Friday, 30 January 2009

242. Gioacchino Rossini - Il Viaggio a Reims


Title: Il Viaggio a Reims
Performers: Sylvia McNair, Samuel Ramey
Director: Claudio Abbado
Year: 1992
Length: 2 hours 10 minutes


Yet another Rossini Italian opera, and his last Italian opera as from here on out he would be composing in French. Hopefully with a change in language he will stop recycling so much, but somehow I don't believe it.

The more Rossini you listen to the more you realise that there is endless repetition and recycling in his music. What is particularly sad is that when something new comes along it is actually pretty great! Just that he puts a couple of new songs in each new opera and recycles the rest.

This opera is particularly haphazard when it comes to plot, consisting of people of different nationalities at an Inn on their way to the coronation of Charles X of France. It serves as a display of European unity and harmony, etc. In the end there are so many characters that no real plot develops, only 6 or 7 micro plots. The music is quite good, when not recycled, and there is a 14 voice piece which is quite striking, and the final thing where each nationality sings their own song is quite amusing, is somewhat cheap as Rossini is now recycling from other composers. This is frankly non-essential Rossini.

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

Rossini's last opera in the Italian language (all of his later works were in French), premiered under the title Le voyage à Reims, ou l'Hôtel du Lys-d'Or. Commissioned to celebrate the coronation of French King Charles X in Rheims in 1825, the work has been critically acclaimed as one of Rossini's finest compositions. It is a demanding work, requiring 14 soloists (three sopranos, one contralto, two tenors, four baritones, and four basses). At its premiere, it was sung by the greatest voices of the day.

Since the opera was written for a specific occasion, with a plot about European aristocrats, officers - and one poetess - en route to join in the French coronation festivities that the opera itself was composed for, Rossini never intended for the opera to have a life beyond a few performances in Paris. The composer later re-used about half of the music in Le comte Ory.

One of the great Ensemble pieces:

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