Why Rossini, you might ask? We did! Here are some responses (Part 1)

You’ll love the responses. We’re pretty sure he would have as well. The perfect birthday gift!  Thanks to all who contributed!

If you wish a copy of the ARS newsletter from which these responses were taken, please write to American.Rossini.Society@gmail.com

(Illustration : Charles Motte- Rossini et Georges IV)

The enthusiasm for Rossini is more than could fit on one page. Be sure to check out Part 2 as well!

Every year, new artists and styles knock at the door of Popularity. Some are admitted to the sitting-room, some stay for a meal, some overnight – but once in a long while, a new arrival produces such a wave of delight and fascination that Popularity itself is smitten and the guest takes over the whole house. When I try to think of a musical parallel to the Rossini craze that began in the 1810s, the best match I can find is the Beatles sixty years ago. Anything that sudden and infectious becomes influential for a long time, and stays important forever. Pop music still today – however changed – works in a world redefined by the Beatles. Everything in opera after Rossini, however different or even oppositional, worked in a world redefined by him.
– Will Crutchfield, musicologist; artistic and general director, Teatro Nuovo

Why Rossini? Why not? In this 55th leap year since his birth, I think of the modest house in Pesaro, on the street now called “via Rossini,” where he was born. On that same day, a Wednesday, as is noted in his baptismal record (Gioachino Rossini, Lettere e documenti, ed. Bruno Cagli and Sergio Ragni (1992)) he was baptized in the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, just a few steps down the street. “Giovacchino Antonio, son of Giuseppe [son] of the late Giovacchino Rossini, and of Anna Guidarini daughter of Domenico Guidarini […] has been baptized by me Giammichele Giustiniani, Curate. Godparents were the Noble Lord Count Paolo Macchirelli Giordani, and the Noble Lady Catterina Giovannelli born Semproni.” That infant soon grew into a composer of music that continues to bring joy 228 years later and will continue to do so for years ahead.
– Patricia B. Brauner, musicologist

Rossini is music full of sunlight, joy, interest, intelligence, wit and irony. There are times when your body responds automatically with toe tapping, dancing, swaying…you are naturally swayed to move! Rossini was very important to my well being and way of life for many years, and I’m grateful to have been able to have the total Rossini experience!
– Jennifer Larmore, singer

Why Rossini? Because it’s exciting in every way. It is a challenge every time it tests the whole texture of the voice and every time it gives me the satisfaction of giving the public the idea that the most difficult things are easy to listen to. Because Rossini has an ethereal, magical theatricality, always on the thread of metatheatricality and leaves our imagination free to let itself be carried away by its light and fascinating melodies without ceasing to amaze us and remain “new”. and this year I am very happy to celebrate February 29th with Rossini in Munich. He is always with me and I love him!
– Paolo Bordogna, singer

I am passionate about the music of Rossini because I stand in awe of his genius. He was an innovator who built on the musical conventions of the early 19th century and turned them on their head. He understood the complexities of the human voice and wrote music that allowed the singer to explore the absolute limit of sounds which the human voice could produce. Rossini’s genius was, in part, his ability to create the most beautiful melodies that stick in the mind and then refine those melodies with harmonic undertones which resonate with pure perfection. He honors both singer and orchestra member with intricacies and challenges that enable them to shine.
– Bruce Johansen, president emeritus, Palm Springs Opera Guild

Why Rossini?  Like most Canadians, I grew up recognizing a part of the William Tell Overture and excerpts from the Barber, period. When I joined the Orchestra of the Teatro Comunale di Bologna in 1993 as its principal viola, part of our season involved performing in Pesaro for the Rossini Opera Festival. How could you dedicate a festival year after year to the operas of G. Rossini I wondered? Very quickly I began to understand and I began to discover the genius of Rossini. And then I met and worked with Alberto Zedda and the rest is history……
– Burt Wathen, artistic director, Lunenburg Academy of Music Performance

Why Rossini? Do you know those moments during which you want to listen to something, but you can’t decide if you want some baroque, classical or romantic music?
Why choose? Listen to Rossini and you will have the best of everything!
Daniela Barcellona, singer

Why Rossini? This is my answer: Perfection does not exist but Rossini’s music is an extraordinary attempt at perfection that comes very close to the goal. His music outlines Utopia and his rhythm urges us to reach a world where Justice always triumphs.
– Sergio Ragni, editor, author, collector

Why Rossini? Because he sensed and revolutionized everything; because it is Rossini who gave birth to Italian 19th Century opera. Obviously not a magic trick, rather an extraordinary insight and amazing new ideas that turned Italian opera inside out.
– Silvia Dalla Benetta, singer

Why Rossini? What other composer is so worldly, so ironic and at the same time so full of fun?Rossini well performed is virtuosic, graceful and often profoundly moving, like the greatest of athletes. But most of all, his music is the irresistible rhythm of the life force, pulsing under all the wit, sophisticated irony and sometime tragedy of the stories it illumines. It is the aural affirmation of being alive. Happy 55th Birthday, Maestro!
– Charles Jernigan, scholar, translator

Why Rossini? Indeed, why, my dear Gioachino?
It seems that it was not me who chose you, but you chose me. And how happy, how fortunate I am about your choice! The magic of your music is unexplainable. And being under your sweet and delightful spell is the most wonderful being of all.I don’t know a person in the whole world who would remain calm during one of your Gran Finales. If I would stop in the middle of the street and start to sing “Figaro, Figaro, Fiiiigaro!” the instant smile would appear on the faces of all the people around me. What a powerful magic it is! All my professional life I perform your music, I enjoy it, I adore it, I live every moment of it and you repay all my hard work with joy that you bring to my heart and the smiles on the faces in the audience.
Thank you, my dear Gioachino, for choosing me, for being with me when I am happy, for taking care of me when I am a little blue. Thank you for being with me all that time.
And in the end, is it really that important, why?
-Maxim Mironov, singer

Why Rossini? It’s a funny question to ask to those who, like me, were born in Pesaro and have experienced from the beginning the rebirth of the cult of the great composer, son of our city. Now Rossini has returned to being known and popular all over the world, not only for the best known operas, mostly buffe, but as the author of masterpieces of opera seria that have become part of the contemporary bel canto repertoire. Every year in Pesaro the pilgrimage of fans who come from all over the world to attend the ROF is renewed. Maybe it would be better to ask them: why Rossini?
– Giacomo Mariotti, Press Office, Rossini Opera Festival

When I was a young man of about 16 or 18 years I first saw The Barber of Seville on stage. I liked it so much, because the music was for me so much modern than others I had heard (Gounod’s Faust, Strauss’ Arabella). I knew then that this was my music. In school I learned that Rossini only had written one work and some overtures. But the next year I heard La Cenerentola, an opera, which pleased me much more than the Barber. I no longer believed what was taught at school, and so I became a Rossinisti. Why does his music please me so much? The mixture of melody and orchestration. And the drive of his music, which always goes on and never rests.
– Bernd-Rüdiger Kern, president Deutsche Rossini Gesellschaft

Rossini is at the same time well known and popular but only for a very small part of his output, and mysterious and undiscovered for his more rarely performed compositions. Therefore there’s something for everyone and you can spend a lot of time discovering new aspects of a well-known composer.
– Richard Barker, pianist, coach, Korrepetiteur

Rossini had an eminently theatrical nature, he was a man who knew how to write for the stage. The proof is that the music itself (not the plot) is always foremost. The whole musical dramaturgy is possibly his biggest secret. He has a drive that no one else has.
– Reto Muller, vice president, Deutsche Rossini Gesellschaft

There’s more! Check out Part 2 of “Why Rossini?”