Gioachino Rossini (1792-1868)

Episodes

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01The Freshness of the Morning of Life2014021720170123 (R3)Donald Macleod focuses on the early operas of Rossini.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

01The Rossini Code2018111220200413 (R3)This week, Donald Macleod presents five takes on the life and music of Gioachino Rossini. Today, the winning formula Rossini hit on right at the start of his operatic career.

Rossini had the good fortune to learn his craft not from a course of dry academic study but by toiling in the operatic trenches of Venice’s Teatro San Moisè, for which he produced a youthful string of one-act farces – four of which are sampled in today’s programme. Thrown in at the deep end at the tender age of 18, Rossini almost immediately – and apparently instinctively – caught on to the essentials of writing music for the stage. More than that, he seems to have codified his instincts into a structural ground plan that not only underpins his early farces, but continued to serve him when he graduated to writing comic operas on a larger scale – a case in point being the deftly-paced 1st-act finale of Cinderella, which concludes today’s programme.

La cambiale di matrimonio; overture
Orpheus Chamber Orchestra

La scala di seta; scene 1, Introduzione
Teresa Ringholz, soprano (Giulia)
Alessandro Corbelli, baritone (Germano)
Francesca Provvisionato, mezzo soprano (Lucilla)
English Chamber Orchestra
Marcello Viotti, conductor

L’inganno felice; scene 8 (extract): Terzetto: ‘Quel sembiante’
Raúl Giménez, tenor (Bertrando)
Pietro Spagnoli, bass (Tarabotto)
Annick Massis, soprano (Isabella)
Le Concert des Tuileries
Marc Minkowski, conductor

L’occasione fa il ladro (or Il cambio della valigia); scenes 12 (extract)–13:
– Duet: ‘Voi la sposa!’
– Recit: ‘Qui non c’è scampo’
– Aria: ‘Il mio padrone’
Enrico Fissore, bass (Don Parmenione)
Margherita Rinaldi, soprano (Berenice)
Antonio Pirino, tenor (Don Eusebio)
Gianni Socci, baritone (Martino)
Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra Turin
Vittorio Gui, conductor

La Cenerentola; Act 1, finale
Luigi Alva, tenor (Ramiro)
Renato Capecchi, baritone (Dandini)
Margherita Guglielmi, soprano (Clorinda)
Laura Zannini, soprano (Tisbe)
Ugo Trama, bass (Alidoro)
Teresa Berganza, mezzo soprano (Cenerentola)
Paolo Montarsolo, bass (Don Magnifico)
Scottish Opera Chorus
London Symphony Orchestra
Claudio Abbado, conductor

Produced by Chris Barstow for BBC Wales

Donald Macleod looks at the winning formula of Rossini's early operas.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

02Genius in All Its Naivete2014021820170124 (R3)Donald Macleod on the operas that made Rossini's name.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

02Stick to Comedy!2018111320200414 (R3)Donald Macleod takes a look at Rossini's serious side

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

02Stick to Comedy!2018111320200414 (R3)This week, Donald Macleod presents five takes on the life and music of Gioachino Rossini. Today, Rossini’s serious side.

With the exception of William Tell, from which most people know only the overture, Rossini is generally regarded first and foremost as a composer of comic operas – the most familiar of these being The Barber of Seville. With a couple of notable exceptions, his serious operas remain relatively virgin territory, yet as Rossini expert Richards Osborne points out, it’s on the sequence of nine opere serie Rossini wrote for Naples between 1815 and 1822 that his reputation as the founding father of Italian 19th-century opera principally rests. Today’s programme explores three of these operas: Elisabetta, regina d’Inghilterra, with which Rossini made his dazzling Neapolitan début; Zelmira, with which he said farewell Naples and hello Vienna; and Ermione, which ran for only seven performances before being indefinitely mothballed. “Ermione is my little William Tell,” said Rossini, “and it will not see the light of day until after my death.” He was right; a century-and-a-half after its disastrous opening run it was triumphantly revived, and many now regard it as his tragic masterpiece.

