Gioachino Rossini (1792-1868)

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20080812

2/5. When Rossini moved to Naples, the then capital of the operatic world, he met the prima donna who was to become Mrs Rossini, Isabella Colbran. He also met Beethoven in Vienna, who advised him to stick to comedy. Happily for posterity, this was advice he ignored. The programme includes excerpts from his tragic masterpiece Ermione, which Rossini liked to call his 'little William Tell'.

Ermione Sinfonia

Prague Philharmonic Chorus

Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo

Claudio Scimone (conductor)

Ermione (Act 1, scene 6)

Ermione (Act 2, scenes 2-3 excerpts)

Ermione (Act 2, scenes 5-6)

Oreste....Chris Merritt (tenor)

Ermione....Cecilia Gasdia (soprano)

Pirro....Ernesto Palacio (tenor)

Cleone/Cefisa....Elisabetta Tandura (soprano)

Andromaca....Margarita Zimmermann (mezzo-soprano)

Pilade....William Matteuzzi (tenor)

Attalo....Mario Bolognesi (tenor)

Fenicio....Simone Alaimo (baritone)

012007062520080811

By the time he retired at the age of 37, Rossini had more than three dozen operas to his credit. Donald Macleod turns his attention to the composer's forgotten operatic masterpieces, but starts the programme with a more familiar work.

Largo al factotum (excerpt from Il barbiere di Siviglia: Act 1, scene 1)

Figaro....Sesto Bruscantini (bass)

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

Vittorio Gui (conductor)

Il Signor Bruschino Sinfonia

English Chamber Orchestra

Ion Marin (conductor)

Deh tu m'assisti amore; Marianna! Voi signore!; Ferma...ascolta; Quant'e dolce a un'alma amante (Il Signor Bruschino, No 1)

Sofia....Kathleen Battle (soprano)

Marianna....Jennifer Larmore (mezzo-soprano)

Florville....Frank Lopardo (tenor)

Io danari vi daro; A noi. Su trasformiamoci; Nel teatro del gran mondo (Il Signor Bruschino, Nos 2 and 3)

Filiberto....Michele Pertusi (bass)

Gaudenzio....Samuel Ramey (bass)

Per un figlio gia pentito (Il Signor Bruschino, No 4)

Bruschino....Claudio Desderi (baritone)

E un bel nodo che due cori; Ah che scoperta!; Ebben, ragion, dovere (Il Signor Bruschino, Nos 7 and 8)

Figlio Bruschino....Octavio Arevalo (tenor)

01The Freshness Of The Morning Of Life20140217

Donald Macleod focuses on the early operas of Rossini.

It's difficult to imagine now that for an entire century, until halfway through the last one, Gioachino Rossini's operas virtually disappeared from the world's stages. In his own time, he was hugely popular and prolific; he was without doubt the most successful composer of the early 19th century, who gave the public what they wanted and made a fortune. Donald Macleod tells the story of Rossini's first compositions for the stage, works that Rossini's biographer Stendhal believed "breathed with the freshness of the morning of life.".

01The Freshness of the Morning of Life20140217

01The Freshness of the Morning of Life2014021720170123 (R3)

Donald Macleod focuses on the early operas of Rossini.

01The Freshness of the Morning of Life2014021720170123 (R3)

It's difficult to imagine now that for an entire century, until halfway through the last one, Gioachino Rossini's operas virtually disappeared from the world's stages. In his own time, he was hugely popular and prolific; he was without doubt the most successful composer of the early 19th century, who gave the public what they wanted and made a fortune. Donald Macleod tells the story of Rossini's first compositions for the stage, works that Rossini's biographer Stendhal believed "breathed with the freshness of the morning of life."

Rossini: William Tell, Overture (finale)

Daniel Perez Castaneda and Orchestra

Rossini: Cambiale di Matrimonio, Overture

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Sir Thomas Beecham

Rossini: L'Inganno Felice ("Tacita notte amica...")

Annick Massis, soprano (Isabella)

Le Concert des Tuileries, conducted by Marc Minkowski

Rossini: La Mort di Didone

Mariella Devia, soprano (Didone)

Filarmonica della Scala, conducted by Riccardo Chailly

Rossini: La Pietra del Paragone ("Chi è colei che s'avvicina")

Dariusz Machej, bass (Macrobio)

Czech Chamber Chorus and soloists, conducted by Alessandro de Marchi.

