ROF’s La Gazza Ladra on “World of Opera” with our gift to you!

The radio series, World of Opera heard on stations throughout the United States will be broadcasting “La Gazza Ladra” during the week of October 17th. For local listings and exact dates and times, please check this link.http://worldofopera.org/about/world-of-opera-stations.

This gives Rossini fans in the US the opportunity to listen to these live performances at a time more convenient than those enjoyed by Europeans. No longer will you have to take a VERY LONG LUNCH break at work!!! You can even listen in the car – make sure to roll down the windows so that Rossini can spread throughout the land!

In connection with this event, The Rossini Opera Festival publication department has generously made available the ebook of the program that accompanied these performances in Pesaro. Thanks to Carla Di Carlo’s beautiful editing, you may obtain this program to enhance your enjoyment of the broadcast. Simply send an email to info@rossiniamerica.org, with the subject line La Gazza Ladra, and we will attach the .pdf file to our reply!!

American,Rene Barbara, is the featured tenor. Check out our interview with him here on our site. Here he is pictured with Nino Machaidze.
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Rossini on demand!!!

Let’s face it, American audiences (especially on the West Coast) are at a disadvantage when it comes to streaming of programs from Europe. But the BBC has come to our rescue with two upcoming “on demand” broadcasts at bbc.co.uk/radio3. For 30 days after the broadcast you can listen and “re-listen” to two of the operas featured at ROF2015.

On October 8, “La Gazzetta” with its newly discovered ensemble will be broadcast.

Then, on October 10, “La Gazza ladra” with American tenor Rene Barbera will be featured. Happy listening!!

ROF’s Messa di Gloria, September 18 on Rai3

Messa di Gloria, along with two cantatas, all rarely performed, will be broadcast on www.radio3.rai.it, September 18, at 20:30 Italian time (4:30 ET). Hopefully you will have the opportunity to listen in even though we know it is difficult because of the awkward time.
This is a fascinating work because as with many Rossini gems it is hard to categorize. The program notes available during the Festival were,as usual both informative and entertaining.One is transported back to a time where there seemed to be a lot of borrowing mischief.

Listen for hints (subtle and not) of fragments that show up later in Rossini’s later works. Among them are “Bianca e Falliero”, “Il Viaggo a Reims”, “Le Comte Ory”, and what is characterized as a pre-echo of “Guillaume Tell”! Indeed there is also some self-borrowing from “Aureliano in Palmira”!! None of this takes away from the enjoyment and beauty of Messa di Gloria.

The cast, pictured in rehearsal ( left to right) includes Dempsey Rivera,Juan Diego Florez,Viktoria Yarovaya, Jessica Pratt and Mirco Palazzi. Andrea Faidutti leads the chorus of the Teatro Comunale di Bologna and the Filarmonica Gioahino Rossini is conducted by Donato Renzetti.

This is a good opportunity to remind visitors to this site, that by becoming a member at the $75 level, you will receive the electronic form of the programs and cast lists for the works of each year’s Festival. A great way to follow along.

Next ROF season preliminary announcement

We will have more on this after this year’s ROF which starts in a few days. But it has been announced that the 3 primary operas for next season are

Il Turco in Italia

,

La Donna del Lago

, and

Ciro in Babilonia

( the award winning production last seen a few years ago)

More soon!

Listen to ROF2015 on RaiRadio3

Again this year, RAI is broadcasting ( listen live on their website)
the first performances of the three major works of the Rossini Opera Festival.
Monday, Aug 10

La Gazza Ladra

Tuesday, Aug 11

La Gazzetta

Wednesday,Aug 12

L’Inganno Felice

All performances are at 8 pm Italian time, 2 pm Eastern time.

Website:http://www.radio3.rai.it/dl/portaleRadio/Page-a92d14c3-2fa3-4df6-8b7d-f1c15eefdc0d.html#slider-1-1

Interview with Rene Barbera – making his ROF debut!