Il barbiere di Siviglia; Act 1 Scene 1, ‘Largo al factotum’
Sesto Bruscantini, baritone (Figaro)
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Vittorio Gui, conductor

Zelmira; Act 1 Scene 5 (extract):
– ‘S'intessano agli allori’
– ‘Terra amica’
Juan Diego Flórez, tenor (Ilio)
Orchestra Sinfonica e Coro di Milano Giuseppe Verdi
Riccardo Chailly, conductor

Elisabetta, regina d’Inghilterra; Act 2 Scene 1 (extract)
– ‘Dov'è Matilde?’
– ‘Pensa che sol per poco’
– ‘Non bastan quelle lagrime’
– ‘Misero me!...la sposa’
– ‘L'avverso nio destino’
– ‘Ah! Fra Poco, in Faccia A Morte’
Montserrat Caballé, (Elisabetta)
Neil Jenkins, (Guglielmo)
Valerie Masterson, (Matilde)
London Symphony Orchestra
Gianfranco Masini, conductor

Ermione; Act 1 Scene 6 (finale)
Colin Lee, tenor (Oreste)
Carmen Giannattasio, soprano (Ermione)
Paul Nilon, tenor (Pirro)
Rebecca Bottone, soprano (Cleone)
Patricia Bardon, mezzo soprano (Andromaca)
Victoria Simmonds, alto (Cefisa)
Bülent Bezdüz, tenor (Pilade)
Loïc Félix, tenor (Attalo)
Graeme Broadbent, baritone (Fenicio)
Geoffrey Mitchell Choir
London Philharmonic Orchestra
David Parry, conductor

Produced by Chris Barstow for BBC Wales

Donald Macleod takes a look at Rossini's serious side

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

02Stick To Comedy!2018111320200414 (R3)This week, Donald Macleod presents five takes on the life and music of Gioachino Rossini. Today, Rossini’s serious side.

With the exception of William Tell, from which most people know only the overture, Rossini is generally regarded first and foremost as a composer of comic operas – the most familiar of these being The Barber of Seville. With a couple of notable exceptions, his serious operas remain relatively virgin territory, yet as Rossini expert Richards Osborne points out, it’s on the sequence of nine opere serie Rossini wrote for Naples between 1815 and 1822 that his reputation as the founding father of Italian 19th-century opera principally rests. Today’s programme explores three of these operas: Elisabetta, regina d’Inghilterra, with which Rossini made his dazzling Neapolitan début; Zelmira, with which he said farewell Naples and hello Vienna; and Ermione, which ran for only seven performances before being indefinitely mothballed. “Ermione is my little William Tell,” said Rossini, “and it will not see the light of day until after my death.” He was right; a century-and-a-half after its disastrous opening run it was triumphantly revived, and many now regard it as his tragic masterpiece.

Il barbiere di Siviglia; Act 1 Scene 1, ‘Largo al factotum’
Sesto Bruscantini, baritone (Figaro)
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Vittorio Gui, conductor

Zelmira; Act 1 Scene 5 (extract):
– ‘S'intessano agli allori’
– ‘Terra amica’
Juan Diego Flórez, tenor (Ilio)
Orchestra Sinfonica e Coro di Milano Giuseppe Verdi
Riccardo Chailly, conductor

Elisabetta, regina d’Inghilterra; Act 2 Scene 1 (extract)
– ‘Dov'è Matilde?’
– ‘Pensa che sol per poco’
– ‘Non bastan quelle lagrime’
– ‘Misero me!...la sposa’
– ‘L'avverso nio destino’
– ‘Ah! Fra Poco, in Faccia A Morte’
Montserrat Caballé, (Elisabetta)
Neil Jenkins, (Guglielmo)
Valerie Masterson, (Matilde)
London Symphony Orchestra
Gianfranco Masini, conductor

Ermione; Act 1 Scene 6 (finale)
Colin Lee, tenor (Oreste)
Carmen Giannattasio, soprano (Ermione)
Paul Nilon, tenor (Pirro)
Rebecca Bottone, soprano (Cleone)
Patricia Bardon, mezzo soprano (Andromaca)
Victoria Simmonds, alto (Cefisa)
Bülent Bezdüz, tenor (Pilade)
Loïc Félix, tenor (Attalo)
Graeme Broadbent, baritone (Fenicio)
Geoffrey Mitchell Choir
London Philharmonic Orchestra
David Parry, conductor