0220070626

When Rossini moved to Naples, the then capital of the operatic world, he met the prima donna who was to become Mrs Rossini, Isabella Colbran. He also met Beethoven in Vienna, who advised him to stick to comedy. Happily for posterity, this was advice he ignored. The programme includes excerpts from his tragic masterpiece Ermione, which Rossini liked to call his 'little William Tell'.

Ermione Sinfonia

Prague Philharmonic Chorus

Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo

Claudio Scimone (conductor)

Ermione (Act 1, scene 6)

Ermione (Act 2, scenes 2-3 excerpts)

Ermione (Act 2, scenes 5-6)

Oreste....Chris Merritt (tenor)

Ermione....Cecilia Gasdia (soprano)

Pirro....Ernesto Palacio (tenor)

Cleone/Cefisa....Elisabetta Tandura (soprano)

Andromaca....Margarita Zimmermann (mezzo-soprano)

Pilade....William Matteuzzi (tenor)

Attalo....Mario Bolognesi (tenor)

Fenicio....Simone Alaimo (baritone)

02Genius In All Its Naivete20140218

Donald Macleod on the operas that made Rossini's name.

Rossini was never coy about re-using his own material. He was a practical man of the theatre, and where he thought an audience wouldn't have heard something before, he had no sense of shame about bringing it into play in a different context. This self-plagiarism was partly due to the sheer number of commissions he took on and the speed with which he turned them around. He once remarked: "The time and money allowed me for composing were so small that I scarcely had time to read the libretti I had to set." In this programme Donald Macleod focuses on the operas that first made Rossini world famous, including Tancredi and Elizabetta Regina d'Inghilterra.

02Genius in All Its Naivete20140218

02Genius In All Its Naivete2014021820170124 (R3)

Rossini was never coy about re-using his own material. He was a practical man of the theatre, and where he thought an audience wouldn't have heard something before, he had no sense of shame about bringing it into play in a different context. This self-plagiarism was partly due to the sheer number of commissions he took on and the speed with which he turned them around. He once remarked: "The time and money allowed me for composing were so small that I scarcely had time to read the libretti I had to set." In this programme Donald Macleod focuses on the operas that first made Rossini world famous, including Tancredi and Elizabetta Regina d'Inghilterra.

Rossini: Sinfonia in D, 'Al Conventello'

Prague Philharmonic Choir and Prague Sinfonia Orchestra, conducted by Christian Benda

Rossini: Tancredi ("Oh patria..." and "Di tanti palpiti..."

Marilyn Horne, mezzo-soprano (Tancredi)

Orchestra and Chorus of Teatro la Fenice, conducted by Ralf Weikert

Rossini: L'Italiana in Algeri (Act 1, finale)

Lorenzo Regazzo, bass (Mustafa); Marianna Pizzolato, mezzo-soprano (Isabella); Ruth Gonzalez, soprano (Elvira); Elsa Giannoulidou, mezzo-soprano (Zulma); Lawrence Brownlee, tenor (Lindoro); Bruno de Simone, baritone (Taddeo)

Transylvania State Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Alberto Zedda

Rossini: Elizabetta Regina d'Inghilterra (Act 1, Sc 2)

Jennifer Larmore, mezzo-soprano (Elisabetta); Bruce Ford, tenor (Leicester); Antonino Siragusa, tenor (Norfolk); Majella Cullagh, soprano (Matilde)

London Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Giuliano Carella

Rossini: The Barber of Seville, Overture

The King's Singers.

Donald Macleod on the operas that made Rossini's name.

032007062720080813

Donald Macleod continues his exploration of Rossini's lesser-known operatic gems, with the composer's romantic melodrama La donna del lago, based on Walter Scott's poem The Lady of the Lake.

La donna del lago (excerpts from Acts 1 and 2)

Elena....Katia Ricciarelli (soprano)

Uberto/Giacomo V....Dalmacio Gonzales (tenor)

Serano....Oslavio di Credico (tenor)

Douglas....Samuel Ramey (bass)

Rodrigo....Dano Raffanti (mezzo-soprano)

Malcolm....Lucia Valentini Terrani (mezzo-soprano)

Albina....Cecilia Valdenassi (soprano)

Bertram....Antonio d'Uva (tenor)

Prague Philharmonic Chorus

Chamber Orchestra of Europe

Maurizio Pollini (conductor).

03Remember, Write Many More Like Barber20140219

Donald Macleod explores the stories behind Rossini's The Barber of Seville.

