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.
Riccardo Chailly was born into a musical family in Milan. He studied at the conservatories in Milan and Perugia and received specialized training in conducting from Franco Ferrara at his Siena summer courses. At the age of 20, Chailly became assistant conductor to Claudio Abbado at Milan’s La Scala. He made his opera debut there in 1978 and was soon in great demand at the world’s leading opera houses and concert halls.
For years the undisputed Rossini tenor par excellence, Juan Diego Flórez at last makes his debut in the hugely demanding role of Arnold and 'masters his part with seemingly effortless perfection' (Die Presse). Graham Vick's 2013 production gives the opera uncut in its original French version, complete with the often omitted ballet music. The William Tell legend of patriotic and political intrigue in 14th-century Switerland is interpreted by Vick as a timeless class conflict with dramatic and unforgettable images. A 'perfect cast' is conducted with 'verve and intensity' (Opera Today)
Sooner or later every aspiring Italian composer of worth wanted to make his debut at the Paris Opéra. The 1830s and 1840s were its golden age under the management of Veron. The musical pillars of the Paris establishment were Auber, Meyerbeer and Halévy. Together they developed opera to greater complexity and to a scale that had not been seen before.Robert J Farr