Produced by Chris Barstow for BBC Wales

Donald Macleod takes a look at Rossini's serious side

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

With the exception of William Tell, from which most people know only the overture, Rossini is generally regarded first and foremost as a composer of comic operas – the most familiar of these being The Barber of Seville. With a couple of notable exceptions, his serious operas remain relatively virgin territory, yet as Rossini expert Richards Osborne points out, it’s on the sequence of nine opere serie Rossini wrote for Naples between 1815 and 1822 that his reputation as the founding father of Italian 19th-century opera principally rests. Today’s programme explores three of these operas: Elisabetta, regina d’Inghilterra, with which Rossini made his dazzling Neapolitan début; Zelmira, with which he said farewell Naples and hello Vienna; and Ermione, which ran for only seven performances before being indefinitely mothballed. “Ermione is my little William Tell, ? said Rossini, “and it will not see the light of day until after my death. ? He was right; a century-and-a-half after its disastrous opening run it was triumphantly revived, and many now regard it as his tragic masterpiece.

With the exception of William Tell, from which most people know only the overture, Rossini is generally regarded first and foremost as a composer of comic operas – the most familiar of these being The Barber of Seville. With a couple of notable exceptions, his serious operas remain relatively virgin territory, yet as Rossini expert Richards Osborne points out, it’s on the sequence of nine opere serie Rossini wrote for Naples between 1815 and 1822 that his reputation as the founding father of Italian 19th-century opera principally rests. Today’s programme explores three of these operas: Elisabetta, regina d’Inghilterra, with which Rossini made his dazzling Neapolitan début; Zelmira, with which he said farewell Naples and hello Vienna; and Ermione, which ran for only seven performances before being indefinitely mothballed. “Ermione is my little William Tell,” said Rossini, “and it will not see the light of day until after my death.” He was right; a century-and-a-half after its disastrous opening run it was triumphantly revived, and many now regard it as his tragic masterpiece.

03Remember, Write Many More Like Barber2014021920170125 (R3)Donald Macleod explores the stories behind Rossini's The Barber of Seville.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

03The New Conqueror2018111420200415 (R3)Donald Macleod looks at Rossini through the distorting lens of the writer Stendahl

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

This week, Donald Macleod presents five takes on the life and music of Gioachino Rossini. Today, Rossini seen through the enthusiastic but distorting lens of the writer Stendahl.

“Light, lively, amusing, never wearisome but seldom exalted – Rossini would appear to have been brought into this world for the express purpose of conjuring up visions of ecstatic delight in the commonplace soul of the Average Man.” – a typically ambivalent pronouncement by the composer’s earliest biographer. Baptised Marie-Henri Beyle, Stendahl is best known today as a writer of fiction, and there’s a substantial fictive element about his biography of the world’s greatest living Italian composer, written when his subject, already an international celebrity, was less than halfway through his life. Nonetheless, Stendahl provides an eyewitness account of Rossini’s life in its busiest and most productive period, and while he can be an infuriatingly unreliable guide, he’s also a delightful and, ultimately, indispensible one.

Tancredi; Act 1 Scene 5, ‘Di tanti palpiti’
Marilyn Horne, mezzo soprano (Tancredi)
Teatro La Fenice Orchestra
Ralf Weikert, conductor

La pietra del paragon; Act 2, extract:
– ‘A caccia o mio Signore’ (chorus)
– ‘Oh come il fosco impetuoso nembo’ / ‘Quell’alme pupille’ (Giocondo))
José Carerras, tenor (Giocondo)
The Clarion Concerts Orchestra and Chorus
Newell Jenkins, conductor

L’Italiana in Algeri; Act 1 Scene 4 (finale)
Teresa Berganza, mezzo soprano (Isabella)
Fernando Corena, bass (Mustafà)
Rolando Panerai, baritone (Taddeo)
Paolo Montarsolo, bass (Haly)
Luigi Alva, tenor (Lindoro)
Giuliana Tavolaccini, soprano (Elvira)
Mitì Truccato Pace, mezzo soprano (Zulma)
Florence Maggio Musicale Chorus and Orchestra
Silvio Varviso, conductor

