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.
La cenerentola (“Cinderella”) is one of Rossini’s longest comedies, nearly three hours. For any readers who are not familiar with this opera, let me briefly tell you that it bears little resemblance to Perrault’s famous fairy tale. There is no fairy godmother, no pumpkin coach with mice turned into horses, no glass slipper, and no ball at the Prince’s with a midnight curfew. What’s left is a sweet girl, mistreated by her stepfather and vain stepsisters, and a prince in search of a wife…
FANFARE: David L. Kirk
William Tell is Rossini's last opera, and this Romantic heroic interpretation of Schiller's epic of Wilhelm Tell among his best works. Rossini composed this opera in Paris. The original libretto was written in French, for a French audience, chorus. Parisians by reputation had more refined musical technique and tastes than their Italian counterparts and Rossini applied the best of Italian opera technique, which he had mastered and more refined and complex French musical staging which he studied and adapted during his years in Paris.
A grande dame of British jazz, Norma Winstone may be approaching her 70th birthday but the east London-born vocalist shows no signs of fading into well-earned retirement just yet. Indeed, the former Azimuth figurehead and veteran collaborator with everyone from pianists John Taylor and Mike Westbrook to Ian Carr and Kenny Wheeler, has made some of the best received albums of her lengthy career during the last decade; not least 2008’s Distances, which garnered a Grammy nomination and a clutch of European jazz awards.