Rene Barbera is making his ROF debut this summer. He kindly agreed to be interviewed during rehersal period of La Gazza Ladra and we are so excited that yet another American singer will be part of the ROF family!

Q. How did you become a singer? Was there music in your home, a famil
member involved with the arts, or something else?
A – I started singing as a boy soprano in the San Antonio Men & Boys Choir when I was in Elementary School and continued through middle and high school in choirs. During my senior year I auditioned for a scholarship at the University of Texas at San Antonio and was offered a scholarship. It should be noted that I had planned on majoring in Music Education but it was suggested to me that I pursue a performance degree. After about a year I dropped out and decided I didn’t want to sing professionally and moved to Denver to live with my brother and work.
After a few weeks in Denver I managed to be in contact with Martile Rowland in Colorado Springs and, thanks to her offering a scholarship to the Vocal Arts Symposium, I was introduced to many students and teachers from the North Carolina School of the Arts (now the University of North Carolina School of the Arts).
Q. What brought you to Rossini? Did you hear a particular performance or
singer that inspired you? Were you guided by a coach or teacher who
recognized this might be a good fit for your voice?
A- Honestly, Rossini came to me. I had never planned to make Rossini a cornerstone of my career. In fact, I have always felt that my voice was best suited for Donizetti and Bellini, but, as it turned out, I apparently am more than capable of singing Rossini. Rossini has always been quite difficult for me to sing and I felt that I was not really very good at it. Evidently I was wrong. haha!
Q. Which Rossini roles have you sung?
A- I have only actually sung three Rossini roles at this point. Almaviva (Barbiere), Don Ramiro (Cenerentola), and Rodrigo (Donna del Lago) and about to debut my fourth here in Pesaro.
Q. We are delighted that you are appearing at the Rossini Opera Festival
this August in “La Gazza Ladra” . This will be the first time for you.
Have you performed with other members of the cast before?
A- I actually have met and sort of worked with two of the cast members before. Teresa Iervolino and Simone Alberghini… We were on the same productions in different casts. Simone in Naples and Teresa in Rome. I look forward to ACTUALLY performing with them as they are quite wonderful people and a lot of fun!
Q. How does preparing a new role work? Do you listen to recordings, watch
Youtube, or strictly “stick to the score?” Do you find when you arrive and
start rehersals that you have to “fine-tune” the vocal aspect of your
performance, or is it simply the dramatic part that needs to be worked on?
A- I usually listen to a recording once at the beginning of the process to get an idea of tempi and the general sound of the piece … after that I stick to the score as best I can and work with pianist once I have spent a little time on my part. There is definitely a time during rehearsals where fine-tuning has to happen. Nothing is ever as you expect when you begin working with other people. Everybody has their own interpretations and you have to adjust and react accordingly both dramatically and vocally.
Q.Singers have suggested that Rossini is particularly difficult and for
that reason some migrate away as their voice ages. Do you have any
thoughts on this, since you are still very young?
A- Rossini is quite difficult and, yes, not something that can usually be sustained for an entire career, at least not the same Rossini roles throughout a career. Most of the time a singer can continue to sing the more serious Rossini pieces later in their career while leaving behind the lighter fare. I can definitely understand the issue of the voice aging and maturing creating a need to move on in the repertoire. Being 31 and on the heels of another vocal shift (generally speaking this is around the time male voices have another change) I can easily identify with the migration. Each passing year I feel my voice leaning toward the desire for more legato and less coloratura or, at least, more variety in musical style. I feel Donizetti and Bellini beginning to whisper my name more loudly and, while I love Rossini, at some point I will have to answer their call. 😀
Q. Are there particular Rossini roles you look forward to adding to your
repertory?
A- In addition to looking forward to adding Giannetto (officially) I am open to whatever else comes my way. Honestly I don’t have anything specific I am chomping at the bit to do. I take what I’m given.
Q. Is there anything else you would like to share with us about singing,
your career, or your motorcycle? Pesaro is very motorcycle friendly BTW!!!
A- I’m somewhat of a motorcycle fanatic and Pesaro is VERY motorcycle friendly… I have taken notice of this already and wish I had a motorcycle here!  I tried to find a way to rent one while in town but had zero luck!   
Thank you for your time!

