Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Rare opera in Cardiff, London, Milan, Pesaro & more: Carlo Rizzi, the new artistic director of Opera Rara

Carlo Rizzi
Carlo Rizzi
The conductor Carlo Rizzi was announced as the new artistic director of Opera Rara last month, taking over from Sir Mark Elder who has been in the post since 2011. Rizzi will be recording Donizetti's Il furioso all'isola di San Domingo for Opera Rara with the Britten Sinfonia next year, including a performance at the Barbican

Rizzi is no stranger to 'opera rara' and in fact his conducting career began with Donizetti’s L'ajo nell'imbarazzo, and he made his international debut at the Buxton Festival in 1988 with Donizetti's Torquato Tasso. He will be conducting Rossini's L’equivoco stravagante in a new production at the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro in August. The work was controversial enough at its premiere in 1811 to be closed down by the police after only three performances!

Further ahead, Rizzi will be conducting Verdi's Les Vêpres siciliennes in David Pountney's new production for Welsh National Opera (where he is conductor laureate). The production opens in Cardiff on February, and then tours. And he will also be conducting a revival of Tobias Richter's production of Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro for the same tour. In Jun 2020, Rizzi conducts another rarity at La Scala, Milan, a new production of Montemezzi's L'amore dei tre re.

Opera Rara first collaborated with Carlo Rizzi in 2017 when he conducted two discs of bel canto arias with Joyce El-Khoury and Michael Spyres titled Écho and Espoir. Recorded with the Hallé and featuring a selection of mainly French arias first made famous by Gilbert Duprez and Julie Dorus-Gras, two of the operatic stars of the day [see my review of the disc and of the concert]. Opera Rara was founded in the 1970s to explore bel canto, then something of a rarity. More recently the company has started to expand its repertoire, whilst continuing to record Donizetti and Italian bel canto, Carlo Rizzi comments ' “Now we want to expand the horizons to include more French repertoire and verismo opera. Of course, we will continue to explore Donizetti and other bel canto composers. But I believe it’s very important for us to show the public just how rich this medium is. Opera is for everyone.' Future plans for the company include new recordings of Offenbach’s La Princesse de Trébizonde, Halévy’s Guido et Ginévra and Leoncavallo’s Zingari.

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