South American premiere – Il viaggio a Reims in La Plata

Rossini, Il viaggio a Reims: Soloists and Orchestra of Teatro Argentino. Conductor: Sergio Monterisi, Teatro Argentino, La Plata. 17.7.2011. (JSJ)

Director: Emilio Sagi, realized by Elisabetta Courir

Sets: Daniel Bianco
Lighting: Daniel Conde
Costumes: Pepa Ojanguren


Corinna: Paula Almerares / Oriana Favaro
Marquesa Melibea: Nidia Palacios / Gabriela Cipriani Zec
Condesa de Folleville: Marisú Pavón / Eleonora Sancho
Madama Cortese: Victoria Gaeta / María Bugallo
Caballero Belfiore: Francisco Brito / Santiago Bürgi
Conde de Livenskof: Alessandro Luciano / Carlos Ullán
Barón Trombonok: Luis Gaeta / Norberto Marcos
Lord Sidney: Luciano Miotto / Alejandro Meerapfel
Don Profondo: Ricardo Seguel / Walter Schwartz
Don Álvaro: Leonardo Estévez / Ernesto Bauer
Don Prudenzio: Nicolás Zechi / Juan Pablo Labourdette
Don Luigino: Santiago Ballerini
Delia: María del Rocío Giordano / Patricia Deleo
Maddalena: Lídice Robinson / Roxana Deviggiano
Modestina: Andrea Maragno Risoleo / María Luisa Merino Ronda
Zeffirino: Francisco Bugallo
Antonio: Ricardo Crampton / Federico Demichelis
Gelsomino: Maximiliano Agatiello

Teatro Argentino’s Il viaggio a Reims.

Two “new” works in as many days can’t be bad – such is the recent priviledge of Buenos Aires audiences. After a new production of Haydn’s Il mondo della luna, the Teatro Argentino in La Plata opened two days later with what was the South American premiere of Rossini’s masterpiece, Il viaggio a Reims.

With its demanding score and large cast – no less than 18 soloists, and in this case almost two full casts, mostly Argentine and almost all also South American – it is a challenge to pull off, but the Teatro Argentino did it with aplomb in a production for which only superlatives are due.

The production itself wasn’t new, being based on the 2001 production at the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro by Emilio Sagi, and was realized around the bright white balcony, complete with deckchairs, of the Madama Cortese’s hotel. Clearly it is a luxury place, perhaps with a spa with the white gowns and women’s hair, and there on the balcony the various parties interact – talk, argue, express their love – and later, lit for the evening, enjoy a festive party as the national songs are presented.

Even with the full cast on this fairly narrow platform the action was slick, and the only tacky moment was the arrival at the end of “King Charles” – a youngster who walked in through the auditorium and then proceeded to unwrap and start eating a burger before mounting the stage!

Il viaggio a Reims , which was prepared for the celebration of Charles X’s coronation in Reims in 1825, has little in the way of a plot and presents the interactions of a group of aristocrats from across Europe who had gathered to journey to the coronation – all set to some of Rossini’s most brilliant music, and here sung with a consistently high quality.

With such a large and fine cast, it is almost invidious to name individuals, but among the men Chilean baritone Ricardo Seguel (Don Profondo) brought the house down with his “Io! Don Profondo” with its many accents, Luciano Miotto made a fine Lord Sydney, and Luis Gaeta as the German Barón Trombonok “managed” the festivities with consummate style. Among the women Paula Almerares as the chief guest Corinna was notable, as was Nidia Palacios as the fickle widow Marquesa Melibea, and the young Victoria Gaeta as Madama Cortese is showing considerable promise as she takes on more important roles.

Heading up on the musical side visiting Italian conductor Sergio Monterisi ensured a lively and sparkling reading, with good balance and no loss of momentum. Bravo! I for one would happily go to another performance!

Jonathan Spencer Jones