Sam Ramey and Assur

Assur remembers!

Most who heard him will agree that Sam Ramey made Assur “his own”. We asked him to share some memories of his journey with Assur. Pay special attention to the ending if you expect to take on the role and follow in his foot-steps ( check the heels on your boots) as you go on stage.

Many thanks to Sam for taking the time to do this! Viva Assur ( even though he’s a bad guy)

Q. Your historic performances of “Semiramide” at the Met were not your first outing with this role. Many remember your Carnegie Hall performance with Horne and Anderson. Apparently those were based on the not-yet-complete edition which had its debut at the Met. Were there major changes in your role as a result of this?

A. My first performances of “Semiramide” was the very famous (in Europe anyway) Pier Luigi Pizzi production which was first done at the Aix-en-Provence Festival in 1980 and remounted by the Paris Opera at the Theatre des Champs-Elysee a year later.  My role in this production was not complete—mainly because there were no orchestra parts for the missing sections of music. Read More

Teatro Nuovo brings rare Rossini to Purchase, NY

The new bel canto festival at Purchase College, New York, will run from July 28th through August 5. Tickets are already on sale. Yes, you can go to Wildbad, Purchase, AND Pesaro! Read more here.

Memories from the 1990 Met Semiramide cast: Chris Merritt

Q. Your appearance as Idreno at the Met was not the first time you had sung this role, from what we understand. Apparently you did it in Hamburg in 1985. Was that a concert version, or was it staged?

-Yes, the first time I sang Idreno was indeed at the Staatsoper Hamburg. It was also my debut at the Staatsoper. I was second-cast to Francisco Araiza. The other cast members were Monserrat Caballe, Marilyn Horne and Samuel Ramey in concert performances conducted by Henry Lewis. The next time I sang Idreno was, again, in concert performances of SEMIRAMIDE at the Royal Opera Covent Garden in London…the year was 1986 . My cast mates were June Anderson (I believe it was her Covent Garden debut), Marilyn Horne and Samuel Ramey. Again, conductor was Henry Lewis. Read More

Cuts – “A reprehensible decision”

It always amazes lovers of Rossini’s operas that his works are often deemed too long. There are operas by Mozart and Wagner that are equally long. Often people are under the mistaken impression that due to the structure of Rossini’s operas it really doesn’t matter if they are “cut” here and there.

One of the greatest Rossini advocates of our time ( who was also a scholar and teacher) had this to say about “Semiramide”: Read More

Semiramide: an editorial discovery!

In case anyone thought that the lives of score editors were dull, this great story about the discovery of the “stage band score” for Semiramide should put that thought to rest. Many thanks to Patricia Brauner for sharing this memory and for providing the link to the beautiful photograph where it all took place.

Photo:Valeria Sant’Angeli.

Semiramide: an editorial discovery! Read More

Book Review : The Singing Turk

We are fortunate that a member of the American Rossini Society who recently reviewed this book by Larry Wolff agreed to share his review with us. It is a lengthy review but well worth reading. You may also read our interview with Professor Wolff in the interview section of the pull-down menu Forum Rossiniano.

The Singing Turk
by Larry Wolff
Stanford University Press, 2016
490 pages

Review by Charles Jernigan

Relations between European society (and the Western world in general) and the Ottoman East (and the Islamic world in general) has been a matter of great interest and often conflict since the era of the crusades, and of course it is a matter which has assumed great importance in our own time. Professor Wolff’s fascinating study takes Read More

What are they saying about Semiramide?

“In a revival long overdue, Gioachino Rossini’s Semiramide, his Babylonian tale of love, murder, and incest, will return to the Metropolitan Opera….” So wrote Philip Gossett in the New York Times in 1990. Although that revival came after almost 100 years, it does seem like quite a while has passed since the current Semiramide last appeared at the Met.

Those 1990 performances were phenomenal mostly because, as Gossett put it “ In the cast are four of the world’s greatest Rossini singers: Lella Cuberil, Marilyn Horne, Chris Merritt and Samuel Ramey. “
Indeed, these artists became so associeted with those roles that it is hard to imagine anyone else assuming them at the Met. Read More

The Friends of the Rossini Opera Festival celebrates its 10th birthday

And what better way than with appearances of Daniela Barcelona and Juan Diego Florez, two members of the Honorary Board at ROF 2018

Barcelona will be appearing in a performance of Petite Messe Solennelle which closes the Festival, and Florez in three performances of Ricciardo e Zoraide. It is not too late to join the Friends for the 2018 season and obtain the opportunity to order tickets before the general public.

Semiramide returns to the Metropolitan Opera

From February 19th to March 17th, the iconic John Copley production production first seen in 1990 will return to the Metropolitain Opera. On March 10th it will be seen in cinemas throughout the US. For foreign screenings check your local theater.

Tributes to Philip Gossett

The passing of Professor Philip Gossett, earlier this year, brought tributes and acclamation in the numerous obituaries that were published shortly after his death. The loss of Gossett is particularly profound for the American Rossini Society which he supported from the start and served as honorary president.

We invited some of the many scholars, artists, and students who worked with Professor Gossett over the years to share some of their memories. We have assembled them below, and will be adding more over time as contributions are submitted. Read More