Mosé in Egitto; Act 3
Lorenzo Regazzo, bass (Mosé)
Akie Amou, soprano (Elcìa)
Karen Bandelow, mezzo soprano (Amenofi)
Giorgio Trucco, tenor (Aronne)
Wojtek Gierlach, bass (Faraone)
Giuseppe Fedeli, tenor (Mambre)
Sa Pietro a Majella Chorus
Württemberg Philharmonic Orchestra
Antonino Fogliani, conductor

Produced by Chris Barstow for BBC Wales

“Light, lively, amusing, never wearisome but seldom exalted – Rossini would appear to have been brought into this world for the express purpose of conjuring up visions of ecstatic delight in the commonplace soul of the Average Man. ? – a typically ambivalent pronouncement by the composer’s earliest biographer. Baptised Marie-Henri Beyle, Stendahl is best known today as a writer of fiction, and there’s a substantial fictive element about his biography of the world’s greatest living Italian composer, written when his subject, already an international celebrity, was less than halfway through his life. Nonetheless, Stendahl provides an eyewitness account of Rossini’s life in its busiest and most productive period, and while he can be an infuriatingly unreliable guide, he’s also a delightful and, ultimately, indispensible one.

“Light, lively, amusing, never wearisome but seldom exalted – Rossini would appear to have been brought into this world for the express purpose of conjuring up visions of ecstatic delight in the commonplace soul of the Average Man.” – a typically ambivalent pronouncement by the composer’s earliest biographer. Baptised Marie-Henri Beyle, Stendahl is best known today as a writer of fiction, and there’s a substantial fictive element about his biography of the world’s greatest living Italian composer, written when his subject, already an international celebrity, was less than halfway through his life. Nonetheless, Stendahl provides an eyewitness account of Rossini’s life in its busiest and most productive period, and while he can be an infuriatingly unreliable guide, he’s also a delightful and, ultimately, indispensible one.

03The New Conqueror2018111420200415 (R3)This week, Donald Macleod presents five takes on the life and music of Gioachino Rossini. Today, Rossini seen through the enthusiastic but distorting lens of the writer Stendahl.

“Light, lively, amusing, never wearisome but seldom exalted – Rossini would appear to have been brought into this world for the express purpose of conjuring up visions of ecstatic delight in the commonplace soul of the Average Man.” – a typically ambivalent pronouncement by the composer’s earliest biographer. Baptised Marie-Henri Beyle, Stendahl is best known today as a writer of fiction, and there’s a substantial fictive element about his biography of the world’s greatest living Italian composer, written when his subject, already an international celebrity, was less than halfway through his life. Nonetheless, Stendahl provides an eyewitness account of Rossini’s life in its busiest and most productive period, and while he can be an infuriatingly unreliable guide, he’s also a delightful and, ultimately, indispensible one.

Tancredi; Act 1 Scene 5, ‘Di tanti palpiti’
Marilyn Horne, mezzo soprano (Tancredi)
Teatro La Fenice Orchestra
Ralf Weikert, conductor

La pietra del paragon; Act 2, extract:
– ‘A caccia o mio Signore’ (chorus)
– ‘Oh come il fosco impetuoso nembo’ / ‘Quell’alme pupille’ (Giocondo))
José Carerras, tenor (Giocondo)
The Clarion Concerts Orchestra and Chorus
Newell Jenkins, conductor

L’Italiana in Algeri; Act 1 Scene 4 (finale)
Teresa Berganza, mezzo soprano (Isabella)
Fernando Corena, bass (Mustafà)
Rolando Panerai, baritone (Taddeo)
Paolo Montarsolo, bass (Haly)
Luigi Alva, tenor (Lindoro)
Giuliana Tavolaccini, soprano (Elvira)
Mitì Truccato Pace, mezzo soprano (Zulma)
Florence Maggio Musicale Chorus and Orchestra
Silvio Varviso, conductor

