Happy 53rd Birthday, Rossini


Fifty-three is no age for a composer and so it is little wonder that Rossini – or at least his music – is alive and well. Born on February 29th, 1792, Gioachino Antonio Rossini soon discovered a penchant and talent in culinary appreciation as well as note-churning. The latter he put to use for the creation of almost 40 operas, the former to support his stately appearance.

So much has been written about Rossini, that I would not likely contribute anything new on this special Rossini-day – so instead I list below some of what has been written about Rossini on Seen & Heard International over the last few years.

Except, before I do that, I still want to rehash some reasonably well known stories about Rossini, just because they are too good to pass up on – and because they endear the composer to me. (If not always his music.)

There is, of course, the story that when Rossini laid on bed composing and dropped a sheet of freshly written music, rather than making the effort to climb off the bed and pick it up, he simply wrote the music out, again. Consider this – and that wee Gioachino’s de-facto daycare center was a pork butchery, where he got to watch the production of sausages – and listen to his music carefully. Sharp tongues suggest you can hear both!

The most enduring story about Rossini may well be his admission to having cried only three times in his life: Once after his first opera (La cambiale di matrimonio) had a disastrous premiere. Then again when he heard Paganini play. And finally when he witnessed a truffle-stuffed turkey fall overboard in a picnic boating accident. One might suggest that Rossini would have been familiar with the occasional turkey going belly-up, but then that’s not a nice thing to say on such a rare birthday.

Jens F. Laurson

Some recent Rossini reviews on Seen & Heard:

An Italian in Egypt: Rossini’s Rarely Heard Moïse et Pharaon
December 3, 2011 (SSM)

Keep the Slipper: La Cenerentola in Valencia
November 30, 2011 (JMI)

Scottish Opera Presents a Straightforward Barber
November 18, 2011 (SRT)

Satisfying, Richly Theatrical Rossini from Welsh National Opera
September 24, 2011 (GPu)

Edinburgh International Festival 2011 (13) – Fantastic Musical Values but Poor Staging in Rossini’s Semiramide
August 28, 2011 (SRT)

Rossini Opera Festival (ROF) (3) – Adelaide di Borgogna and Il Viaggio a Reims or ‘ROF Funeral Services’
August 22, 2011 (JB)

Rossini Opera Festival ROF (2) – La Scala di Seta and the Rossini Entertainment Business
August 22, 2011 (JB)

Rossini Opera Festival (ROF) (1) – Where Was Moses When the Lights Went Out?
August 22, 2011 (JB)

Quincena Musical San Sebastián 2011 – An Imaginative ‘Barbiere’ that Doesn’t Quite Work
August 17, 2011 (JMI)

South American premiere – Il viaggio a Reims in La Plata
July 24, 2011 (JSJ)

The 2011 Rossini Opera Festival
June 16, 2011, (JB)


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