Cher Public

Nicola Lischi

La figlia dell’aria

For her third solo recording Olga Peretyatko summons the two men who launched her career less than a decade ago: the first one is conductor Alberto Zedda, who discovered the then-unknown Russian soprano in an audition in Germany; and the second one is Gioacchino Rossini himself.  Indeed, Zedda, artistic director of the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro, immediately cast her as Desdemona in a production of Otello featuring big names such as Juan Diego Flórez and Gregory Kunde, and a star was born, who very soon graced the stages of the most prominent opera companies firmly ensconcing herself among the A-listers.  Her beauty, her fashion sense as well her high-profile marriage with another fast rising talent, former enfant prodige conductor Michele Mariotti, certainly did not hinder her career; neither did an exclusive recording contract with Sony.  Read more »

The girl next door

Andrea Andermann, the producer who brought you Tosca in the Settings and at the Times of Tosca, Traviata in Paris, and Rigoletto in Mantova, is preparing for a telecast of La Cenerentola, to be performed and broadcast in two consecutive days, as per libretto, and filmed inside several palaces of Turin, with the Reggia Sabauda (the Savoy Royal Palace) as Ramiro’s abode.   Read more »

Cross purposes

fedora_amazonIt was while attending a performance of Fédora in Naples in 1885 that eighteen year-old Umberto Giordano fell in love with Sardou’s then immensely popular play; the protagonist was none other than Sarah Bernhardt, the creator of the title role.

He immediately asked the French dramatist to sell him the rights, a request Sardou did not even take into consideration.  After the composer scored modest successes with Marina, Mala vita and Regina Diaz, Sardou seemed almost persuaded to relent, although the publisher Sonzogno considered the author’s financial demands too excessive.  Only after the triumph of Andrea Chénier did Sardou and Sonzogno come to an agreement, and Giordano was finally able to devote himself to his long-awaited project. Read more »

Just around the corner

Cubes and Macbeth seem to have been a successful pairing in the recent Regietheater. Graham Vick’s production of Macbeth at the Teatro alla Scala in the 1997/98 season had become famous, or infamous, for centering its spirit and energies on a big cube dominating both sets and singers. David Pountney exploited the same idea of a “cubic” Macbeth in his production of the Verdi masterpiece for the Opernhaus Zürich in 2001 (staged a few years later also in San Francisco), now re-released on DVD by ArtHaus Musik. 

Read more »

A pretty girl milking her cow

If I had been handed Clari’s score without being told the name of the composer, I might have thought it was a lost Rossini opera, albeit a minor one.  I would have probably assigned it to the early period of Rossini’s career, because it shows more similarities with works like La pietra del paragone and L’inganno felice than his later masterpieces, particularly in the first act. When Fromental Halévy’s Clari was premiered in 1828 in Paris, the renowned music critic Fétis called it a “Rossinade”, summing up with just one word the essence of this opera. Halévy had no choice.  […]

Read more »

Ma, deh! Non dirgli, improvvido…

“Le pene d’amore non uccisero la Callas” reads the rather sensational headline: “The pains of love did not kill Callas.” The actual story in La Stampa is more sober, telling of an investigative study into the causes of the diva’s vocal decline and eventual death.

Read more »

Vergin territory

Incredible, but true, I Puritani had not been performed in Great Britain since 1887 when Glyndebourne decided to stage it in 1960 with the main intention to showcase Joan Sutherland, who had been catapulted to international superstardom one year earlier in the legendary Lucia di Lammermoor at Covent Garden. Furthermore, Vittorio Gui, who had already been introducing the Glyndebourne audiences to Rossini, was eager to add more belcanto works to the repertoire of that opera company. This effort is now documented on the CD just released on the Glyndebourne Enterprise label.  

Read more »

Critical addition

Very few things intrigue me as much as analyzing belcanto operas, comparing their several versions and examining the composers’ second thoughts, modifications and revisions that, willingly or unwillingly, they made to their scores. I was already salivating when I heard that the Teatro Comunale di Bologna was going to perform Vincenzo Bellini’s I Puritani in the new critical edition by Fabrizio Della Seta.  DECCA, which has released this DVD documenting the 2009 Bologna performances, reports on its cover that this Puritani follows the above-mentioned critical edition, but unfortunately it is not telling the whole truth.

Read more »