Interview with Simone Alberghini – 20 years at ROF!

Simone Alberghini will be at ROF in a few weeks performing in “La Gazza Ladra” Earlier this season we spoke with him after a performance of Cenerentola at Washington National Opera! We’ve been so lucky to enjoy your performances in Pesaro at the Rossini Opera Festival.

During the run of Cenerentola you were interviewed by Raissa Massuda and she has kindly given us permission to use her interview on our RossiniAmerica website. Here is the link to her blog (http://mandolinvision.blogspot.com/2015/04/interview-simone-alberghini.html) So, our questions will be a mixture of follow-up and new!

Q. You mentioned in the previous interview that you find the character of Figaro and Dandini as being full of Rossini. Having recently seen your Dandini, it was easy to believe. Are there particular “lines” or episodes that involve those characters that stand out for people who perhaps aren’t familiar with Rossini?

A: As I said, I think that it’s the continuously breaking the 4th wall that these kind of characters are doing all the time, commenting on the situations; for example, Dandini: already in the cabaletta of the entry aria (“ma al finir della nostra commedia”) he is telling the audience: we are going to have a lot of fun later! And, it is duly happening in the second act, during the second part of the sextet: “I’ve told you, the comedy would become a “tragedy” in the second act!”

Q. The character of Assur in Semiramide is quite a contrast from Figaro and Dandini, but he, too, has beautiful music. How do you see Assur whose importance to the opera is not always recognized. As a follow-up, the opera has some pretty grand duets, particularly between Assur and Semiramide. How much of your interpretation depends on “your” Semiramide?

A:First of all, a joke: You know what is the first note that Assur is singing? A “C”, in italian “Do”; now, on the score you then read: Assur Do: Absurd in italian 🙂 Do you think that is casual or Rossini intended it? I believe the second one!

 The role of Assur is one of my favorite, one of the most demanding vocally and with a quite different kind of agility required from, let say, Dandini. In Assur, most of the coloratura’s or agility are “di forza”, to complete this strong, badass (can I say it?) character. The most beautiful part is already the long aria scene, beautiful dramatic and with a lot of acting required.
The part has also 2 beautiful duets, one with Semiramide and one with Arsace; of course, as always, duets are already a “concertato” way of singing, with the need to melt the 2 voices often as one, as musical instruments; very beautiful music and, of course, changing every time depending from the colleagues, the director and the conductor. 

Q. Speranza Scappuci, mentioned that the performances improve throughout a run. James Levine once said every performance is a rehearsal. But are there some nights when things just seem to come together – and does the audience have anything to do with that?

A: Usually the second performance is the worst one, because everybody release the tensions that we’ve got at opening night…and usually later performances are more interesting musically, because everybody, singers, conductor, orchestra, chorus, got to know each other so well that is able to even feed from each other different musical “inputs”, the little “variations” that we can do overtime on a stage.
Of course, especially while playing comedies, the reactions from the audience are very important, getting us the feeling that our jokes are working and even dictating us, sometimes, the timing for those jokes.
One of the last performance in DC was one of my favorites: during the recitativo before my duet with Magnifico, a little kid in the audience reacted at a joke with a very loud, fresh, joyful laugh: I’ve totally lost it, began to laugh on the stage, and the rest of the audience with me… it was very sweet and funny.

Q. The Font production of Cenerentola has an unusual ending in that it appears that this all has been a dream. You commented that if it was a dream, Cenerentola is also a thief because she still has the bracelets! Perhaps you are already thinking of your appearance in “La Gazza Ladra” in Pesaro this summer?

A: hahaha, maybe, yes! But I’ll not be playing the thief magpie:) I’m looking forward to the summer, of course, to be part once again of a Festival that I love deeply.

Q. This will be the 20th anniversary of your first Pesaro performance. Is there something special about the Rossini Opera Festival you would like to share with us? Any favorite performances there?

