Thursday, 4 December 2008

209. Gioachino Rossini - Tancredi (1813)


Title: Tancredi
Performers: Ewa Podels, Sumi, Jo, Stanford Olsen, Pietro Spagnoli, Capella Brugensis, Collegium Instrumentale Brugense
Director: Alberto Zedda
Year: 1994
Length: 2 hours 27 minutes


Here is the first of many Rossini operas on the list and interestingly it is not a comedy. Rossini is known first and foremost for his comical and farcical operas, this is, uncharacteristically, an opera seria.

This particular recording, which is great value for money as it is a cheap Naxos recording has the less common happy ending to the story. The version I saw on DVD had the quite revolutionary for the time sad ending of the revised edition by Rossini. Frankly I prefer the sad ending, but that is also because most of the characters are a bit annoying.

The plot is the same thing we have seen countless times, a drama based on mistakes which take far to long to be put right and could have been put right by one of the characters saying: "Uh, sorry, the letter was for you, not the other guy". Beyond that, however, Rossini is a composer of extremely attractive and catchy music, the arias of Amenaide in prison are great for example, the use of choirs is also great and is something that Italians would use and abuse throughout the 19th century. It feels quite new, which is possibly because there have been so many years since we've had an opera here. Still, if you compare it to Mozart's operas it has a very weak plot and the music, though beautiful, pales... but we can't compare the two. Rossini is still thoroughly enjoyable.

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

This opera is considered by Stendhal, Rossini's earliest biographer, to be Rossini's greatest masterpiece. The title role of Tancredi is so demanding that casting was a big problem. It requires a true contralto or mezzo soprano with strong lower register who possesses great vocal agility and endurance (Tancredi has 2 full arias and 4 duets). The opera premiered in 1813 at La Fenice in Venice with Adelaide Malanotte in the title role. Tancredi was usually performed with the Venice (happy) ending.

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