Mosé in Egitto; Act 3
Lorenzo Regazzo, bass (Mosé)
Akie Amou, soprano (Elcìa)
Karen Bandelow, mezzo soprano (Amenofi)
Giorgio Trucco, tenor (Aronne)
Wojtek Gierlach, bass (Faraone)
Giuseppe Fedeli, tenor (Mambre)
Sa Pietro a Majella Chorus
Württemberg Philharmonic Orchestra
Antonino Fogliani, conductor

Produced by Chris Barstow for BBC Wales

Donald Macleod looks at Rossini through the distorting lens of the writer Stendahl

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

04Noises Off2018111520200416 (R3)Donald Macleod looks at the music Rossini didn\u2019t have to write.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

04Noises Off2018111520200416 (R3)This week, Donald Macleod presents five takes on the life and music of Gioachino Rossini. Today, the music that Rossini didn’t have to write.

According to Rossini’s biographer Richard Osborne, the composer left a “large and absorbingly diverse collection of non-operatic compositions” – some written during his career, many more after his early retirement from the stage in 1831. They range from a short occasional fanfare for four horns and orchestra written as a musical thank-you for a well-to-do host who was crazy about hunting, to the masterpiece of Rossini’s late years, the Petite messe solennelle, which the composer prefaced with a tongue-in-cheek letter to God: “Good God, there we have it, complete, this poor little Mass. Is it really sacred music that I’ve made, or is it merely abominable music? I was born for opera buffa, as Thou well knowest. Little skill, a little heart, and that is all. So be Thou blessed, and admit me to Paradise. G. Rossini. Passy, 1863.”

String Sonata No 1 in G; 3rd mvt, Allegro
Ensemble de I Virtuosi Italiani

Messa di Gloria; Kyrie eleison—Christe eleison—Kyrie eleison
Francisco Araiza, tenor
Raúl Gimenez, tenor
Academy and Chorus of St Martin-in-the-Fields
Neville Marriner, conductor

La pastorella
Beltà crudele
Cecilia Bartoli, mezzo soprano
Charles Spencer, piano

Serenata per piccolo compresso
Members of the Budapest Festival Orchestra

Le Rendez-vous de chasse
Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi
Riccardo Chailly, conductor

Petite messe solennelle; Credo—Crucifixus—Et resurrexit
Kari Løvaas, soprano
Brigitte Fassbaender, alto
Peter Schreier, tenor
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, baritone
Die Münchner Vokalsolisten
Reinhard Raffalt, harmonium
Hans Ludwig Hirsch, piano
Wolfgang Sawallisch, piano and conductor

Produced by Chris Barstow for BBC Wales

Donald Macleod looks at the music Rossini didn\u2019t have to write.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

04Noises Off2018111520200416 (R3)This week, Donald Macleod presents five takes on the life and music of Gioachino Rossini. Today, the music that Rossini didn’t have to write.

According to Rossini’s biographer Richard Osborne, the composer left a “large and absorbingly diverse collection of non-operatic compositions” – some written during his career, many more after his early retirement from the stage in 1831. They range from a short occasional fanfare for four horns and orchestra written as a musical thank-you for a well-to-do host who was crazy about hunting, to the masterpiece of Rossini’s late years, the Petite messe solennelle, which the composer prefaced with a tongue-in-cheek letter to God: “Good God, there we have it, complete, this poor little Mass. Is it really sacred music that I’ve made, or is it merely abominable music? I was born for opera buffa, as Thou well knowest. Little skill, a little heart, and that is all. So be Thou blessed, and admit me to Paradise. G. Rossini. Passy, 1863.”

