Magazine article Musical Opinion

Rossini's la Gazetta at Garsington

Magazine article Musical Opinion

Rossini's la Gazetta at Garsington

Article excerpt

The second opera Rossini wrote for Naples, the Goldoni-based opera buffa La Gazetta, opened successfully at the Teatro dei Fiorentini in September 1816. It falls between II Barbiere and La Cenerentola, whose Overture is a mild variant of the Neapolitan work's. The composer recycles material from earlier operas, notably Il Turco in Italia, La Pietro del Paragone, from which he stole a Trio, and Torvildo e Dorliska. However, while musically La Gazzetta never quite equals the other comedies, it races along rumbustiously, boasts lively arias and ensembles and a peach of a comedy role in Don Pomponio, written in the local Neapolitan dialect for the legendary buffo Carlo Casaccia.

Pomponio's advertisment in The Gazette soliciting suitors for his daughter Lisetta fuels the slender plot. She is in love with Filippo, owner of the Inn where the action takes place. A parallel plot has Anselmo also trying to marry off his daughter Doralice, in love with Alberto.

The Garsington production, which opened on 12 June, gave a whirl to the provisional version of Fabrizioni Scipione's new critical edition, though the swingeing cuts to the text hardly enabled the piece to achieve its full impact. Admittedly, there's a deal of recit which, sung complete in Italian, would presumably have had Garsington audiences with heads buried deep in their librettos or nodding off even before the dinner break. So why not sing the opera in English, which would clarify meaning and enliven the farcical goingson no end?

However, all praise to Garsington for allowing Rossini-lovers the chance to savour something of the flavour of the piece. …

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