Written in haste and greeted with a disastrous opening night, Rossini's The Barber of Seville nevertheless went on to be the first opera ever composed that's constantly stayed prominent and popular in the repertoires of opera houses around the world. For huge numbers of music-lovers it stands as Rossini's finest work: his masterpiece. In today's programme Donald Macleod explores the stories behind Rossini's famous Barber.

03Remember, Write Many More Like Barber20140219

03Remember, Write Many More Like Barber2014021920170125 (R3)

Donald Macleod explores the stories behind Rossini's The Barber of Seville.

03Remember, Write Many More Like Barber2014021920170125 (R3)

Written in haste and greeted with a disastrous opening night, Rossini's The Barber of Seville nevertheless went on to huge success and has remained prominent and popular in the repertoires of opera houses around the world. For large numbers of music lovers it stands as Rossini's finest work: his masterpiece. In today's programme Donald Macleod explores the stories behind Rossini's famous Barber.

The Barber of Seville ("Largo al Factotum")

Tito Gobbi, baritone (Figaro)

Philharmonia Orchestra, conducted by Alceo Galliera

Torvaldo e Dorliska (Act I, Sc 3)

Michele Bianchini, bass (Duca d'Ordow)

ARS Brunensis Chamber Choir & Czech Chamber Soloists, conducted by Alessandro de Marchi

The Barber of Seville, Overture

London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Claudio Abbado

The Barber of Seville ("Una voce poco fa...")

Maria Callas, soprano (Rosina)

Philharmonia Orchestra, conducted by Alceo Galliera

Barber of Seville (Act 1, Finale)

Sonia Ganassi, soprano (Rosina); Ramon Vargas, tenor (Conte Almaviva); Roberto Servile, baritone (Figaro); Angelo Romero, baritone (Bartolo); Franco de Grandis, bass (Don Basilio); Ingrid Kertesi, soprano (Berta)

Hungarian Radio Chorus & Failoni Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Will Humburg

The Barber of Seville ("First the doctor wants to marry...")

Jennifer Rhys-Davies, soprano (Berta)

Chorus and Orchestra of the English National Opera, conducted by Gabriele Bellini

The Barber of Seville ("Di si felice innesto")

Maria Callas, soprano (Rosina); Luigi Alva, tenor (Conte Almaviva); Tito Gobbi, baritone (Figaro); Fritz Ollendorf, bass (Bartolo); Nicola Zaccaria, bass (Don Basilio); Gabriella Carturan, mezzo-soprano (Berta)

Philharmonia Orchestra and Chorus, conducted by Alceo Galliera.

0420070628

Despite having a reputation as a lazy composer, Rossini was in fact a workaholic and amazingly prolific. Donald Macleod talks us through his two-act musical melodrama Bianca e Falliero, the final production of one of the composer's busiest ever years, 1819.

Bianca e Falliero (excerpts)

Contareno....Barry Banks (tenor)

Capellio....Ildebrando d'Arcangelo (bass)

Falliero....Jennifer Larmore (mezzo-soprano)

Bianca....Majella Cullagh (soprano)

Pisani....Ryland Davies (tenor)

Geoffrey Mitchell Choir

London Philharmonic Orchestra

David Parry (conductor).

0420080814

Despite having a reputation as a lazy composer, Rossini was in fact a workaholic and amazingly prolific. Donald Macleod talks us through his two-act musical melodrama Bianca e Falliero, the final production of one of the composer's busiest ever years, 1819.

Bianca e Falliero (excerpts)

Contareno....Barry Banks (tenor)

Capellio....Ildebrando d'Arcangelo (bass)

Falliero....Jennifer Larmore (mezzo-soprano)

Bianca....Majella Cullagh (soprano)

Pisani....Ryland Davies (tenor)

Geoffrey Mitchell Choir

London Philharmonic Orchestra

David Parry (conductor).

04The Great Renunciation2014022020170126 (R3)

One of the legends which grew up about Rossini was the amazing speed with which he could complete an entire opera - two weeks in one case, eleven days in another. Overtures were habitually produced at the last minute, testing the nerves of theatre impresarios as the first night loomed. According to legend, one Neapolitan impresario resorted to desperate measures, locking Rossini up in an attic with a plate of macaroni, with four burly stagehands standing guard and ready to run with the music, as it emerged, sheet by sheet, to the copyists. Donald Macleod focuses on Rossini's later operas, including William Tell, his final opera before his "great renunciation".

Rossini: La Cenerentola ("Signore, una parole...")

