Gioachino Rossini: „Sigismondo“
Opera in two acts (concert performance)
The Italian composer Gioachino Rossini is best known for his operas. Many of their overtures and arias were catchy tunes at the time and have remained so to this day. Although it is Rossini’s comic operas that are primarily performed today, more than half of his stage works are in fact based on serious themes. One veritable rarity is the stage work Sigismondo, which premiered in 1814 at the famous Teatro La Fenice in Venice but was only ever rarely performed after that. Presumably, the story on which it was based had no appeal for the audience at that time, because musically, the work is hardly less impressive than the Italian Girl in Algiers, written during the previous year, or the Barber of Seville, which followed two years later. The subject of the opera (a maliciously discredited woman is rejected by her husband and lives hidden away until she is found again, rehabilitated and reunited with him) is, however, based on a long tradition. Rossini shows his protagonist, the fictional King Sigismondo, in extreme states of mental distress. Confusion and insanity reveal inner feelings, and it is only delirium that finally brings the truth to light.
This “madness opera” is highly topical, both in its subject matter and its musical language – after all, Rossini is among the top ten most-performed composers of our time. A concert performance of this little-known and unjustly neglected masterpiece was given at Munich’s Prinzregententheater on October 14, 2018 (during the Rossini year, shortly before the 150th anniversary of the composer’s death). The opera was sung in the original language, by performers highly familiar with Rossini’s music, which seems so easy but is in fact extremely difficult to sing. Mezzo-soprano Marianna Pizzolato sang the trouser role of Sigismondo, with tenor Kenneth Tarver as Ladislao and the soprano Hyesang Park as Aldimira. The Bavarian Radio Chorus also performed, together with the Muncih Radio Orchestra under Keri-Lynn Wilson.
This extraordinary opera event – a festival of singing that received tumultuous applause as well as great critical acclaim – is now being released on BR-KLASSIK as a live recording on two CDs.
Hyesang Park, soprano – Aldimira
Marianna Pizzolato, mezzo-soprano – Sigismondo
Rachel Kelly, mezzo-soprano – Anagilda
Kenneth Tarver, tenor – Ladislao
Gavan Ring, baritone – Radoski
Guido Loconsolo, bass baritone – Zenovito
Il Hong, bass – Ulderico
Olga Watts, fortepiano
Bavarian Radio Chorus
Yuval Weinberg, chorus master
Munich Radio Orchestra
Keri-Lynn Wilson, conductor
2 CDs, BR-KLASSIK 900327
Total Time: 147 min.