In grateful memory: Sir Peter Moores
Some may not know the name Sir Peter Moores. But anyone who loves bel canto opera, and Rossini in particular owes him a debt of gratitude. Sir Peter through his foundation helped establish ( and continued to support) Opera Rara which has brought works that were less well known to a broad audience.
The support of the Sir Peter Moores Foundation for the Rossini Opera Festival, in particular the Accademia Rossiniana has been so critical in grooming the next generation of Rossini singers.
In addition to the financial support, Sir Peter clearly loved being in Pesaro for the Festival where many “ordinary” Festival goers had a chance to meet him.
In the picture Sir Peter is pictured at a dinner following “Aureliano in Palmyra” at the Rossini Opera Festival in 2014. He is pictured with Michael Spyres ( who sang Aureliano and will be appearing again at ROF2016) and Gary Gordon from the board of the Friends of the Rossini Opera Festival. The picture taken by Luigi Diolvei appeared in the on-line IlRestodeCarolino.it.
Michael Spyres mentioned on that occasion that Opera Rara had played an important part in his pursuing the repertory that he now excels at. A wonderful memory.
Sir Peter wrote an introduction to the book ” Accademia Rossiniana XXV, una storia” which was published by ROF in 2013 in which he makes the case for the ROF in general and the Accademia in particular. It appears in Italian in the book, but below is the original English from which it was translate
Opera Festival – Pesaro
Most of those reading this programme won’t remember the operatic repertoire of the middle fifties. Do you know how many of Rossini’s operas you could see? One! Il Barbiere or perhaps two? L’Italiana in Algeri. Rossini had led a fashion in Paris for Grand Opera, which naturally were Opere Serie and this fashion produced voices and grew from Lirico Leggiero, to Lirico, to Lirico Spinto and on to Dramatisch and Hoch Dramatisch leading bel canto into CAN BELTO. Rosina had to sing Amneris. This in turn led to larger and larger houses and heavier repertoire.
The establishment of speciality Summer Festivals in the last century saw the founding of Pesaro’s Festival and (not forgetting Bayreuth) others of which Pesaro had the most radical result. Pesaro revived operas by Rossini unheard for years. These almost always involved revision in length and depth of the score(s) – and sometimes there were a variety of scores. Rossini himself had often been present for these revisions – revivifications – and lengthened or shortened the score, rewriting or replacing arias and duets for the second performances. What scores remain to us are not always in Rossini’s own hand, so questions of editorship arise, especially as the revification in question may not have brought a successful revival and so could peter out after one or two performances, leaving the world without a final approved author’s score.
Rossini Opera Festival under the leadership of Gianfranco Mariotti and Alberto Zedda has proved itself well able to cope with the adventurous path they had chosen, building not only a larger and larger Rossini repertoire there, but also first refining a musical and vocal style, which would sustain this, and training and raising musicians – not just singers – in such style as to act as a model and example to other careful musical festivals and then to repertoire Houses seeking to extend their annual repertory chosen from three Verdis, three Puccinis, Carmen, Faust and Don Giovanni.
Pesaro has also kept where it is not only by judging its music and its behaviour with a self-critical eye, but making sure to keep itself in funds – nowadays a very important part of running an Opera House. The thoughtful relaxed and friendly atmosphere of the staff, the artists, and the town itself have made us all want not only to be regular visitors each year, but to put as much help and financial support into helping Pesaro as we can each possibly manage.