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.

Even though there were some cancellations and replacements among the nine announced singers, we still had Nicola Alaimo, Teresa Iervolino, Salome Jicia, Carlo Lepore, Maxim Mironov, Cecilia Molinari, Michele Pertusi, Carmen Romeu and Enea Scala. All had close ties to Maestro Zedda and all are stalwarts at the Rossini Festival. The concert included the orchestra and chorus of Opera Vlaanderen under the inspired baton of Donato Renzetti. Most of the singing was A+ spectacular, but, for me, the stand-out pieces were Lepore’s rendition of Don Profondo’s aria from Il viaggio, Alaimo’s recount of Tell’s “Sois immobile” and Scala’s account of “Asile héréditaire” from the same opera. And of course all the ensembles, including the entire transcendent finale from Guillaume Tell. When the sold-out audience would not let the singers go, they repeated the finale. Heaven, indeed.