A:Well, I loved Pesaro and the Festival so much that I’ve moved to Pesaro 8 years ago from my hometown, Bologna!
I had the luck to perform already many times at the ROF, alongside singers like M. Devia, B. Ford, S. Ganassi, M. Pertusi, D. Takova, J.D. Flores and many others; directed by L. Ronconi, P. Pizzi, D. Michieletto, G. Vick… conducted by G. Gelmetti, D. Gatti, C. Rovaris, M. Mariotti… I’ve been very lucky and I do keep a lot of beautiful memories; If I had to chose the best role I’ve sang here, maybe I’d say Blancac in the very beautiful and funny La Scala di seta production by D. Michieletto.

Q. Understandably Dandini is a favorite of yours and he does have wonderful music. Is there a particular Rossini role you have not sung yet that you would like to perform?

A: Probably the title role in Guillame Tell.
Q. Some singers have commented that Rossini gets harder to sing with age. Perhaps this is a function of their voice type or other repertorie they are singing. Do you have any feeling about this?

A: Rossini is very “athletically” demanding for the voice and do need a lot of freshness; personally, I’m starting, after more then 20 years of career, to explore some Donizetti and Verdi role, but I’ll try to keep as long as possible Rossini and Mozart in the repertoire, because I do believe they’ll help to keep the voice healthy.
Q. Final question – you mentioned the “Rossini” pizza which is only served in Pesaro.. is there a favorite place they serve it – or is it a secret?

A: Well, there are many good restaurant in Pesaro and will be wrong of me to choose just one; let say,  Donn’Amalia, Farina and Dal Geme.

Thank you for your time. See you in Pesaro!!

A gesture of friendship

We have received the following translation of an article in Corriere della Sera from friend of RossiniAmerica, Luca Damaschi. It is a review of the historic recital by Juan Diego Florez at La Scala. Luca was kind enough to translate it and share it. It is difficult to translate articles from newspapers and still give the flavor of the original. We say – GRAZIE

From “Corriere della Sera “ 21st June 2015 by Giuseppina Manin

Mr. 50 minutes (of applauses)
Tenor Flòrez triumphs at La Scala with seven encores: “And I had a cough ….My mother had to sell her old car to get me sing”