Cecilia Bartoli, mezzo-soprano (Cenerentola)

Orchestra and Chorus of Teatro Communale di Bologna, conducted by Riccardo Chailly

Rossini: Maometto II ("Ah! Che invan su questo ciglio")

Cecilia Bartoli, mezzo-soprano (Anna)

Orchestra of Teatro la Fenice, conducted by Ion Marin

Rossini: Semiramide, Overture

Orchestra del Teatro Comunale di Bologna, conducted by Alberto Zedda

Rossini: Le Comte Ory ("En proie a la tristesse")

Sumi Jo, soprano (Adele)

Orchestra and Choir of L'Opera de Lyon, conducted by John-Eliot Gardiner

Rossini: William Tell, Ballet music

The Hallé Orchestra, conducted by Sir John Barbirolli.

Donald Macleod focuses on Rossini's later operas.

05The Sins of Old Age20140221

05The Sins Of Old Age2014022120170127 (R3)

In 1829, after an extraordinarily prolific and successful career, Rossini turned his back on the world of opera, for good. He was still only 37, but we can hardly grudge him his early retirement: he'd completed 39 operas in 20 years. Many attempts were made to try to lure the great man back to the operatic stage, but he never became actively involved in any of the projects dangled before him. His musical energies would become centred on his famous Saturday soirees at his apartment after he'd settled permanently in Paris in 1857. Donald Macleod focuses on these years of retirement, including Rossini's final masterpiece, the Petite Messe Solennelle.

Rossini: William Tell ("O muto asil del pianto...")

Chris Merritt, tenor (Arnoldo)

Orchestra of Teatro alla Scala, conducted by Riccardo Muti

Rossini: Robert Bruce, Overture

Orchestra Sinfonica e Coro di Milano, conducted by Riccardo Chailly

Rossini: La Regata Veneziana

Stella Doufexis, mezzo-soprano; Roger Vignoles, piano

Rossini: Giovanna d'Arco

Cecilia Bartoli, mezzo-soprano; Charles Spencer, piano

Rossini: Petite Messe Solennelle (O salutaris hostia and Agnus Dei)

Daniela Dessi, soprano; Gloria Scalchi, mezzo-soprano

Orchestra e Coro del Teatro Communale di Bologna, conducted by Riccardo Chailly.

Donald Macleod focuses on the years after Rossini turned his back on opera.

05 LAST20070629

Rossini is said to have completed The Barber of Seville in a fortnight, but even he couldn't compose three operas at once, although that's exactly what he tried to do in 1821. Donald Macleod explores this year in the composer's life and the tragi-comedy, Matilde di Shabran.

Matilde di Shabran (excerpts)

Isidoro....Bruno de Simone (baritone)

Contessa d'Arco....Chiara Chialli (mezzo-soprano)

Matilde Shabran....Annick Massis (soprano)

Aliprando....Marco Vinco (bass)

Ginardo....Carlo Lepore (bass)

Corradino....Juan Diego Florez (tenor)

Raimondo Lopez....Bruno Taddia (baritone)

Edoardo....Hadar Halevy (mezzo-soprano)

Galicia Symphony Orchestra

Riccardo Frizza (conductor).

05 LAST20080815

Rossini is said to have completed The Barber of Seville in a fortnight, but even he couldn't compose three operas at once, although that's exactly what he tried to do in 1821. Donald Macleod explores this year in the composer's life and the tragi-comedy, Matilde di Shabran.

Matilde di Shabran (excerpts)

Isidoro....Bruno de Simone (baritone)

Contessa d'Arco....Chiara Chialli (mezzo-soprano)

Matilde Shabran....Annick Massis (soprano)

Aliprando....Marco Vinco (bass)

Ginardo....Carlo Lepore (bass)

Corradino....Juan Diego Florez (tenor)

Raimondo Lopez....Bruno Taddia (baritone)

Edoardo....Hadar Halevy (mezzo-soprano)

Galicia Symphony Orchestra

Riccardo Frizza (conductor).

05 LASTThe Sins Of Old Age20140221

Donald Macleod focuses on the years after Rossini turned his back on opera.

In 1829, after an extraordinarily prolific and successful career, Rossini turned his back on the world of opera, for good. He was still only 37, but we can hardly grudge him his early retirement: he'd completed 39 operas in 20 years. Many attempts were made to try to lure the great man back to the operatic stage, but he never became actively involved in any of the projects dangled before him. His musical energies would become centred on his famous Saturday soirees at his apartment after he'd settled permanently in Paris in 1857. Donald Macleod focuses on these years of retirement, including Rossini's final masterpiece, the Petite Messe Solennelle.