Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Mercoledi Musicale

Last night we saw the first of the three operas at this year's Rossini Festival - Le Comte Ory, which I will be reporting on later. It has always been my favorite Rossini work and was the first LP* I ever owned. Written for Paris in 1828, Rossini never one to lose good numbers, reused a great deal of Il Viaggio a Rheims that had been written three years preivous for the coronation of Charles X.

It was not until it was revived at Glyndebourne in 1954 that it entered the modern repetorie. Here's the first act finale from a later Glyndebourne production.

Young Comte Ory, a wastrel, takes advantage of the absence of the local gentry at the crusades to try and seduce their ladies. Disguised first as a hermit then as a nun he attempts to enter the castle and the bed of the beautiful Countess of Formoutiers. As Act 1 ends he's been unmasked as the Hermit and news arrives that the Countess's brother is returning with his men from the Crusade.

*For the young ones an LP was a long playing record - a black vinyl disk that you put on a turntable and ... forget it you wouldn't believe me if I told you.

12 agosto - Santa Giovanna Francesca de Chantal

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Anonymous said...

Thanks for the reminder about how much fun this opera is.

My recollection of the opera is different but equally memorable to yours. Thought you'd like to hear about it.

This was the first opera for me as a chorus member at the wonderful NAC Summer Festival. I hadn't been exposed to a lot of opera at the time so I went into it thinking that the chorus work would be similar to what I'd seen at previous festivals. Their previous offerings were Mozart and the chorus has very little to do. this opera had very few if any previous performances in Canada - ever. Imagine my surprise when each of us got the complete score and had as many rehearsals as the principals. We even had music rehearsals with the principals because the chorus was so integral to the opera. (FYI: John Brecknock was the Comte and Colette Boky the Countess). The rehearsals were nightly and all the time during the weekends. The NAC only had a small chorus too(we were about 20 in total). That meant the women were the ladies of the court as well as the villagers. There was a quick change between the first two scenes which was so fast there wasn't even time to go to the dressing room. Each of the ladies of the chorus had a dresser backstage to help us change costumes really fast and then we ran up a flight of stairs backstage and descended on stage as if coming from the castle wearing stunning raw silk gowns with huge trains. The set was made to look like rocks so descending gracefully with a four foot train dragging behind was tricky indeed.

It was such fun! I absolutely loved the experience.




i have stacks and stacks of them foreign lps...mostly have old rock and rollers on them..