A. My first performances of “Semiramide” was the very famous (in Europe anyway) Pier Luigi Pizzi production which was first done at the Aix-en-Provence Festival in 1980 and remounted by the Paris Opera at the Theatre des Champs-Elysee a year later.  My role in this production was not complete—mainly because there were no orchestra parts for the missing sections of music. Read More

Teatro Nuovo brings rare Rossini to Purchase, NY

The new bel canto festival at Purchase College, New York, will run from July 28th through August 5. Tickets are already on sale. Yes, you can go to Wildbad, Purchase, AND Pesaro! Read more here.

https://www.teatronuovo.org

Memories from the 1990 Met Semiramide cast: Chris Merritt

Q. Your appearance as Idreno at the Met was not the first time you had sung this role, from what we understand. Apparently you did it in Hamburg in 1985. Was that a concert version, or was it staged?

-Yes, the first time I sang Idreno was indeed at the Staatsoper Hamburg. It was also my debut at the Staatsoper. I was second-cast to Francisco Araiza. The other cast members were Monserrat Caballe, Marilyn Horne and Samuel Ramey in concert performances conducted by Henry Lewis. The next time I sang Idreno was, again, in concert performances of SEMIRAMIDE at the Royal Opera Covent Garden in London…the year was 1986 . My cast mates were June Anderson (I believe it was her Covent Garden debut), Marilyn Horne and Samuel Ramey. Again, conductor was Henry Lewis. Read More

Cuts – “A reprehensible decision”

It always amazes lovers of Rossini’s operas that his works are often deemed too long. There are operas by Mozart and Wagner that are equally long. Often people are under the mistaken impression that due to the structure of Rossini’s operas it really doesn’t matter if they are “cut” here and there.

One of the greatest Rossini advocates of our time ( who was also a scholar and teacher) had this to say about “Semiramide”: Read More