"La scala di seta" is an operatic farsa comica in one act by Gioachino Rossini to a libretto by Giuseppe Maria Foppa. It was first performed in Venice, Italy, at the Teatro San Moisè on 9 May 1812. The overture has been frequently recorded and continues to be featured in the modern concert repertoire.
From 1810 to 1813, the young Rossini composed four Italian farse, beginning with La cambiale di matrimonio (The Bill of Marriage), his first opera, and ending with Il Signor Bruschino. These types of short pieces were popular in Venice at the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century. The pieces were intimate, with a cast of five to seven singers, always including a pair of lovers, at least two comic parts, and one or two other minor roles. The style called for much visual comedy improvised by the players. As compared to many genres of opera, acting and comedic talent is more important relative to the required singing ability. Rossini’s farces also have a significant sentimental element.
Cecilia Bartoli stars in this ebullient Zurich Opera House production of Rossini’s first French-language comedy opera described by the international press as “pure, unadulterated fun”. A BD from Zurich of the acclaimed production by masters of bel canto comedy, Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier. Bartoli reminds us of her comic gifts and her naturalness as a stage actor — as well as her total sympathy with the music of Rossini. Muhai Tang conducts the historical performance ensemble La Scintilla, and the cast includes the acclaimed young Mexican tenor Javier Camarena in the title role.
It is probably now or never. With classic older sets vying with a clutch of more recent recordings, there is currently as complete and interesting an array of recordings of Rossini's La Cenerentola as we are likely to get at any one time. Among recent versions, Chailly's new Decca set is self-evidently a powerful contender. Cecilia Bartoli is arguably the most personable and musically accomplished Cenerentola since Teresa Berganza recorded the role with Abbado in 1971; and there is a strong cast of supporting principals, among them Alessandro Corbelli who offers the best characterized Dandini since Bruscantini. (With the added advantage of being far more technically expert in fioriture passages than was his distinguished predecessor.)
Cecilia Bartoli remains one of the world's finest Rossini singers and she proves it again with Il Turco in Italia, her 1st complete Rossini recording since 1993. The performance was recorded in Milan, with the power of the La Scala Orchestra & Chorus and the best Rossini an cast possible, led - of course - by Cecilia Bartoli's coloratura, more brilliant than ever.
Myung-Whun Chung is one of the leading conductors of his generation. Also a prize-winning pianist, he is particularly noted for his interpretations of the music of French composer Olivier Messiaen. There has rarely been as talented a group of siblings as Myung-Whun and his two older sisters, cellist Myung-Wha Chung (born 1944) and violinist Kyung-Wha Chung (born 1948). Myung-Whun made his performing debut as a pianist in Seoul at the age of 7. At 8, he flew to Seattle, WA, to begin his American musical studies.
Here are two of Rossini's "secular" cantatas: "The Lament of Harmony on the Death of Orpheus" for tenor, male chorus, and orchestra, written when he was a 16-year-old conservatory student, and the far more substantial "Wedding of Thetis and Peleus," one of many such pieces he composed for special occasions, commissioned for the marriage of an Italian princess to a French prince. Both consist of primarily short, separate, contrasting numbers, most of which would be perfectly at home in the opera house.
Rossini’s unusual scoring of the drama calls for three tenor supporting roles – here sung to universal acclaim by long-standing Bartoli collaborators John Osborn and Javier Camarena and newcomer Edgardo Rocha. Bartoli’s dramatic command and vocal presence dominate the stage and reveal her artistry to be entering a rich new stage of development.
Cecilia Bartoli recreates the 1828 triumph of the legendary Maria Malibran - original star and dedicatee of Halévy's "tragi-comedy", Clari. Tracing the love of a callow country-girl for a duplicitous Duke, this hugely entertaining and first-ever modern production of Clari proved the overwhelming hit of the Zurich Opera season. Zurich Opera's own period-instrument orchestra, La Scintilla, under Adam Fischer, contribute a thoroughly researched, stylistically and historically well-informed accompaniment, yet without neglecting the liveliness and spirit of Italian opera.
For his first opera production, Dario Fo, the theatre director known for his brilliant wit, chose to stage Rossini's Il barbiere di Siviglia for the Netherlands Opera. First mounted in 1987, it was a huge success and a live recording of its revival in May 1992, the 200th anniversary of Rossini's birth, has been made. Fo has said that 'Rossini is the musician of eating and love. He composes music rich in herbs and aromas, in which you find olives, tomatoes, fish, grapes, roses and rosemary, sheets and tablecloths, dry wine and the laughter of girls.' His 'Barbiere' is a joyful carnival. During the overture he fills the stage with carnival revellers and immediately the commedia dell'arte origins of opera buffa are restored. Visual theatrics abound, never at the expense of the music, but highlighting it, engaging the eye as well as the ear. Fo addresses the heart more than the intellect and Rossini's comedy comes up dazzling and vital.
L'inganno felice (The Happy Deception, 1812) was one of five one act farces Rossini wrote for Venice audiences very early in his career. It's the least well known of the set, but it has fared well on disc. This version is based on a 2005 performance at the Rossini in Wildbad Festival in Bad Wildbad, Germany. The cast performs with a proficiency and assurance that don't betray the provincial origins of the production.