String Sonata No 1 in G; 3rd mvt, Allegro
Ensemble de I Virtuosi Italiani

Messa di Gloria; Kyrie eleison—Christe eleison—Kyrie eleison
Francisco Araiza, tenor
Raúl Gimenez, tenor
Academy and Chorus of St Martin-in-the-Fields
Neville Marriner, conductor

La pastorella
Beltà crudele
Cecilia Bartoli, mezzo soprano
Charles Spencer, piano

Serenata per piccolo compresso
Members of the Budapest Festival Orchestra

Le Rendez-vous de chasse
Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi
Riccardo Chailly, conductor

Petite messe solennelle; Credo—Crucifixus—Et resurrexit
Kari Løvaas, soprano
Brigitte Fassbaender, alto
Peter Schreier, tenor
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, baritone
Die Münchner Vokalsolisten
Reinhard Raffalt, harmonium
Hans Ludwig Hirsch, piano
Wolfgang Sawallisch, piano and conductor

Produced by Chris Barstow for BBC Wales

Donald Macleod looks at the music Rossini didn't have to write.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

According to Rossini’s biographer Richard Osborne, the composer left a “large and absorbingly diverse collection of non-operatic compositions ? – some written during his career, many more after his early retirement from the stage in 1831. They range from a short occasional fanfare for four horns and orchestra written as a musical thank-you for a well-to-do host who was crazy about hunting, to the masterpiece of Rossini’s late years, the Petite messe solennelle, which the composer prefaced with a tongue-in-cheek letter to God: “Good God, there we have it, complete, this poor little Mass. Is it really sacred music that I’ve made, or is it merely abominable music? I was born for opera buffa, as Thou well knowest. Little skill, a little heart, and that is all. So be Thou blessed, and admit me to Paradise. G. Rossini. Passy, 1863. ?

04The Great Renunciation2014022020170126 (R3)Donald Macleod focuses on Rossini's later operas.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

05An Italian in Paris2018111620200417 (R3)Donald Macleod explores Rossini's on-off relationship with the city of Paris.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

05An Italian In Paris2018111620200417 (R3)This week, Donald Macleod presents five takes on the life and music of Gioachino Rossini. Today, the composer’s on-off relationship with the city of Paris.

Rumours that Rossini was planning to leave Italy for Paris started doing the rounds in 1818, after his comic opera L’Italiana in Algeri created a sensation at the Théâtre Italien there; but it wasn’t until the end of 1824 that he finally signed on the dotted line and relocated to the French capital. Rossini’s contract with the French government required him to write operas for both the Théâtre Italien and the Opéra, which had been struggling commercially. His two major contributions to the Opéra were Count Ory and William Tell, comic and ‘serious’ operas respectively: the former, a glorious musical salvage operation from an operatic entertainment originally devised for the coronation of Charles X, Il viaggio a Reims; the latter, a sprawling six-hour epic that set the template for French Grand Opera and perhaps, down the line, the music dramas of Wagner. In 1836, Rossini left Paris for Bologna, where he spent nearly 20 years in a downward spiral of ill-health and depression whose root cause was the venereal disease he had in all probability contracted in his 20s. In 1855, he and his former mistress, now wife and carer, Olympe Pélissier, returned to Paris, so that Rossini could benefit from the attentions of an expert urologist. The Rossinis settled in Passy, where they established weekly musical gatherings – Samedi soirs – and Rossini started to compose again. His Péchés de vieillesse – Sins of Old Age – run to 14 volumes; a Rossinian byway well worth exploring.

Il viaggio à Reims; Scene 20, ‘Signor, ecco una lettera’
Katia Ricciarelli (Madame Cortese)
Lucia Valentini Terrani (Marchesa Melibea)
Lella Cuberli (Contessa di Folleville)
Cecilia Gasdia (Corinna)
Francisco Araiza (Conte di Libenskof)
Samuel Ramey (Lord Sidney)
Ruggero Raimondi (Don Profondo)
Chamber Orchestra of Europe
Claudio Abbado, conductor

Le Comte Ory; Act 2 No 11, ‘A la faveur de cette nuit obscure’
John Aler, tenor (Count Ory)
Diana Montague, mezzo soprano (Isolier)
Sumi Jo, soprano (Countess Adèle)
Lyon Opera Chorus & Orchestra
John Eliot Gardiner, conductor

William Tell; Act 3 Scene 3, ‘Sois immobile’
Gabriel Bacquier, baritone (William Tell)
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Lamberto Gardelli, conductor