Milan “I immediately realized that it would not be easy to go on with such an irritating catarrh….And I was just at the beginning. I thought about the string of pieces waiting for me, more and more difficult. Would I sing at my best?”.
The day after the recital, Juan Diego Flòrez remembers with some thrill and much emotion that bizarre evening, begun in a such poorly brilliant way and concluded in a triumph.
Fifty minutes of applauses, twelve calls to the stage, seven encores and one standing ovation. “Something extraordinary happened” says the Peruvian tenor who, after some défailliances and a sudden cough, spoke to the audience: “It is jus a bit of catarrh. Forgive me”. Sincere admission greeted with an applause. “The public is with me, I told myself. Strong nerves and come on! I had to forget a bit about the voice and concentrate myself on interpretation. I sang the aria from Il Turco in Italia by Rossini like if it were a fairy tale. And it worked very well. But I could not relax yet! The following aria T’amo qual s’ama un angelo from Lucrezia Borgia by Donizetti is extremely tricky. But in the program…” And he sang it. With such a passion to make the house bring down. “In that moment, the worst had gone. The second part, all French, Duparc, Massenet, Gounod was easier”. In the meantime the voice had come back, stronger, unscratchable to any vocal chords’ whim.
The last aria L’amour! L’amour! makes the audience unstoppable. The popular uprising, the great audience acclaim recalls Flòrez back to the stage so many times that the encore is inevitable. Not one, but seven. Marked by applauses and enthusiasms more and more uncontrollable. It seemed like being at San Siro (Milan Stadium), instead of at La Scala. He plays the game and make little jokes with the audience, which encourages him to sing now this or that piece. He approached the piano, where the Maestro Vincenzo Scalera was sitting, he takes a score and, as if he were a waiter, he pretended to take orders. “Is there anyone who wants an Amatriciana too?” he jokes. “Also I felt like if I had reached the stars. When a certain atmosphere is estabilished, I like to break barriers. Juan Diego Flòrez did not wait to be asked. One piece from La belle Hélène, the inevitable Una furtiva lagrima, then Granada and the aria from Martha by Flotow. He says no only to “the nine Cs” from La Figlia del Reggimento, but that evening was not the right moment….” He started then with a Peruvian song which sparks off the excitement of his fellow countrymen present in the theatre. “Hurray for Peru!” they say. “Hurray for Italy! Hurray for Milan! Hurray for La Scala” answers Flòrez, extremely tied up to Italy.
Regarding La Scala, are singers really so scared of this theatre? “Each concert here is special. There is more tension, a more prepared audience, more severe. You arrive at the stage with more fear, but also with more respect. I made my debut at La Scala at the age of 23, the 4th of July I will come back for the Otello by Rossini in the inaccessible role of Rodrigo. And next year I will celebrate my 20 year engagement with La Scala. I feel at home here”. As a homage to Italy he sang Torna a Surriento. “It is a song that I love very much. My grandfather sang it and my grandmother accompanied at the piano….When as a boy I left Lima for the first time for an audition in New York, in my pockets I had just the flight ticket and few dollars. All that my mother had scrapes together by selling her old car. In order to pay my meals, I went into the underground and opened my guitar case. And after Surriento that case was full of bright small size coins. A really magic song. I have not forgotten those difficult origins. “My family was poor, but the real poverty is another thing. You can fight it also with music”. In 2011 he established Sinfonia por el Perù, foundation that according to the Venezuelan System addresses more needy young. “Until now three thousand boys and girls have found in our orchesters and choirs an alternative to decay and crime. In order to collect funds, last year the Harmonia Orchestra was founded. It collects musician coming from similar projects. And next year in Vienna I will open an academy where famous singers will come and teach to young talents, who are not able to pay their studies themselves”. Boys from the world, like if all of them were a bit as his sons. “But my blood sons are the small two kids, Leadro and Lucia”. Of course they are born for music…” Lucia, one year and half year old, is able to already sing very well, if I start an aria she concludes it. She will become a soprano” daddy says as a prophet. And Leandro? “Perhaps he will sing as well. It does not need so much to be a tenor. You know as people say, tenor head…..”

Giuseppina Manin

La Scala records:
Marylin Horne, American mezzosorpano, 1987 half an our of encores.
Teresa Berganza, Spanish mezzosoprano, 1988 nine encores, almost one hour more.
Leo Nucci, Italian Baritono, 2007 seven encores, three quarters of an hour.
Jonas Kaufmann, some days ago, five encores, forty minutes of applauses.

It’s not too late!!! Tickets still available for ROF 2015

It is not too late to secure tickets for some of the performances of this year’s Rossini Opera Festival. If you already have plans to be in Italy around that time, there are excellent train connections to Pesaro. If not, it makes a wonderful get-away! US visitors can easily connect via flights to Bologna, Venice,and other major Italian cities. Information about the final program in the .pdf brochure available from the Festival’s website,
www.rossinioperafestival.it

For booking tickets contact box-office@rossinioperafestival.it

For general questions about attending the Festival please feel free to contact info@rossiniamerica.org

Ernesto Palacio will be the next artistic director of ROF

Those who love the Festival need not be concerned. The beloved artistic heart of the festival, Alberto Zedda, is not leaving, but rather continuing with his very important work with the Accademia Rossiniana
The next artistic director, tenor, Ernetso Palacio, is a renowned Rossinian as well as an artist manager, who will bring high (Rossini) artistic standards to the Festival, thus ensuring the continuation of the priceless heritage which is treasured by Rossini lovers throughout the world.

Welcome, and Grazie

PS For those who never had the opportunity to hear this wonderful singer we suggest you check out this youtube link. Not only does it demonstrate the refined artistry of this singer, but it is also a rarely performed piece of music which we will hear this summer at ROF 2015!