Wednesday 22 June 2016

Rossini's Le Comte Ory makes a rare appearance in London

Rossini's Le comte Ory in 1830
Rossini's Le comte Ory in 1830
When was Rossini's last comedy, Le Comte Ory last staged in London? Glyndebourne last staged it in 1998 and performed it at the BBC Proms in 1997. Despite the popularity of his Italian comedies, Rossini's French comedy just does not seem to have achieved the popularity it deserves. So we must be grateful for Chelsea Opera Group. Under conductor Toby Purser they are performing Le Comte Ory at the Cadogan Hall on Saturday 25 June 2016, with Mark Milhofer, who was in Covent Garden's production of Rossi's Orpheus as Comte Ory, Claire Booth, who was in WNO's production of Rossini's Mose in Egitto as Countess Adele, plus Heather Lowe (Isolier), Anne Mason (Ragonde), Benedict Nelson (Raimbaud) and Steven Page (Gouverneur).

The opera was written for Paris in 1828, but it recycles music written for Il viaggio a Reims a few years early. Il viaggio a Reims was a one off, an occasional work written to celebrate the French coronation, so it is understandable that Rossini wanted to give the music greater currency. This, and the fact that the piece was written for the Paris Opera, rather than the Opera Comique, mean that though a comedy Rossini's music is rather larger scale than in his Italian comedies.

Update: I understand from a correspondent that the work was in Sadler's Wells Opera/ENO repertoire from the early 1960's to the mid 1980's. 

Update 2: I further learn that the Chelsea Opera Group performance will be using Barenreiter's new edition of the opera, which has significant changes see Philip Gossett's article on the [t]akte: website

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