Soirées musicales; 2. Il rimprovero; 3. La partenza
Stella Doufexis, mezzo soprano
Bruce Ford, tenor
Roger Vignoles, piano

Stabat Mater (1842 version); 2. Cujus animam gementem; 3. Quis est homo
Anna Netrebko, soprano
Joyce DiDonato, mezzo soprano
Lawrence Brownlee, tenor
Orchestra of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
Antonio Pappano, conductor

Assez de memento: dansons (Péchés de vieillesse, vol 6)
Frederic Chiu, piano

Mi lagnerò tacendo in D (Musique anodine)
Cecilia Bartoli mezzo soprano
Charles Spencer, piano

Produced by Chris Barstow for BBC Wales

Donald Macleod explores Rossini's on-off relationship with the city of Paris.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

05An Italian in Paris2018111620200417 (R3)This week, Donald Macleod presents five takes on the life and music of Gioachino Rossini. Today, the composer’s on-off relationship with the city of Paris.

Rumours that Rossini was planning to leave Italy for Paris started doing the rounds in 1818, after his comic opera L’Italiana in Algeri created a sensation at the Théâtre Italien there; but it wasn’t until the end of 1824 that he finally signed on the dotted line and relocated to the French capital. Rossini’s contract with the French government required him to write operas for both the Théâtre Italien and the Opéra, which had been struggling commercially. His two major contributions to the Opéra were Count Ory and William Tell, comic and ‘serious’ operas respectively: the former, a glorious musical salvage operation from an operatic entertainment originally devised for the coronation of Charles X, Il viaggio a Reims; the latter, a sprawling six-hour epic that set the template for French Grand Opera and perhaps, down the line, the music dramas of Wagner. In 1836, Rossini left Paris for Bologna, where he spent nearly 20 years in a downward spiral of ill-health and depression whose root cause was the venereal disease he had in all probability contracted in his 20s. In 1855, he and his former mistress, now wife and carer, Olympe Pélissier, returned to Paris, so that Rossini could benefit from the attentions of an expert urologist. The Rossinis settled in Passy, where they established weekly musical gatherings – Samedi soirs – and Rossini started to compose again. His Péchés de vieillesse – Sins of Old Age – run to 14 volumes; a Rossinian byway well worth exploring.

Il viaggio à Reims; Scene 20, ‘Signor, ecco una lettera’
Katia Ricciarelli (Madame Cortese)
Lucia Valentini Terrani (Marchesa Melibea)
Lella Cuberli (Contessa di Folleville)
Cecilia Gasdia (Corinna)
Francisco Araiza (Conte di Libenskof)
Samuel Ramey (Lord Sidney)
Ruggero Raimondi (Don Profondo)
Chamber Orchestra of Europe
Claudio Abbado, conductor

Le Comte Ory; Act 2 No 11, ‘A la faveur de cette nuit obscure’
John Aler, tenor (Count Ory)
Diana Montague, mezzo soprano (Isolier)
Sumi Jo, soprano (Countess Adèle)
Lyon Opera Chorus & Orchestra
John Eliot Gardiner, conductor

William Tell; Act 3 Scene 3, ‘Sois immobile’
Gabriel Bacquier, baritone (William Tell)
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Lamberto Gardelli, conductor

Soirées musicales; 2. Il rimprovero; 3. La partenza
Stella Doufexis, mezzo soprano
Bruce Ford, tenor
Roger Vignoles, piano

Stabat Mater (1842 version); 2. Cujus animam gementem; 3. Quis est homo
Anna Netrebko, soprano
Joyce DiDonato, mezzo soprano
Lawrence Brownlee, tenor
Orchestra of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
Antonio Pappano, conductor

Assez de memento: dansons (Péchés de vieillesse, vol 6)
Frederic Chiu, piano

Mi lagnerò tacendo in D (Musique anodine)
Cecilia Bartoli mezzo soprano
Charles Spencer, piano

Produced by Chris Barstow for BBC Wales

Donald Macleod explores Rossini's on-off relationship with the city of Paris.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

05The Sins of Old Age2014022120170127 (R3)Donald Macleod focuses on the years after Rossini turned his back on opera.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.